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I Wayan Juniartha ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Denpasar   |  Thu, 12/04/2008 10:48 AM  |  Surfing Bali

The darkened front yard of Suicide Glam Clubhouse on Sunday evening gave way to an intoxicatingly pumping melody as Gung De Wirakusuma (DJ Ay-ik) began channeling his moods into a fully wired digital turn table.

The sounds that escaped the speakers were those of Tech House, a genre of electronic music that fuses the soulful end of house music with the driving minimalism of techno music. The sounds resided on the atmospheric plane of techno with splashes of intricate rhythm-rattling, shaking and grinding near the edge of trance.

As the audience began to be mesmerized by the novice DJ’s skills and taste, renowned videographer Ridwan Rudianto wasted no time working his magic with images and compositions.

His fingers danced on the keyboard of his Giga RAM-charged laptop, sending digitized cues and orders to the processor brain to unleash sequences of moving images to the awaiting screen before him.

Over the next 20 minutes, Wirakusuma and Rudianto conversed with each other through a non-verbal language embraced by an increasing number of the world’s youths. The language was not based on words, phrases or sentences, but on beat, rhythm and melodies on one side, and images, colors and compositions on the other side.

There were times when Wirakusuma controlled the conversation; introducing new beats and presenting new harmony while Rudianto became an obedient listener, providing the beats and harmony with matching visual interpretations.

Yet, here and there, it was Rudianto who demanded to be heard, projecting haunting images and captivating compositions to the screen; and Wirakusuma responded joyfully, setting a melodic repertoire to illustrate Rudianto’s points.

As the two young proteges of the digital faith immersed themselves in the word-less dialogue, the audience stood in awe of the lively collaboration.

Wirakusuma and Rudianto were formally introduced to each other just 10 minutes prior to the start of their performance. In that short period, both installed their equipment and informed each other about what they wanted to achieve — and how they intended to achieve it.

However, the importance of the collaboration lied far beyond the instant nature of their initial encounter.

The collaboration, part of the Bali Creative Power 2008’s Video Deejay and Digital Deejay Workshop, reflected the increasingly closer rapport between digital technology and creative arts.

“Digital technology coupled with information technology has provided artists with infinite possibilities, possibilities that previously only existed in our dreams. With this technology at our disposal, we are literally entering a creativity Terra Incognata,” the host of the workshop, Marlowe Bandem, said.

Rudolf Dethu, the owner of Suicide Glam and a patron of the island’s modern music, shared similar sentiments.

“The rise of digital technology, the ease of access to information and knowledge, will inspire a shift of paradigms in the art world. The technology provides larger spaces as well as better tools and means to express ourselves creatively,” he said.

In the words of Wirakusuma, digital technology had enabled the artist to focus on the important things and not be distracted by less significant factors.

“I don’t have to worry whether the beat is matching when I play three tracks at the same time. I could concentrate more on doing on-the-spot re-mixing, playing acapella, introducing samples and manipulate the effects. The result, a truly authentic live production that reflects the artist’s personal mastery of techniques, as well as musical originality,” he detailed.

Yoyo (VJ Uncle Joy), whose cartoon characters breathe a fresh air into the country’s realm of video deejaying, said the collaboration between VJ and DJ was an inevitability since the public had demanded a more complete aesthetic experience that encompassed various sensory perceptions.

“A VJ is a person who re-interprets the sound and gives it more depth. His creation should be a repertoire of images suggesting an expanded view or deeper exploration of the driving force of the sound,” he said.

Both Rudianto and Yoyo said in order to maintain the aesthetic contents of the DJ’s and VJ’s creations, the artists should create original materials and incorporate local themes and issues into their works.

For Dethu, the collaboration on that night was a sign of things to come for the country’s art. The future art, he said, was a world of intertwined fates and collective creativity facilitated by the most modern of technology.

“As the nightspots of Bali turn into the central stage of the island’s tourism and, more importantly, the communal playground of the island growing urbanized youths, digital arts, a new medium of expression, will increasingly became the preferred tool of expression for the island’s future generation,” he said.

“In the future, digital technology will not only influence DJs and VJs, but also dancers, painters and sculptors.”

The workshop was part of the two-day Bali Creative Power 2008, a gathering of the island’s creative industry’s thinkers and players.

Source: The Jakarta Post