Striving for betterment, and often impatiently, many nations adopt and implement various ideas, knowledge, culture, technology, model, down to lifestyle, fashion and entertainment coming from outside. There is actually nothing wrong with this practice. Everything, however, can completely go the other way if we do it carelessly without properly understanding, again, the contexts of these subjects first. While doing it, we neither understand nor are familiar with our own local wisdoms. It may go even worse if we then throw them away as if it were meaningless and useless. This has already been happening; how people think and behave have transformed into something absurd. In daily traffic for example, people drive around in cars, but most maneuver as pedestrians; stop and turn as they please as if they walk. Everyone wants to be a better human, but education is now all about getting a degree, not sharpening the mind and deepening conscience. Most of us want to have some sort of achievement in life, but process and hard work is the last thing on our minds. Most nations also want to industrialize themselves, but instead of prioritizing the industrializing subsistence economy, many ignore it by implanting types of industries that go beyond their knowledge and technological capabilities. The urge to become modern practically kills modernism itself. It is a paradox that most do not realize that they are the subjects who created it. A healthy mind and conscience is harder and harder to find, but that is exactly why Scared Bridge is committed to confront this matter. In this program, Scared Bridge attempts to re-educate communities on three main sections. First is rediscovering local roots, history and knowledge; second is on understanding the contexts of incoming forces, and third is about making wise choices while standing between internal wisdoms and foreign influences.
Restoring the Intangible Significance of Borobudur Temple, as mentioned briefly before, Sacred Bridge and UNESCO Jakarta Office, with the support from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, initiated a capacity building program for the stakeholders of Borobudur Temple. Approaching the end of 2001, a draft plan on relocating the informal business (souvenir and services) vendors triggered a dispute and days of demonstration. With program design already in hand, Sacred Bridge and UNESCO expedited the implementation, and started in January, 2002. The program not only reached the informal vendors, but also managing agencies of the temple, local educational institution personnel, religious leaders and craftsmen.The program was formatted as an action research work containing field findings, clinics, and hands-on exercises. Samples in this research were all active subjects. The main objective of this program was to equip the stakeholders, particularly the locals, with fundamental knowledge of human development. The duration of this fieldwork was two years, followed by periodic monitoring over the following year.
A capacity building project for rooted (traditional) musicians and industrialists (other components in the industry), Since 2006.
Music is now treated like manufactured products; designed and fabricated to meet market demand. What the artist has in mind must be tailored to meet such demands. Being a musician is now a profession to serve people, not a role to enlighten the mind and heart. Sacred Bridge initiated a clinic intended for sharing different perspectives with actors in the music sector. The provided materials cover appreciating and benefiting from diversity, context behind the music, and how we should perceive music as a business.
A Bowl of Roots Music - Music has become an industry; well, at least that is what many people say. Moreover, this thought is extended to the belief that musicians’ lives depend on it. So, the creativity of the artist that was once sovereign, is today controlled and dictated by the “industry”. Music is now treated just like manufactured products, designed and fabricated to meet the market demand. What the artist has in mind must be tailored to meet such demands. Musician is now a profession to serve people, not a role to enlighten the mind and the heart. Music, whether we like it or not, has lost its grip as one of the intellectual fabrics of human life. Music that had been created for over 4,000 years without the industry, in just 50 years became helpless because of it. Would people really stop creating and playing music if there were no industry? Better think twice. In addition to this changing role, massive numbers of musicians around the world tend to embrace or even worship music that is out of their own culture, with neither proper techniques nor adequate understanding of the contexts. Even if we have both, as mentioned earlier, it will still be difficult to be recognized in foreign territory because we will be competing with those who possess mature techniques and live (not just understand) the contexts. While favoring foreign music, the already available local materials are left behind. Occasional attempts to incorporate local music normally end up with only visual and sonic exoticism, without structural relevancy. Traditional music, on the other hand, incorporates too much of Western music, so it loses its characteristics. Sadly enough, this action is in the name of cultivating the tradition. To prevent this condition from worsening, Sacred Bridge in 2006 initiated a clinic intended for sharing different perspectives with actors in the music sector. The given materials cover appreciating and benefiting from diversity, contexts behind music, and how we should treat music as a business. The clinic was delivered every six months, and after three years it became an annual event. Although the majority of the participants are musicians, this clinic is designed for all actors in music such as educators, group managers, club owners, recording studio personnel, radio station personnel, and venue operators. The musicians are of diverse musical genres and different generations. The number of participants to date has been 50.
Psychotherapeutic healing program in response to the devastating impact of the 2004 Tsunami in Aceh, February 2005.
We believe that the Arts are one of the self-reliant supportive systems in human life. With the attention to encourage the survivors to rely more on themselves than on others. Traditional Acehnese performing arts were then deliberately chosen as the main healing vehicle. Within six months, in December, 2005, the second program was delivered for another three months. Hidden and haunting voices were released, grimace turned to shining, hopes and joy were felt again in the air. In July, 2006, forty children and twelve artists were flown from Aceh to share their glory in a staggering live performance.
Immediately after the earthquake and tsunami hit Aceh in December 2004, UNESCO initiated a recovery project, and Sacred Bridge was to design and implement a cultural healing program for the surviving children and traditional artists. After a rapid assessment, they came up with a program design, and the implementation was already undertaken in February, 2005. Although help for the Acehnese came from all directions, most were immediate physical emergency needs, a few for psychological needs, and none for cultural needs. We always believe that arts are one of the self-reliant supportive systems in human life. It is important to keep aware that others cannot help us if we cannot help ourselves. So it was our intention to encourage the survivors to rely more on themselves than on others. Traditional Acehnese performing arts were then deliberately chosen as the main healing vehicle. Four barracks with around 200 children and 20 artists whom we found joined the program. The team of 10 dedicated individuals executed the program for 3 months with an average of working 12 hours on a daily basis, and in the midst of frequent shoot-outs between the Aceh Liberation Front and Indonesian military. Monthly monitoring was carried out after the 3-month program ended. Within six months, in December 2005, the second program was delivered for another 3 months. Hidden and haunting voices were let out, grimace turned to shining, hopes and joy were again felt in the air. In July, 2006, 40 children and 12 artists were flown from Aceh to share their glory in a staggering live performance.
Gaining After The Tsunami
Earn a Living to Make a LifeAware of the success of the cultural healing project, the education sector of UNESCO invited Sacred Bridge to design and implement an educational program, but this time specifically intended for the surviving women in Aceh. The objective was to provide the women with skills that could support their lives financially. Believing that culture is a powerful element in development, Sacred Bridge determined traditional culinary and craft as the entry points. With this approach, the women were expected not only to regain part of their roots, but also to develop its economic aspects and potentials. Just within a couple of months after the program ended, there were already a few numbers of packaged traditional snacks displayed at Banda Aceh airport, made by these courageous women. This program ran for two months.
21st Century global music education that aims to reposition music as a self-reliance support system, Bali, July 2009.
When music has lost its true Roles, Meaning and Values. Where making music is no longer a response to the surrounding environment and its context; it is mostly a way of making a living and becoming famous. GAUNG is an event held by Sacred Bridge Foundation, a global scale program involving masters and musicians from eight countries: Australia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the United States. Spiritual Masters of different religions and beliefs attending the event. GAUNG attempted to break down not only barriers and walls among musical genres, but also the domination of certain genres over others.
The 21st Century Global Music EducationAs mentioned a few times, music today has lost its true roles, meanings and values. Making music is no longer a response to the surrounding environment and its context; it is mostly a way of making a living (i.e. money), and getting famous. Today, hardly anyone perceives music as a mix of expression, science and spirituality. Music has transformed into an entertainment business. The economic potential that was once only an aspect and a subsequence now rules the music, and this happens in most part of the world.If we let this rolls, we may lose one of the most precious human creations that has stimulated our mind and heart for thousands of years. Something Must be done to prevent this decaying process, and Sacred Bridge set out to do just that. The event was held at the Bedugul National Park, Bali in 2009.GAUNG was a global scale program involving masters and musicians from eight countries: Australia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the United States. Spiritual masters of different religions and beliefs attending the event, and they were Sosho Yamada (Abbot of the Zen temple Daitokuji in Kyoto), Syekh Marzuki Hasan (Acehnese Sufi Art Master), and the late Puang Matoa (a Bisu or spiritual leader of an ancient local belief in South Sulawesi). They were also joined by music virtuosos such as Stomu Yamash’ta, Jean Claude Eloy, Christy Smith, and Greg Schimmer. Indonesian music giants like Komang Astita, I Wayan Sadra and Irwansyah Harahap also attended.In addition to reposition and revive the science and spirituality of music, GAUNG attempted to break down not only barriers and walls among musical genres, but also domination of certain genres over others. Besides musicians, ethnomusicologists and the program manager of the famous Esplanade in Singapore were also among the participants.
Between Majapahit Kingdom and Present Indonesia, Majapahit was the last great kingdom between the 14th and 16th centuries, before colonialism, that successfully united most areas in Indonesia. Furthermore, it also successfully drove the mighty Kublai Khan’s fleet out of Indonesia. The ruins found in Trowulan reflect the greatness of the powerful kingdom. The archaeological site itself covers 10 square kilometers; already the size of a city, even by today’s standards. What a metropolis it must have been at the time. While the preservation and restoration has been undertaken, socio-economic issues arise, and certainly interfere with the ongoing process. Land clearance has always been the main cause in many cases. Limited budgets prevent the government from purchasing the property where the ruins and artifacts are found in order to secure it. Today, most of the properties still belong to individuals. When the land owner wants to cultivate or make use of the land, and at the same time the land is an archaeological site, things become problematic. Matters get even more complicated when the land owner does not have a clue about the significance of the archaeological findings, and hardly tries to understand. From the cultural point of view, we see other problems. People of Trowulan are very proud of the site, but most actually do not understand what the story behind the kingdom is. Apart from people who could not be more careless about the sites, there are people who are concerned. This sounds positive, but unfortunately the concern is mostly on the economic side; only a handful of individuals try to benefit from its historical and cultural values. It is quite unfortunate to admit that there is hardly a connection between the people and the site with exception to economic factors. This situation brought a deep concern to Sacred Bridge. How is it possible that any one, community or nation cannot have a “relationship” with their history and past culture? Based on this curiosity, Sacred Bridge initiated an action research program in Trowulan in 2011. The objective was to find out why the interrelationship is not there, and to seek whether reconnecting the people in Trowulan with their history and past culture is possible. If not, then what should be done? The research finished the field assessment in December 2011, and just completed the analysis on September, 2012. Field clinic is scheduled to start in February, 2013.
A Struggle in the Crossroads - Bali is well known to the world, for its natural and cultural beauty. It is one of the most favorable tourist destinations in the world. Many are very much familiar with the beautiful beaches and dynamic Balinese performing arts, but perhaps only a few know Bali Aga, the native community of Bali. They are Hindus, but worship different gods, and are casteless. Today there are only three Bali Aga villages in Bali, and one of them is Tenganan. When the government determined tourism as one of the main engines in its economic development program, Bali was immediately positioned at the forefront. Most areas in Bali with tourist potential were developed and promoted including Tenganan. Tourism itself is never meant to harm anything, but its practices often focus only on the commercial benefit, and ignore other equally or more important aspects. This brings consequences that are not easy to tackle, especially when no one feels responsible. Tenganan is a one-thousand year old village, and it is painstaking to watch how the long history of culture is helplessly imposed by outside forces. Being open to the outside world has its prices; if we had no idea what the prices were, we would be in deep trouble. With the intention to assist the Tenganan people in dealing with this situation, Sacred Bridge set out another action research initiative. The research started last May, 2022, with field assessment. Ritual ceremonies, Gringsing fabric, Sanskrit scripture, and Selonding music being the focus of this research. The deliverability of this action will be a plausible model for the Tenganan people in facing uncertainties in the new reality.
A cross-cultural clinic utilising arts as the vehicle to improve the disciplines of understanding, tolerance and respect within society, 2013 - 2015.
In arts practice, diversity boils down to the interrelationship between the global materials, along with their influences, and local resources; we call this interaction glocality (thinking globally and acting locally). How people treat and comprehend local and/or foreign materials determines the level of human enrichment between two parties.
Being aware of the importance of mutual understanding, tolerance, and respect is a good start in cultivating diversity, but unfortunately, it is not enough. These three basic elements should be intrinsic to our daily thoughts and behaviors.
Intra and Inter Arts of Asia Clinic Diversity has become a daily vocabulary in society. The world itself, as frequently said, is a diverse place. Such diversity is often stated as a blessing or anything that projects positive connotations, but have we comprehended its true meaning? Seeing what has continued to take place (racism, civil war, terrorism, genocide, economic domination, etc.) around the world, the level of our comprehension is still under par. In arts practice, diversity boils down to the interrelationship between the global materials, along with their influences, and local resources; we call this interaction as glocality. How people treat and comprehend local and/or foreign materials determines the level of the mutual enrichment between the two. Being aware of the importance of mutual understanding, tolerance, and respect is a good start in cultivating diversity, but unfortunately is not enough. These three basic elements should be intrinsic to our daily thoughts and behaviors. For this reason, Sacred Bridge initiated a cross-cultural clinic utilizing arts as the vehicle to improve the practice of understanding, tolerance and respect within the society. This program was launched in January, 2013; it was designed as a midrange activity that ran for two years.