YS: What’s your favourite animal?
Melati: Dog. No, horse.
YS: How old were you when you first rode a horse?
YS: Was that in Indonesia or Germany?
Melati: Indonesia. I learned to ride. But then I fell and I had this terrible accident. I was in hospital (gestures towards face). When I was in Germany, 12 years later, I started to ride. But I don’t like German horses. I don’t like German horse people. The girls…
YS: Your performance in Ho Chi Minh City, with long hair, holding the liver – it reminded me a lot of Frida Kahlo’s surrealist work. Was that an influence?
Melati: I’m influenced by traditional spiritualism, which maybe if you put it into modern contexts it looks like surrealism.
YS: Tell me more about your practice.
Melati: Um. In what sense?
YS: Well, I know your training was in classical Indonesian dance -
Melati: When I was a child I was trained in Javanese dance like every other thousand Javanese kids. Going to the dance course, and I’m used to going on the stage because of that. And then also my parents sent me for taichi training and Vipassan meditation, and then I joined a theatre when I was in university, but that’s not so important.
And then I studied art in 1994. I started with performance art, but with a butoh dance choreographer. Anzu Furukawa. She was my professor. In Germany you have to have one professor to study with. And then after that I practiced more visual art based performance art with Marina Abramovic.
Yeah, I actually very interested in art. My body function. As a container. A sensor. Memories. And environment. Surrounds my body all environments. Sorry for my English; I’m just beyond my vocabulary to talk.
And I was, uh, interested to make my position as a human being in its organic system. It detaches like a politic-social-cultural-spiritual aspects. But for example, I would talk about politics. Of those other aspects in I have no direct experience. It’s not five minutes longer than it’s not five minutes. Just open my website, there are texts about my work and, uh, I did not write it. Someone else wrote (breaks out laughing) I appreciate. I just did not sleep. I’m sorry.
YS: How do you feel about the Flying Circus Project?
Melati: I want to be with the Flying Circus, I love to be with all the artists… it’s been great... it’s been a great exchange… it was a great, it’s a very good energy, very positive. And if we are going to meet again, same group after three years, it will be interesting for me to see the difference after this party. Like the development of each artist, what they’re going to do until then. Okay.