Iswanto Hartono speaks about his involvement
in the dance production volution / groove space,
which was put together by German choreographer
As a designer with a background in architecture,
what was your first impression
when you were invited to meet and collaborate
with a choreographer?
Actually, the first time I came into contact with
the world of fine art was when I was working
together with a community of performance
artists. After studying architecture at the
Tarumanagara University in Jakarta (UNTAR), I
studied fine art at the Jakarta Art Institute (IKJ).
However, I never finished a degree there, since
I only stayed for two years. After that I got a
scholarship to study urban politics in India.
While I was at IKJ I happened to work together
with Suptrapto Suryodarmo and Agoes Jolly,
who are both, in my opinion, the pioneers of
performance art in Indonesia. It was through
them that I later met fine artists in the
broader sense, such as Halim and Budi Otong.
So when Sebastian Matthias invited me to meet
and we were finally able to talk about a work
to be made in Jakarta, I was immediately interested
because of my relevant prior experience,
even if it had been a while since I took on a
project of that nature.
Until now, based on your discussion with
Sebastian Matthias, you previously worked
from the concept “artificial park“ for an
installation work that you made. Listening
to your stories, I remember that you previously
made several works with the same
theme. Why are you interested specifically
in “parks“, especially artificial parks with
plants made of plastic?
It’s true, I have explored this theme before
and I am still interested in exploring it further.
Why the concept of the park? Maybe there
is some connection with my background in
architecture. As an architect, I am accustomed
to grappling with forms that already exist, “ordinary”
objects, in the sense that they are not
works made by artists. Usually, these objects
are something mass-produced, and can be
easily obtained. I myself am not a true artist, I
don’t have any special training in the broader
sense, or a strong background like an artist
who works on the basis of beauty, and whose
work is their own expression. Aside from that,
I have a special love of toys, which tend to
have elements such as being able to take them
apart, put them back together again, pair them
up, change them into something else, and that
kind of thing.