Katia Engel


from starting to cut the wood

dance performance 55 minutes


Experiment? A hodge-podge of dance, audio, performance art, philosophical debate, word play, Art?

Maybe some or even all of these things. Yet, perhaps – most profoundly – a confrontation with the juxtaposition of ancient and contemporary human behaviors, actions, rhythms and the questions that emerge about us all as human beings within the twin contexts of where we have come from and where we are going.

An evening of silent conversation and ensuing hours of a great many ideas to reflect upon.

–  Margaret Agusta, Journalist and Writer, Jakarta Post




I visit the mask carver in his studio and observe him preparing the tools and his wood.

I decide to stay for a while.

From starting to cut the wood opens in darkness with a soundscape of an Indonesian village: chickens, goats, birds, people’s activities.

The soundscapes fades into the studio of a mask carver, who starts to carve a mask: from using the saw, axt, chisels, knife, sandpaper until a fine brush. Each of these sounds have their own specific pacing and pattern, which opens up  images, feelings, associations.

One dancer is translating these sounds into movement. He moves with the sounds, against the sounds, along the sound, he is becoming the sound.

Combined with these interactions are projected text fragments, a collage of an observers thoughts while witnessing the mask carver making a mask:

I am thinking of the shift, this moment in history when machines started to replace body movements. When a new rhythm was created and human touch started to disappear. What is the rhythm of the digital world?

The observations shift into the philosophy of work, in which quotes of various philosophers are been recalled. The process of mask making is becoming a metaphor of the relationship of human mankind to work, the relationship of human mankind to its own existence.




Performer: Ari Ersandi

Mask Carver: Enosh Mujiran

Lighting Design: Ignatius Sugiarto A. K. A. CLINK

Composer: Laila Skovmand

Singers: Roy Hart Fermate Choir

Artistic Director, Concept, Video: Katia Engel

Produced with support of Komunitas Salihara, Yogya Art Week, Dusun Jogja Village Inn and Goethe Institute Indonesia

17 June 2017, Theatre Salihara, Jakarta