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Until Time is Old

Sea urchins, stainless steel, thread, clips, fabric


Installation dimensions: 80 x 280 x 150 cm
Photography: Mie Cornoedus

I am interested in the question: what does it mean to be human? It is impossible to have an objective or neutral view towards other people.

This work starts from the idea that Indonesia is probably the country with the most extreme spectrum of sartorial coverings or clothing in the world. In the western- most provinces of Indonesia, bodies must be totally covered and then in Papua, the eastern-most province, most tribal people still walk around almost naked.

The people of the western-most province of Indonesia, Banda Aceh must live according Sharia Law. Women must wear a jilbab or headscarf. In 2010 a canon was accepted to disallow women to wear a skinny jeans or any other tight, revealing trousers and male punk rockers were made to shave their mohawks.

In Papua on the other hand, there are several different dress codes according to tribe and (often remote) location. In 2007 I travelled through the Balim Valley and in several villages I still saw women with naked breasts and men wearing penis sheaths.

How do we position ourselves and what do we think about space? What is private space, public space and common space? How do we inhabit these spaces? What kind of spaces do we need? What do we think about others occupying this space? In the globalized world, we live in places where the notion of a neutral space doesn’t exist anymore. Almost all spaces are designed, ruled, politicized, or commercialized.

The Indonesian government refuses to rule with a clear hand to protect social space and the freedom to create cultural identities. This leads to social space being occupied on one hand by commercialization - such as urban centers of Java being polluted by an overdose of advertising material while on the other hand, allowing the development of dominant ideologies such as Sharia Law in Aceh or the jihad training camps in the jungles of Sulawesi.

I am investigating materials and their meaning; what do certain materials represent? The materials I use are often part of the concept, message and meaning of my work.

In this particular work I was looking for a ‘neutral’ material, a material not related to a specific identity or culture, and not carrying a symbolic meaning. I found the shells of sea urchins to be found all over the world floating from one place to the other and for me they represent the ‘undesigned’space.

The work invites the audience to step inside in order to experience the ‘space’ of the work physically.