First of all, I want to give applause and huge respect to Jindee Chua & Suriawati Qiu, the programmers for Minikino Monthly Screening April 2021 program, for tingling my senses and for the first time questioning the meaning of Craft.
When I think about craft, it reminds me of things made by someone or a machine. What would be the difference between being human or machine? Do we both have our algorithm that is sculpted by histories and experiences? Do we add fragments of tradition that are passed down through generations? Does it have the same meaning as an algorithm? This program is a full life-cycle loop inviting the audience to redefine craft, human, and nature.
The five films in this program have their own very distinctive personalities, yet complement each other very well. I imagine myself coming out of the womb. Then as a toddler started learning at a slow yet steady pace, familiarizing myself with the characteristics and nuance of the experience itself, which is Craft. The first film, Guruvine Thedi (The Quest for my Guru) by Anup Narayanan presents a perception of having an identity. Identities shaped personalities. It connects humankind to history and with each other. From the ancestors to the future generation. The entire perception of entitled to something is the reason behind the need to preserve in the first place.
Passing healing skills and knowledge between generations is the way craft is preserved. Marko Randelovic tells a story about a Balian, a Balinese healer with the skills passed before by his own father, grandfather, great grandfather until he becomes one. This repetition of honing their own craft, their own tradition is always going full circles, another cycle going back to another cycle.
A DYNAMIC LIFE
I found the third film in this program, Linen Revealed directed by Alexander K. Doyle, as a resemblance of adolescent years in human life. A phase where so many external factors and internal problems started to rise. Teenagers turned into young adults seeking answers and solutions. Within the craft, tradition is put into scrutiny. What is tradition? What is craft? Is it second nature, practical instructions that are intertwined with the history of the ancestors? Does it have to be done in the old ways like people have been done for centuries? I think this film is the critical phase of someone’s life. We started to seek everything beyond our imagination, our hope, what we can do best for preserving yet, still evolving.
The questioning period will perhaps soon come to a final conclusion. It might be a sign that new history shall be written. Director Erick Sutanto in his documentary film, Shin Hua, captured a strong memorable end-quote, “History should live, not die with its people.” These words stick to my mind even after the rolling credit ends. I wonder what will happen to Shin Hua, the oldest barbershop in Indonesia. Does history make the craft or craft is making histories? More and more I see that craft is endless, with almost no boundaries. Craft is very personal.
It’s interesting that the fourth film, Shin Hua, somehow contradicted the previous film, Linen Revealed. It will be interesting to discuss further how humankind must continue to develop because each era is different. History may die with the people in it.
The Bellbird’s Morning Song directed by Damon Mohl presents an impressive audiovisual work that I consider a near-death experience. The programmer’s decision to place this film as the last one summarized the whole cycle of life. At the end of the human life phase, the fading human figure floats seamlessly in the beautiful natural landscape before disappearing with clouds. Nature is a craft of its own. We might not even notice and forget to appreciate the simplest things.
Watching these five short films in the CRAFT program gives a new experience of life going at its full cycle. From beginning to end, many challenges with endless questions about our interconnectedness as humans were answered in craft development. I guess at the end of the day, craft makes us more human after all.
Written by Azalia Syahputri. Edited by Fransiska Prihadi
MMSD April 2021 program CRAFT
Programmers: Jindee Chua & Suriawati Qiu
Friday, 16 April 2021, 18:30 WITA (MASH Denpasar)
Friday, 23 April 2021, 19:00 WITA (Omah Apik Pejeng)
Sunday, 25 April 2021, 17:00 WITA (Rumah Film Sang Karsa, Buleleng)
Friday, 30 April 2021, 19:00 WITA (Uma Seminyak)
for more information about this program, please click here