Act 1: Neitherland, Whitherland, Hitherland
Artist. Tintin Wulia
Organisation. Gallery 4a
Tintin Wulia – b. 1972, Denpasar, Indonesia. Lives and works in Jakarta and Melbourne.
Untold Moments was a single-work exhibition by Tintin Wulia held at 4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney in 2015. Untold Moments comprised thirty-two channels of synchronised and orchestrated audio, forming a sculptural platform through which Tintin Wulia’s most ambitious sound installation to date, Act 1: Neitherland, Whitherland, Hitherland (2015), was premiered.
This work was developed over an eighteen month period across several continents. It weaves poetic and abstract narratives of inhabiting the obscured networks of global nomadism as it amalgamates the artist’s personal anecdotes, intimate first-hand interviews, and sustained research on borders and forced migration. This narrative structure converges on Tintin Wulia’s personal experience of being deported from Germany after being accused of attempted illegal entry, whilst also touching on the lives of displaced individuals with whom the artist has developed relationships.
This elaborate sonic work plays through a system of synchronised speakers constructed by the artist as sculptural elements. Untold Moments: Act 1: Neitherland, Whitherland, Hitherland develops Wulia’s examination of language as a political border. She also explores the experience of the space of a border, a space not everyone is admitted to. The border, drawn neatly as a line on a map, is not only a physical space but also a mental and conceptual space.
Wulia references traditions of oral storytelling and poetry as a way of exploring languages and their potential as a conduit for universal experiences. Its translations and performances by over fifteen narrators in various languages, including English, Indonesian, Arabic and Vietnamese, are reverberated visually in a dynamic composition of shadows cast by sound-reactive small lights. The voices in the work come from different directions creating call and response patterns as they immerse the viewer. In this, and in its exposed circuitry which bind the entire installation together, Untold Moments highlights the secretive systems of survival that these fictional characters perpetually inhabit within globally shifting boundaries.
Wulia’s practice is a reflection on the border, seen through critical geopolitics. She often stages interactive performances that serve as tactile playgrounds for her audience to take part in a process.
Untold Moments: Act 1: Neitherland, Whitherland, Hitherland was presented for the curated section of Art Stage Singapore in 2017.
The Keir Foundation is thrilled to have been the Commissioning Partner for this work.