Katia Engel


from starting to cut the wood

2015 / 2017

dance performance

I visit the mask carver in his studio and observe him preparing the tools and his wood. I decide to stay for a while.

This dance piece starts with a soundscape of an Indonesian village: people passing by, chickens, birds, goats, people preparing meals.

Eventuallly the soundscapes fades into the studio of a mask carver, who is carving 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 and 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.

Intertwined in this audible process of mask making are projected text fragments, a collage  of thoughts and feelings while observing the work progress.

“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.”


The process of mask making is becoming a metaphor of the relationship of human mankind to work and its increasing relevance in the future.


What is ahead of us, is the perspective of a working society, which is out of work – the only activity which it is still cabable of. What could be more disastrous?“ (Hannah Arendt)



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

Premiere: 17 June 2017, Theatre Salihara, Jakarta