Projects/ A Year of Living Dangerously

A Year of Living Dangerously

On changing perspectives, distance and engagement

In the summer of 2016, Tiong Ang spent ten days re-enacting a particular scene from the film ‘The Year of Living Dangerously’ (Peter Weir, 1982). Involving local actors and performers from Jakarta, the process was documented using photography and video. It focuses on the interplay of casting and rehearsing, of discussion and organization, and deliberately refrains from cinematographic mimicry. Using the experience in Indonesia as a trial run, this re-make will be re-staged in the exhibition as a live performance (with Amsterdam-based performers) against a sculptural stage design.

The original 1982 film depicts Indonesia in 1965, in a fragile political state with a melodramatic narrative framework that deals with exoticism, loyalty and love. Appropriating the film’s title ‘The Year of Living Dangerously’, Tiong replaces the definitive ‘The’ with a more open ‘A’. The title is originally derived from President Sukarno’s 1964 Independence Day speech, forecasting the year ahead as ‘the year of living dangerously’, as two radical forces - Communist revolutionaries and a Muslim military group - attempted to overthrow his government. The unfolding events remain a tragic mystery. Also for
Tiong, it is the very reason he now lives and works as an artist in the Netherlands.

Using different media, Tiong Ang addresses forms of human representation, employing strategies of intervention, compromise, juxta-position, chance, mockery, disguise and negation. He explores subjective conditions within divided, ambivalent worlds, be it on ethical, ethnical, or sociopolitical grounds. Elements of identity, cultural meaning and social absorption emerge. Recurring themes are the role of mass/digital media on individual perspective and collective memory, and the anxieties evoked by the process of mobility and globalization. Thus, propositions of human perception and behaviour converge in complexities of disparate truths.