Yola Yulfianti

Yola Yulfianti

Yola Yulfianti

Born in Jakarta in 1981. Lives and works in Jakarta, Indonesia.

 

 

Yola Yulfianti started learning traditional dance when she was a third-grader in elementary school. She graduated as a dance major from the Jakarta Institute of Arts (IKJ) in 2004 and cultural industry and urban art program from the same campus in 2011. For her final exam in the postgraduate program, she created Suku Yola, a film in which she attempts to create her own tribe (suku means ‘tribe’) as a response to essentializing identity claims. She received the Pearl Winner Award for the film at the 2012 Internationale Tanz Film Pool Festival.

She had long felt the alienation of her profession from the society that inspired her work. An offer to take part in a project in the Penjaringan slum, North Jakarta, back in 2012 turned out to be an eye-opener, as she explored the issue of clean water scarcity with the work Payau #2 Waterproof. It was a point of no return. From that point onwards, she started to examine the difficulties of life in major urban centers, such as Jakarta, through the sensitivity of the body of a dancer.

Underlying her works is a perception of the big city as a stage embroiled in chaos – a space in which relations between urban space and human bodies are full of tension, even mutual negation. In the daily life of the city, bodies may even “disappear”. Motorbike riders, for example, protect their bodies with helmets, padded jackets, black sunglasses, and face masks. Those in four-wheeled vehicles close their tinted windows and keep themselves entertained with the latest audio-visual technology. As a result, the reality of life surrounding these hurried urban denizens can also unknowingly disappear; city dwellers live in the midst of the urban jungle, but avoid the reality of their surroundings. “On the streets, it’s as if there are no longer any people. The only things I see are moving statues,” she says. For the body of a dancer, the metropolis or megapolis is a miseropolis – a city filled with bodily torture.

At the Jakarta Biennale 2017 Yola Yulfianti will present an installation version of Pasar Senen Kampung Melayu PP (2017), based on her doctoral research at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts, Solo. It features video-game-avatar-like characters exploring the complexities of the city. The dancers improvise dream-like scenes, allowing space for human interactions, on the streets between Kampung Melayu and Pasar Senen – two bustling areas of Jakarta. The possibilities of the body as a medium for expression meet digital media technology, free-styling an abstract narrative to reveal the visual symptoms of the city’s fatal coupling of subjects and systems in some sort of street party.