Priests & Programmers "Regeneration"
Sharjah Architecture Triennale  //  Sharjah, UAE  November 2019

16 channel sound installation

Former Al Jubail Souq Market, Sharjah
Curators: Adrian Lahoud and Adam Jasper

I worked with Balinese composer Dewa Ketut Alit, artist collective U5, and architects Li Tavor, Alessandro Bosshard, and Matthew van der Ploeg, to explore the homologies of landscape, time, and music. Spearheaded by art historian Adam Jasper at ETH Zürich, a transdisciplinary team from Indonesia, Singapore, and Switzerland collectively investigate the story of the subak – the complex irrigation system of Bali that has, thanks to the close cooperation of farmers and priests, held the island in a balance for a thousand years. The project recounts how the hydraulic and cultural landscape of the subak became one of the first sites of resistance to the so-called Green Revolution.

The exhibition’s main venue in the disused Al Jubail Souq Fruit & Vegetable Market, hosted a thoughtful offering of films, archival documents, music, models and interactive presentations that touch on many aspects of this culture, cumulatively suggesting that these religious rites serve not only as metaphysical practices, but also management systems that enable sustainable farming.

Double Bind - A film by U5 that was shown within the space of the mixed media exhibition

Double Bind Film, 2019
25’, HD
Directed and produced by U5
Music, sound design and narration by Vivian Wang

A journey is a confrontation of expectation with reality. How will the places we visit compare to the images we have formed in our head? Few islands are as evocative as Bali, the famous island in the Indonesian archipelago that was often described as the last paradise. Double Bind documents a trip to Bali as well as the possibility and impossibility of finding an approach to the complex reality of a place. The film was inspired by the research of the American anthropologist Stephen Lansing, whose work was crucial for a reevaluation - and survival - of the century-old tradition of rice growing on Bali in face of attempts to implement the international Green Revolution on the island in the 1980s. But Double Bind is not only a study of agriculture, religion, and water. Bali has fascinated artists and anthropologists since the early of the 20th century. Later, surprising connections between the Indonesian island and California on the other side of the globe and the development cybernetics have developed, connections that already began in the 1930s when the anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson studied the structure of Balinese society.

Double Bind tells the story of encounters - and missed encounters - of anthropology and art, of Bali and California, a tale of projections and connections.
(synopsis by Dora Imhof)