Tuesday, 26 January 2010

evening view from roof terrace

What an incredible and incredibly busy week last week was. In the best possible way. This the first week in our new little house in Bandung, during which we also adopted a little cat (called 'Jelek', ugly, by the previous owner as it was so ill and horrible looking, but very cute by now)... ... ... and 3 interesting events occurred in Bandung last week...

Institut Teknolologi Bandung (ITB), as the dean himself said to me, is 'the most prestigious university in Indonesia' and internationally acclaimed. But almost more important for myself was the beautifully spacious campus with many huge leafy trees and the eager but laid-back vibes it sent out. I had a meeting with staff from the Faculty of Arts and Crafts, did a little ppt about me, myself and I (skills, interests, experience etc etc) which was basically a job interview; apparently this informal and indirect approach is typical of the Asian way. Glad to have prepared well, I had some fruitful exchanges and I will be involved there in the new term in one way or another. To be continued and confirmed.

ITB main campus

Now this is interesting: while researching ITB, I came across jBatik, Fractal Batik, created by Pixel People Project. They have won several awards, including the ICT Asia Pacific award and the UNESCO award of excellence. I have already been researching batik quite a bit but had come across nothing this innovative or original. One of the lecturers who attended my presentation happened to be part of that project and he told me that there were mixed reactions to fractal batik, many people feared that traditional batik would be undermined and the skills lost, others find digitalisation a natural progression also in batik. I replied that I was surprised to have not found any more experimental, new approaches to traditional Indonesian fabrics. This is really thinking outside the box, incorporating modern technology and does not stand in competition to traditional Batik; if anything it makes it more appealing! Read about it here. Batik was nominated a UNESCO world heritage last year. Especially since then but in the last 5 years, batik has turned into a bit of a hype here; hence my surprise how conventional most of it still is and my joy upon discovering Fractal Batik.

So, what is it? "jBatik is an open source software, custom developed to design Batik Fractal. This Java based program can be found in website www.pxlpplproject.com for user can have first hand experience to generate graphics by writing fractal formula based on L-Systems. User can also copy the formula provided in Galleries, manipulating the formula, iterations or angles of the fractal to produce various results. End results can be saved in png format for further development." taken from their website, more info there.

And for your reference, traditional batik can look a little something like this (this is a humble selection, there are endlessly many styles and patterns):

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Takk, love

click here to play mix

This Breezeblock with Björk bootleg is something I just have to share. She is incredible and so are these tracks. No idea when it’s from btw but it don’t really matter I don’t recon. And this one isn’t even the epic one! That will be used for real emergencies or celebrations.

I received this among lots of gigs worth of mind blowing music from my boyfriend’s brother who a DJ in Zurich (‘Being Ed’). What’s better than receiving the whole digital backlog (no doubt his repertoire of vinyl well exceeds this) of a DJ who is on your music wavelength?! Anyway, while getting nervous preparing a presentation, this is getting me through.

First track is in fact my favourite Björk track (and ah, amazing live!) and at plusminus 1:35 she chooses a track played by Indonesian instruments, which is a nice coincidence as I am now living in Indonesia and at 1:47 one of my favourite ‘I am not a gun’ track is played. And all the stuff introduced in Björk’s voice/accent has got me through the day’s work. Björk lifesaver.