Tensions, conflicts and wars are always present in our lives. The scale and intensity may vary from time to time, but even the lightest tension could grow into a major conflict or even war as evident many times throughout our history. As much as everyone wants and promotes peace, war is still very much a latent threat to humankind. Why? Well, humans are still, by nature, territorial beings; when the territory is perceivably threatening, response is taken in many different and sometimes irrational ways. The territory itself is not just physical, but also in abstract forms like science, economy, technology, ideology, etc. In these abstract territories, domination and dependency “co-exist”; the disproportional weight between these two has been the fundamental reason behind the tensions, conflicts and wars among us. Identifying this key cause of the matter is the first important step, but it needs to be followed by actions and perseverance by all. When political and economic dialogues seem to have failed the world so far, we should return to the very fabric of humankind: culture. Culture is a much more neutral zone to accommodate mutual understanding and respect; therefore, cultural dialogue should be put at the forefront of transforming the disproportional weight between domination and dependency into mutual enrichment.
This series is intended for improving the level of understanding, respect and appreciation among individuals, groups, and communities coming from different backgrounds and generations. Delivery format of this program varies depending on the issue to be addressed. So far, the program has been delivered in the forms of seminars, group discussions, sharing forums, and music clinics. Conscience in Harmony was an interfaith music clinic involving 6 ritual music groups of different religions or beliefs: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucism, Hindu (of Tengger), Islam, and Sunda Wiwitan. This program was triggered by our concern over the escalating disputes among the stakeholders of Borobudur Temple at the end of 2001. The clinic was a part of the main program entitled “Restoring the Significance of Borobudur Temple”. At the end of the clinic, all groups performed collaboratively at the Temple before the public audience. The clinic’s primary aims were to help easing the disputes, and to promote differences and diversity as sources of enrichment, not tensions and conflicts. The program was carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Culture & Tourism, and UNESCO. At a later time, Sacred Bridge organized another interfaith music clinic and discussion entitled Music in the Eyes of Religions that involved religious scholars along with three ritual music groups representing Catholics, Hinduism and Islam. This event took place at Paramadina University, Jakarta in 2006. Suicide Bombing in the Eyes of Religions was another interfaith program intended for confronting the bombing attacks that happened in many countries, including Indonesia. Participants in this discussion forum consisted of a former bomb maker, religious authorities and scholars, and university students.
This discussion was carried out in partnership with Pusat Studi Islam dan Kenegaraan (PSIK) or Center of Islamic and State Governance Studies, organized also at Paramadina University, Jakarta in 2009. In addition to the interfaith program series, Sacred Bridge also organized interdisciplinary discussion forums. Responding to earthquakes that shook many areas in Indonesia and devastated many lives, Sacred Bridge raised the issue to elevate the public’s knowledge on natural disasters (and the mitigation) by presenting a discussion entitled Natural Disasters in the Eyes of Culture, Religions, Science, and Economics. The speakers were Iwan Tjitradaja (Anthropologist at the University of Indonesia), Bambang Brodjonegoro (Economist at the University of Indonesia), Budhy Munawar (Islamic Scholar and Researcher), and I Putu Puja (Volcanologist of Climatology, Meteorology and Geophysics Agency). In April 2012, another interdisciplinary forum entitled Interaction Network was launched. Its main objective was to encourage better acquaintanceship, sharing of knowledge and problems, and cooperation among individuals and groups who have been involved in Sacred Bridge. Participants were coming from myriad fields covering Anthropology, Archaeology, Arts, Corporate Business, Education, Ethnomusicology, Psychology, Tourism, Visual Communication, etc.
Sacred Rhythm Festival
A series of roots music events that are intended for global friendship; it involves masters of different musical genres from different corners of the world. The first festival was initiated in 1999 in Bali, Indonesia at the turn of the millennium. The festival was recognized as the United Nation’s event to officiate the year 2000 as the International Year for the Culture of Peace, and it involved 1,000 Indonesian and 100 international percussionists. This festival series is a non-commercial event designed not only to safeguard dialogue as the primary means in settling differences through music, but also to reposition music as a cultural manifestation, not a mere commodity. It is also a program that re-educates the public about the importance of the roles, functions and meanings of music in human life. Sacred Rhythm: the Millennial Percussion Festival took place from December 31, 1999 to January 3, 2000 at the Penataran Sasih and Samuan Tiga temples. It was the first public musical event allowed to be presented at these two of the most sacred temples in Bali. The event was officially opened by Noriko Aikawa (Director of Intangible Heritage) on behalf of the Director General of UNESCO. Sacred Rhythm: the Millennium Revival was staged at the Kyoto City Hall plaza on the New Year’s evening on December 31, 2000. The artists’ lineups were Japan’s National Treasure virtuosos, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, and 200 Taiko Masters from all over Japan. The event’s theme was revitalization, and it was symbolized by lighting up fires on seven mountain tops that surround the city. The Festival drew 800,000 spectators. The next two following Festivals: Sacred Rhythm: Interweaving through Musical Cultures (2002) and Sacred Rhythm: Friendship beyond Borders (2004) were staged at the prestigious World Heritage Site, Nijo Castle, also in Kyoto, Japan. At the time, it was again the first performing art event ever permitted to be presented there. The 2002 Festival promoted and encouraged the integration of traditional, modern and contemporary cultures through collaborative works among the participating traditional, modern and contemporary musicians from several countries. The 2004 Festival was a peace-building initiative for countries in conflict and at war. Participating musicians were coming from Ireland, UK, Iraq, United States, Israel, Palestine, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Australia – countries known for their long or occasional disputes. The artists’ lineups were filled with world-renowned musicians, and among them are Nana Vasconcelos, Larry Coryell, Vikku Vinayakram, Amy Knoles, Kabul Ensemble, Leonard Eto, Maire Ni Chathashaigh, and of course Stomu Yamash’ta. The event was supported by the Kyoto City, and Kyoto Buddhist Society.
The reborn unison of Art, Science and Conscience on the ground of field works in musical discovery, established 2018 - present.
In response to humankind’s struggles from the fractured and anxious society caused by dominating forces of the global economy of ‘self interest’, the advancement of technology, and most recently the coronavirus pandemic and its sociopolitical ramifications. The Reborn musical experience extracts the very core element of basic human values ‘Trust’. Sharing across differences, establishing co-creation across cultures, and the obtainable treasure of mutual understanding, respect and truthful knowledge, which are holistic necessities across the arts, science and conscience..
Sacred Bridge is re-initiating a cultural movement – Sacred Rhythm: Reborn Unison (SRRU).
The idea behind the movement originates from the intention of harmonising areas which have afflicted humankind since its early awakenings. The movement is a continuation and an expansion of the first initiative known as Sacred Rhythm: Millennial Percussion Festival, which was held in Bali 20 years ago at the turn of the Millennium. The movement itself will provide bridges of cultural expression among the traditional, modern and contemporary societies, and serves as a platform to discover a new form of art, particularly music, that corresponds to the context of the 21st century through the triangulation of arts, science and conscience (spirituality). In order to ensure the vision materializes and receives widespread recognition, SRRU divided the process and evaluation into 4 stages within 10 years of projection; recognizing, rediscovering, rediscovering the triangulation, and finally, spreading the rediscovery worldwide. Each stage will consist of a series of mini events such as seminars, discussions, workshops, clinics, and presentations (performances and exhibitions) where it will conclude with a festival (including all of the mini events).
We see artistic development as a cultural movement that goes beyond national and social boundaries. The initiative is an essential vehicle to further develop our vision and aim. Together we can open the door to create global friendships, convincing musicians, industrialists and audiences that art is all about integration: The sounds and rhythms, spiritual pursuits and economic motivations, radiation and modernisation, local and international expertise, and of course individual and institutional development.
The Intra-Chromatic (IC) project arose from the ongoing cultural exchange between Indonesia (more specifically Nusa Tenggara Barat [NTB]) and Sweden, as a means of enhancing mutual understanding, nurturing capacity building, sharing similarities and mutually enriching differences between the two contrasting cultures. So how can this be achieved?
The harmony in Chromatic principle, which brings alignment across difference, is a term drawn from music, Polyphony, bringing two or more separate themes together into an overall harmony - this can manifest itself in real life harmony where we mutually cooperate and collaborate through “Polyphonic Co-Creation”. The ‘Harmony’ tests its support for human values of sharing and caring rather than self-interest as well as cohesion and cooperation in the social world, whereas The ‘Chromatic’ is a mirror of diverse cultural themes that set the pattern for experience.
Since the advent of the novel Coronavirus Pandemic, not only has the calamity escalated the tensions of our contemporary challenges for societies across the world, but subsequent lockdowns have meant a prolonged period of reflection has been necessary to address the particular needs of our time. It would mean that various observations would have to be explored in a creative and imaginative manner, rather than relying solely on critical thinking and theoretical contexts. Instead, it would return to the strength that resides in our humanity and its universal quest beyond the everyday world—though expressed in many forms and doctrines - to our ultimate source of meaning, commitment and strength—our collective spirituality (conscience).
In response to this, The Sacred Bridge Foundation proposes a capability enhancement project for artists and industrialists; namely, Intra-Chromatic, developing a comfort zone to enable dialogue and structural interrelations with respect to the development of roots arts for Indonesia and Sweden’s respective creative markets. Inter-cultural/professional/generational as well as cross-genre transmissions will be encouraged in the form of clinics to discuss and create intra-art projects. The interactions between artists, academicians, and all industry professionals involved will be enhanced by mutual understanding rather than being driven by a set of industry standard rules or regulations. Enrichment in cultural understanding, profession, traditions and genres will be applied whilst maintaining the inter-cultural collaboration between all participants. This vital part of the project will create and produce/reproduce artistic work that is rooted in both Indonesia and Sweden (Swedonesia!). Reproduction and Production are manifested in the form of collaborative performance, dialogue, and audio-visual documentation that also serve to evaluate the project.