Dr Aline Scott-Maxwell1
1Monash University, , Australia
The paper considers two projects led by Australian artists that draw on Indonesian contemporary music and were created collaboratively with Indonesian musicians. Punkasila is an Indonesian punk band and artist collective formed by Melbourne visual artist Danius Kesminas that has irreverently and controversially parodied aspects of Indonesia’s political culture. The other project, Attractor, is a contemporary dance work conceived by Melbourne choreographer Gideon Obarzarnek and which came about through his prior connections with Indonesian punk and metal-influenced experimental music duo, Senyawa. Senyawa was also central to Attractor’s performance for the 2017 Asiatopa Festival (Melbourne). In considering these projects within the broader frame of the benefits of creative collaboration, cross-cultural exchange and ‘first world’ exposure, as well as inequitable power relations in the creative process and vastly different financial and career consequences, both projects might be seen as having outcomes that primarily further the Australian participants’ artistic (and other) goals. But they also suggest a more nuanced interpretation. Notwithstanding questionable equity issues, the paper invites consideration of the agency available to the Indonesian musicians, the contextual implications of their Indonesian (and global) socio-cultural and musical world and benefits that potentially accrue for them beyond these immediate projects.
Aline Scott-Maxwell is an ethnomusicologist and popular music studies scholar with research specialisations in Indonesian and Australian musical cultures. She has published extensively on historical and contemporary aspects of Australia’s musical engagement with Asia. She is Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University.