Interview with the participating artists: Duto Hardono

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E-mail interviews were conducted with the ten artists featured in the exhibition Home Again—10 Artists Who Have Experienced Japan.

Born in Indonesia, Duto Hardono did his residence in Japan 2011. Hemakes drawings, collages and installations and performances that incorporate sound. His dynamic use of materials include records, old musical instruments and cassette tape, often incorporating blurred or disjointed sounds that play back in an unpredictable fashion.

These interviews were conducted by Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT).

DUTO HARDONO Indonesia, b. 1985
Based in Bandung, Indonesia, Hardono graduated from the Fine Art & Design Faculty of Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). He creates installations, drawings and collages that are full of humor and wit, often using actual sounds or images that lead the viewer to imagine sound. After his residency in 2011, he created a sound installation using random noises and voices that he recorded in Tokyo.

Q1: You came to Tokyo just after the earthquake and tsunami – did this affect what you did and made in Tokyo? How?

It was very strange, really. All feelings mixed up. A bit confused rather than afraid exactly, but on the other hand it still couldn’t affect my excitement. It did affect the works that I made. All of the works were inspired by the city & the experience of it. It is something when you hear the news/rumors from far away & then you experience it yourself. I made a couple of works & a performance dedicated to the situation at that time.

Q2: You also make sound performances and works which include audio elements. You recorded things from Japanese TV for example. Is this a way for you to somehow understand a different cultural context? Or you use sound as another material, like John Cage did? Or both and more?

Basically (& usually) I use sound as the sound itself, an idea, text & material that has its own characteristic, which can create a certain aesthetic experience for the audience. I think of it as an abstract material that can share presentation with concrete elements. In the process of creating/composing a sound, where the sound comes from, how the presentation takes shape or how I need to do a performance are aspects that I think of as shadow contexts that come after.

Q3: For this exhibition, you are sending color postcards to Tokyo regularly – what is your intention behind this piece?

I had this idea since the theme of the exhibition is about travel, mobility and home. I use postcards. The idea was to send a postcard from here (Indonesia) to Tokyo every day for a straight month (28 days), except on Sundays/public holidays. Each of the postcards contains a printed color from a color transition schematic. This transition is from white to red. If all of the 28 postcards arrive safely/completely, we can see the full color transition smoothly. This project relies on and needs other people to make it happen (i.e the post office staff, myself etc). I’m trying to talk about mistakes, fate, time, space, chain relations, and hope among other things. If any of the postcards are missing in this process, I’d like to take that mistake as a hidden intention to create something new. You can say that it needs to “fail” to make it a “success” or vice versa. In the end, I made 2 mistakes myself, by somehow accidentally forgetting to send two postcards on two certain days and ended up sending it twice in the next days. You can see these details on the post office stamped ink.

Q4: Do you think you work like a mixer or editor, arranging different materials in specific sequences with specific ideas behind them? There is a kind of conceptual discipline in your works…what do you think?

I think this is because I just enjoy working eclectically. Maybe it couldn’t work in another way… I don’t know, I never mind to try something else though.