A large number of artists from South East Asia are present in the CTM 2019 programme thanks to Nusasonic, a multi-year project that plunges into a broad spectrum of experimental sound and music cultures in Southeast Asia, enabling dialogue within the region, with Europe, and beyond. This talk explores and contrasts music aesthetics, scenes, and the daily life of musicians from several South East Asian countries. What kinds of challenges do they face with respect to local audiences, venues, scenes & networks, traditions, and sociopolitical climates? Does their local experience and heritage influence their music practice? What kind of cultural or historical connections exist throughout the South East Asian region?
The Nusasonic initiative takes its title from “Nusantara,” an ancient Javanese term which is nowadays used to address the multiple connections between Southeast Asian countries. Adopting a multi-perspective approach, the project is collaboratively created by Yes No Klub (Yogyakarta), WSK Festival of the Recently Possible (Manila), Playfreely/BlackKaji (Singapore), and CTM Festival for Adventurous Music & Art (Berlin). It is an initiative of the Goethe-Institute.
Thai experimental artist Pisitakun Kuantalaeng is a purveyor in noise, folding personal loss with the fraught recent political upheaval of his native Thailand. As well as touring and performing live, Pisitakun sculpts sound within multimedia installation art; his debut album Black Country, beginning in 2016 and completed in the following year, is the result of over four years of contextualising traditional music in electronic soundscapes.
An artist and curator that is active across the fields of contemporary art, design and music, Wok The Rock is a member of artist collective Ruang MES 56 in Yogyakarta, runs the music label Yes No Wave Music, curates a monthly experimental music concert series named Yes No Klub, and has initiated the Indonesia Netaudio Forum, among other.
A Singaporean percussionist active across music performance and education, Cheryl Ong is a musician who performs solo in addition to with avant rock group The Observatory and experimental trio SA.
As one half of Senyawa, vocalist Rully Shabara has become one of South Asia’s most recognisable faces in the underground and experimental music scene. Known for his dynamic, intense performances, which captivate audiences globally, Shabara’s onstage presence bridges contemporary metal with traditional Indonesian folk and various theatrical performance styles.
Composer, media artist, and cultural producer Tengal Drilon is involved in research-based production bridging art, technology, and society. He has been producing various media art events and initiatives in Manila and the Southeast Asian region since 2005, notably founding the art organization SABAW Media Art Kitchen in Manila as a curatorial platform specializing in digital and media art from Southeast Asia. He founded the Philippines' first international media art festival and symposium, WSK Festival of the Recently Possible, in 2008.
Kok Siew-Wai is an experimental vocalist, media artist, and curator based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Participating in Kombo, a DIY platform which explores improvisation and experimental composition methods, Siew-Wai will provide expertise in cross-disciplinary dialogue and research to foster creativity and collaboration between artists in different media.