The Light in Winter festival sparks international collaboration

Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre has partnered with Melbourne’s Cake Industries to create Anachron for The Light in Winter festival.
The Light in Winter festival sparks international collaboration

Papermoon Puppet Theatre's Maria Tri Sulistyani and Iwan Effendi. Image courtesy of Federation Square.

Melbourne media artists Cake Industries have teamed up with Indonesian puppetry theatre Papermoon at this year’s Light in Winter (LIW) festival in an exciting international cross-cultural collaboration.

Co-commissioned by City of Melbourne through the Arts Participation program, Anachron will be presented as combination of handmade puppetry and electromechanical theatre, to be realised as three shrines located across Federation Square during the course of the festival.

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Dean Petersen and Jesse Stevens from Cake Industries had just finished working on an earlier collaboration with Papermoon Puppet Theatre’s Maria Tri Sulistyani when the LIW festival team proposed the two companies join forces again.

‘We love their work and thought it would be a very interesting collaboration to work together - what we’ve come up with is what we call Anachron,’ said Petersen.

During early development stages, the artists met with various cultural and community groups across Melbourne where the concept of “shrines” emerged as a key theme that later became the driving force behind the piece.

‘What we were looking for as artists was a common thread  - something that we could attach to in terms of our practice, to find something that would be an interesting way of stitching together various ideas,’ said Petersen.

‘Time was a fairly important factor in what people were considering when they thought about what’s important to their community and also what’s important in their various religions or cultures.’

‘That’s when we came up with an idea of stitching past, present and future into three separate shrines that had three separate ideas of time,’ he said.

Sulistyani said the collaboration had allowed her to combine the more traditional methods of manual puppet making at Papermoon, with the technologically inspired robotics of Cake Industries.

‘As artists we bring objects to life - and that is what is happening with Cake Industries - they make objects come to life and I think the basic technology is what we have been able to share together,’ she said.

Sulistyani hopes that the enthusiasm of the communities involved with creating Anachron would also carry over to visitors of the festival. ‘We hope that we can give space for people in Federation Square – because it’s very busy – to stop, to stand and look at our works, because there are lot of little details in the work. It’s not just a lighting installation. There are so many tiny details in each shrine. I’d love for people to be there, to take their time, to look at a shrine in the way they’re supposed to be looked at.’

Anachron by Cake Industries and Papermoon Puppet Theatre opens 13 June and runs nightly from 5:30pm at St Paul’s Court.

The Light in Winter 2014 is a free, three-week festival celebration of art, light and enlightenment.

For more information, visit The Light in Winter website.

Troy Nankervis

Monday 26 May, 2014

About the author

Troy Nankervis is an ArtsHub journalist from Melbourne. Follow him on twitter @troynankervis