Schlosspost: You describe your art-making process as an auto-criticial ritual and a method of self-reflection, especially from the perspective of Javanese people, who live in a wave of global consumerism demanding everything is instantaneous. In a globalized world, do you think this auto-criticism can be addressed more at a whole global generation rather than at people from a specific national background?
SA/DLB: We are not in a position to judge others whose context and historical background we are not familiar with. What we know for sure is that we are in the middle of an ongoing, neverending learning process about ourselves. We understand so far that the tradition and culture of a community is closely tied to the environment in which its members live. They form a unity that has been tried and tested through a long time span.
»History is the light that prevents us from falling into the same hole as we walk forward.«
For example, in Java where we live, there is a specific region prone to earthquakes. The architecture of Java’s traditional houses, as taught by Javanese ancestors, contains information about the usage of light materials, loosely-tied joints, and a foundation that is not fixed underground, so when the earthquake occurs, the structure is relatively flexible and can move with the tremors. This value is now almost extinct, taken over by new values that came in the name of modernity, promising efficiency. So, most houses in Java now are built with rigid and heavy structures, with foundations planted deep into the ground to save on long-term maintenance – one can only imagine the damage that will occur whenever an earthquake strikes. Of course, this is just one real example. There are still many other examples we can think of.