Sat, 18 Mar 2000

On JIPAF 2000

I read your report on JIPAF 2000 What a performance! Challenging nights at TUK, The Jakarta Post, March 11, and it help us, the viewers, to understand a little more about what we have seen in Teater Utan Kayu (TUK). Some performances are understandable but many are not, as perhaps they are too personal for the artists.

Anyway, one artist I like very much is Ma Liu Ming from China. He was very successful in "moving" the audience's creativity. Just look at them posing with him while he was just sitting, playing dead. I had a nice conversation with him before his performance, and I would like to point out some missing details not covered by your reporter:

1. In his performances (especially this one), Ma told me that the title is Fen-Ma Liu Ming. The word fen means something like nurturing the lamb.

2. Yes, it's true that he has performed it in many countries, including China. When we were talking about it, a female reporter of an Arts Magazine from Quebec joined us. She and Ma had known each other since his performance in Canada. She even showed me an edition of her magazine in which there was an article about Ma.

It was said that when Ma performed Fen-Ma Liu Ming in Beijing a couple of years ago, he was arrested by the police on performing "provocative art" in public. In fact it was not in public, but for a limited society of artists. It was against the law, and they put him in prison for two months. That made him famous and many performance artists invited him to do that again, and again, in 14 countries in all. Ma himself confirmed the article and it seemed he enjoyed the time he was behind bars. So I guess Mr. Rudy Madanir missed this.

About Ma's look. Would it be more appropriate than the term hermaphrodite? Because it is just about the look not about sex. Well, in fashion terms, the word androgyny means something that has the look of both sexes. It has male and female in one. When Ma sits still, it's hard to say whether the person is male or female, but one can say without doubt that the person is male when he walks. But the look? He is special because his face (only his face) has both female and male characteristics. On the other hand, the word hermaphrodite is about sex (i.e. genitalia).

Well, it was a nice report anyway.


Tangerang, West Java