Water, the sacred mantra
Dissolving in rain, surging through veins
Crystal clear in streams, embodying the soul
Mists of moments, glowing faintly over soft skin
The entire cosmos truly …
Holds one’s own existence
In sooth, eternal
In soft-spoken ballads of drizzles
Within the depth of blue lagoons
Over roaring waves
In tears of …
A loving mother
Uttering prayer for an everlasting universe
You are invincible forevermore
– Wayan Juniarta – Denpasar, 2015 –
Translated by Marlowe Bandem
SPRITES Art & Creative Biennale | Water
June 9 – September 6, 2015
Pantai Pura Tanjung Sari, Sanur, Bali
// Deciphering SPRITES
SPRITES is a shared vision of becoming Bali’s foremost creative, modern, and multicultural art festival. It loudly praises and is the manifestation of ancient, contemporary, and avant-garde artistic and aesthetic energies that shape and mold a world of brimming creativity.
The first installment of SPRITES was inaugurated in June 2013 and involved dozens participants over the course of three months in various stages and settings all over Bali.
SPRITES Art & Creative Biennale 2013 garnered a positive response, support and appreciation from creative communities and the public throughout the region.
SPRITES was envisioned by Yoka Sara – famed Balinese, eco-oriented designer-architect-cum-culturati – and it has blossomed into a captivating playground of diverse iconic creations and spontaneous performance arts of many kinds.
The master plan is to deliver SPRITES biennially, from 2013 to 2021, furthering the theme of Panca Maha Bhuta – the five elemental powers of macrocosmic and microcosmic beings –including Earth (2013), Water (2015), Wind (2017), Light (2019), and Ether (2021).
SPRITES came into being – a collective, collaborative entity realizing its vision without hesitation – to stir the kaleidoscope that is Bali even more. Bali is where modernity and tradition are not opposing forces, but are equally significant and complementary of each other.
SPRITES fuses varied and contrasting elements of the contemporary world and at once unearths and propels the island’s rich traditional legacies. Inspired by the transient optical phenomena of large-scale electrical discharges above thunderclouds, SPRITES may be a faint flash of creativity for the timid, however as the saying goes, creativity flourishes in uncharted territories.
Yoka Sara believes that seen and unseen forces bind magical charms around creation and channel energy and spirit for creators to breathe and live devoted to the universe. He emphasizes, “SPRITES is deeply rooted in being true to oneself, a pure mind guiding righteous actions and presented in such pleasing manners.”
Full of surprises, SPRITES | Earth came to its finale in mid-2013, rising and holding court that SPRITES is here to amaze for many years to come.
// SPRITES Scenography
One important aspect of SPRITES | Earth, which shall continue in future SPRITES, is the introduction and implementation of the terminologies ‘scenography’, ‘scenographers’, ‘pangawak’ and ‘moments’.
Over the years, the term scenography has gained more exposure and is becoming widely accepted across artistic and creative fields. It is embraced by the younger creative generation, pushing it beyond the boundaries of merely “…representing objects in perspective, especially as applied in the design and painting of theatrical scenery.”
Scenography has evolved into an expression and application of creative and imaginative skills of creating performance environments that not only contain, but also foster and generate creative propulsion even more, to fuse elements – sound, light, visual, prop-object, wardrobe-costume, performance, structure, and space – to fully immerse and engage the audience in the production and presentation.
Joslin McKinney expands the understanding of scenography as, “…not simply concerned with creating and presenting images to an audience; it is concerned with audience reception and engagement. It is a sensory as well as an intellectual experience, emotional as well as rational.”
Yoka Sara adds, “SPRITES bukan hanya mempertontonkan sebuah karya, melainkan juga mengikuti rangkaian proses dalam penciptaan karya tersebut sehingga, pada dasarnya, SPRITES menghadirkan kesenian secara total.” (SPRITES is not only about showcasing an artwork, it is also about experiencing the creation process, thus SPRITES is a rendition of total art).
For many, especially the dozens of participants in SPRITES, scenography is the yadnya ‘, the ultimate devotion and sacrifice, seamless creative processes dedicated to the universe and its mighty forces of creation, existence and destruction, as well as homage to mother earth and its terrestrial energies’.
SPRITES Scenography contains the collective-collaborative effort where all participants – with their distinct skills, capabilities, and approaches – come together as one to perform specific tasks for the attainment and sustainability of a shared goal: an exhilarating aesthetic journey and a blissful artistic yadnya.
// Summon the Scenographers
The ensuing aspect of SPRITES is the integration of scenographers, pangawak and moments.
One may simply define scenographers as persons or departments accountable for developing the appearance or visual aspects of a production, which primarily includes organizing and managing multifarious elements of theatrical productions.
However, since SPRITES’s Scenography is yadnya, then SPRITES’s Scenographers are high priests (sulinggih); responsible for directing and leading the mosaics of production, performance, and presentation of upakara (rituals or SPRITES moments).
SPRITES Scenographers are in charge of synthesizing all aspects of upakara, not only to fulfill the worldly purpose of involving the masses – artists and performers are to take part and contribute in the liberation of yadnya – but they are also entities that channel and stimulate the spiritual-aesthetic of joy and the creative zest of moments within a coherent whole. Essentially, SPRITES Scenographers are accountable for immersing, captivating and enthralling the audience.
SPRITES Scenographers may be an expert or specialist of a specific genre of art or definite discipline of science and as the yadnya is performed, they hold the freedom to manage their degree of involvement in the various pangawak.
Pangawak – from awak meaning ‘body, entity, or devotee’ – combines artists, performers and creators from a various artistic backgrounds who are encouraged and commissioned by the SPRITES Scenographer to connect, communicate, collaborate and celebrate their expertise. This is an integral aspect of the yadnya.
If scenographers are high priests, then pangawak are tukang banten – the ‘offering creators’ – in the process of ngawakin karya, nandurin yadnya ‘, to act and materialize ceremonies or (in the case of SPRITES) productions’.
A vast world of SPRITES pangawak exists. SPRITES | Earth involved numerous musicians, painters, performance-artists, sculptors, DJ’s, soundscape creators, electrical engineers, audio engineers, photographers, architects, space designer, graphic designers, lighting experts, animators, filmmakers, video editors, poets, dancers, video mappers, installation-art artists, motion-art artists, kinetic and robotic artists, costume designers, cartoonists, choreographers, sketchers, acrobatic daredevils, and even wall-climbing thrill seekers. As the list grows, it only depends on how the scenographer will utilize these pangawak to accentuate their moment. A scenographer may involve or omit them based on the moment being constructed.
While in SPRITES | Earth, there was the notion that everything is based on Free Will, no dress-rehearsals, and limited scenographer interaction with pangawak, the golden rule in SPRITES | Water is to limit creative tensions and surprises among co- creators, collaborators, and performers, and save the creative surprises for the audience.
SPRITES | Water will emphasize showcasing artworks that are more accessible to an audience. Technical-wise, scenographers are encouraged to work closely with the event management, to ensure the supporting facilities are well prepared and, most importantly, to choose the collaborative artists wisely for a coherent, timely, and well presented SPRITES experience.
Finally, moments in the upakara are creative sparks and the medium for the art festival. SPRITES | Water will be comprised of nine moments directed by nine scenographers, scheduled from June to September, 2015 and following the lunar cycles, known in Bali as purnama (full moon) and tilem (literally dead (new) moon). The first moment, planned for Mertasari Beach, will commence with the construction of an offshore, sea urchin-like installation, which over the course of the festival will continue to grow based on the creative responses directed and enacted by the scenographers and their varied pangawak. This will be the home SPRITES | Water artworks.
// SPRITES | Water
Water covers the vast majority of the Earth’s surface and comprises a similar portion of our body. It is a realm of influence where macrocosmic forces and microcosmic energies engage one another. Water soothes, replenishes, and heals but also obliterates life. In regards to this elemental force, SPRITES is a fountain of overwhelming creativity, a container that once, full will spill and splash water out and make room for more. As it overflows, SPRITES dissolves in the mix.
See you at SPRITES | Water