Friday, October 26, 2007

Iwan Wijono (Jogjakarta, Java), Thu Oct 25

I love artists' manifestos. Iwan's email response to LIVE BIENNALE's call for artist proposals produced one of the very best. Iwan said:

"Public! I think public is dead. The public is dependant on the market that is
controlled by multinational corporations, IMF, World Bank, and includes United
Nations, Stock Exchange, TVs, political issues/rumors, etc.! Public have no
power anymore, all controlled by market and weapon, in other way -- controlled
by fear and consume!"


Wijono played fantastic dance music throughout his performance. He let the assembled crowd socialize and groove to the music. He began his performance with a passionate speech about overcoming differences of ideology, religion, race, politics, culture, and geographical distance by becoming blood brothers. He called for volunteers to give blood. As they lined up, Iwan gave blood first. A registered (gloved) nurse took a small vial of Iwan's blood. While the nurse sterile-needled, syringed, & vial-ed each of the doner's blood, Iwan stood straddled over the supine particpants. He posed for the mass of cameras by standing heroically over the lying bodies while smoking 2 or 3 cigarettes at once and holding 2 shopping bags high in the air.

Irony of consumption? Statue of Liberty with a habit? Tobacco as historic-trade-route-colonization or smoking as semiotics for international-bribe-for-border-crossings?

Wijono stripped off his shirt, laid it on the floor, covered it with stale hamburger buns/cigarettes, and jumped up and down on them.

He poured a can of Coke on the bun-cig-mush then employed this wet goo to write words on a white gallery wall. He cut 2 holes in the shirt, tied it like a hooded-mask on his face, and repeatedly ran very hard into the wall of writing.

Iwan took the harvested communal blood from the nurse and used a paintbrush to write with the blood on top of the initial writings on the wall. The words said:
Free Market; then on the floor: Environment, Belief - Religions, Human Rights - Democracy, Ideologies.
Iwan Wijono ran again and again into the wall. Falling. Running. Falling. He took another bottle filled with isopropynol (ethanol?) and applied this liquid over the written words. More running and falling. Wijono took a propane torch and lit the letters of blood and alcohol on the floor.

The words burst into flame.

Iwan's mots cles/key words stood -- burning -- on the gallery floor.... as I left to run for my 2 1/2 hour journey back to my village.

[For more info on Iwan's performance evening, see Lori Weidenhammer's blog.]

... respectfully submitted by Margaret Dragu

More LIVE5: To Iwan Wijono Photo set

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