In 2020, contemporary dance in Indonesia and around the world is not doing “business as usual”. We live in times of crisis. And we all know why. Or do we really ?
If we like it or not, our existence as human beings manifests through our bodies. And the mode of survival that is being practiced by almost all of the world’s population due to COVID-19 reminds us of this fact. Contemporary dance makers create on the fertile ground of this physical reality; but their work goes beyond the employment of the anatomical body in order to integrate multiple bodies, material as well as immaterial: the body as a container of existence, a manifestation of “Daya”, the imagined body, the body governed by various kinds of power, the energetic body, the emotional body, or the body suspected of infection … to just mention a few.
We are involved in a massive choreography, governed by policies, norms, values, and discourses. But the body also retains the power to negotiate with these imposed frameworks, generating a tension between its sovereignty and its confinement. Contemporary dance makers, during these times of pandemic, negotiate this tension ever more intensely.
Digital communication technologies enable artists to continue creating dance works in the midst of this global pandemic. These new spaces of limited frames and physical distance have contemporary dance makers search for new creation strategies. On the one hand, digital technologies provide the possibility for new languages to articulate ideas, bodies and choreographies. But on the other hand, the experience of physical intimacy and of time-space continuity between a performance and an audience is lost or replaced by other vibrations. The way an audience accesses, experiences, appreciates, and views dance is clearly not the same as when it is performed on stage. The performing body is increasingly “mediated” and the experience of (watching) dance becomes ambiguous by means of its digitalisation.
Facing this complex situation, the Indonesian Dance Festival has changed its name to IDF2020.zip and presents the theme Daya: Cari Cara. Adopting the characteristics of the .zip file, the series of events of this year’s IDF will be presented in a more compact form, yet it proposes a vivid journey through contemporary Indonesian dance, and a few international excursions, to be enjoyed, reflected on, and discussed together.
Daya in Indonesian is a multi-layer word used in different contexts. It expresses life force, primordial drive, transformation, potential or empowerment. Meanwhile, Cari Cara refers to the mode of survival, of finding ways to stay alive during moments of hardship, such as the pandemic that we are currently confronted with.