1979. Short Films and Animation Work by Gotot Prakosa

Short Films and Animation Work by Gotot Prakosa

Nine short films – originally produced on 16mm film, some of them animations – and two short videos, all by Gotot Prakosa, are supplied on one compilation video with a running time of about 105 minutes.

Group scene from 'Meta Ekologi' with local children watching the performance event staged in the grounds of the Jakarta Institute of the ArtsGotot Prakosa is Indonesia’s leading experimental short filmmaker. Most of the collection here is work done between 1974 and 1987 at the time he was a student and young teacher in the Faculty of Cinematography at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts. The works range from animations produced by drawing directly on film (Meta-meta andImpulse ), or by photographing drawings (Koen Faya Koen, and A= Absolute, Z = Zen) or objects such as fruit and eggs (Dialogue and Genesis-Genesis ), to more regular kinds of “documentary” (Jalur , the speeded-up trip to Bandung) to profound and subtle “cinematizations” of performance art (Meta-ekologi, based on the 1979 performance event of the same name by Indonesia’s leading performance artist, Sardono W. Kusuma, orVancouver-Borobodur , a video, also done with Sardono, this time in Vancouver at the Indonesian stall at the International Expo in 1986). Most of these works have a quality of youthful, irreverent experimentation. Sometimes they are relatively abstract and minimalist and startlingly brief. Most play along a spectrum that embraces both a sharp sense of Indonesian cultural specificity and an awareness of catchy modern international styles and sounds.

Notes on the Films

Notes in inverted commas have been supplied by Gotot Prakosa.

Meta Meta (‘Images’) (originally painted onto 16mm film, colour, 3 min., 1975-6) “Images of the life force welling up. This is a film which depicts the visual dreams I had when I was only 12 years old. I made this film in the same way that I paint.”

Impulse (originally painted onto 16mm film, colour, 2 min.) An early experimental abstract animation, made by drawing directly on to 16mm film

Dialogue (originally on 16mm; colour; 3 min) An early experimental work, made by animating fruit in a bowl. Various kinds of dialogue – using body language – occur between the fruit.

Jalur (‘Lane’) (originally shot on 16mm film, colour, 11 minutes, 1977) “A trip from Jakarta to Bandung. This film is the expression of the trip, as though it were a meditation, a trip in which you ignore everything around you.”

Non KB (‘Family Planning’) (Animation, originally shot on 16mm, colour, 2 min., 1979) “The letters KB refer to the official term `Keluarga Berencana’, i.e. `Family Planning’. This is a “Non KB” film. A spontaneous vision on the introduction of family planning.”

Koen Faya Koen (Animation, originally shot on 16mm, colour, 3 min., 1979) “Koen Faya Koen!” is a cry in Arabic used by a Jakarta street magician (with a gesture of invocation) as he goes to conjure up something. Koen Faya Koen is an ironic film about the creation of the world, where God is a kind of street magician.

Meta Ekologi (Originally shot on 16mm film at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts, B.& W., 14 min., 1979). Directed by Gotot Prakosa and based on a performance event developed by Sardono W. Kusuma. “This film is a response to an attempt to enter into dialogue with the ecology of earth and water. Humanity expresses its feelings through its body by striving to become one with the universe. It is like farming peasants who work on the land, covered with mud. A process of poeticisation.” One of the most remarkable films ever made in Indonesia.

Genesis, Genesis (Animation, originally shot on 16mm, colour, 12 min., 1981) “A film inspired by mythologies of human life from a part of Indonesia, which speaks of class and character”. (Painted eggs, apples and sweet potato march in military-like formation in a mountainous landscape.)

A = Absolute, Z = Zen (Animation, originally shot on 16mm film, colour, 4 min., 1983) Starting each section with a new mudra (hand gesture) of the Buddha, “this series of visions by the Borobodur Buddha are related to Japanese Zen Buddhism, as a series of reflections upon the nature of consumerist society”.

Vancouver-Borobodur (Video with choreography and performance by Sardono W. Kusuma, 1986, 20min.) Videography by Gotot Prakosa in Vancouver at the Indonesian Expo). Shot on low band U-matic, the technical quality of this tape varies.

Wahyoe and his Works (Video, 20 min., 1989, Videographer: Gotot Prakosa). “Bali often stores up mysteries, and maybe one of these mysteries is the exoticism of Bali. But for the Balinese, maybe that exoticism is the tourists themselves. Wahyoe was brought up in Bali, but he has been touched by Western values. Even though he has travelled in America and Europe, he still chooses Bali, lives there as a modern painter, and has different white women as his partners. A portrait of another side of life in Bali.” Shot on low band U-matic, the technical quality of this tape varies.

Suggested Reading

A. & C. Cantrill “Interview with Gotot Prakosa” Cantrills Filmnotes, 63/64, December 1990.

David Hanan “Gotot Prakosa and Independent Indonesian Cinema” Cantrills Filmnotes 63/64, Dec. 1990