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Title: Experimenting with the essay form and wayang in contemporary Indonesian filmmaking : when shadows are grey
Authors: Achnas, Nan Triveni
Keywords: Visual arts and music::Film
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Achnas, N. T. (2020). Experimenting with the essay form and wayang in contemporary Indonesian filmmaking : when shadows are grey. Doctoral thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: The essay film has a long and diverse history with a literary heritage that of the essay form. The term ‘essay’ often signifies a range of different categories of writing – from the literary writings to the academic essay. The essay form is both flexible and wide-ranging making it challenging to define what constitutes the form. Essays are continuously going through the process of definition. The question of what an essay film is will be central to the written as well as the practical component of this dissertation. This inquiry is important for the creation of alternative forms of filmmaking. What are the elements of the essay form and can it be found in other cultural forms, for instance, the Javanese wayang or shadow puppet theatre? The similarities and the dissimilarities of the essayistic form and the wayang are many but the affiliation between them is that they share the inherent nature to find an ordering to the world through a disorder. The wayang multi-layered complexities have been discussed as a Javanese epistemology. Among other approaches in trying to understand wayang is to see it as constructing a unique and very complex language text. By taking as a point Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory about language, the wayang is a form that transforms itself in every performance. This re-ordering of the internal power of a medium is what Gilles Deleuze calls systems of perception that in turn establishes hierarchy and coherence in the form that relates to the intention of the creators of the text, the medium, and to the audience. The dissertation addresses the concepts of space, time, and memory in the essayistic form. The practical component, an essay film entitled When Shadows are Grey, transposes the concepts within the wayang form. People who watch, read, and make sense of the wayang performance and the personal essay would have to reflect on what they experience to achieve a better understanding. This reflection is very much within and implicated in the structure of creation by both the dalang (puppeteer) and the essayist, as they are absorbed into their respective forms. Making sense of the structures of being is always also a matter of thinking about it. In the context of other performances and the essayistic form -- they are always something more, and something essentially different than mere reflections.
DOI: 10.32657/10356/142100
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Fulltext Permission: embargo_20230616
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:ADM Theses

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