thoughts// few minutes random thoughts

(Funny how when you start thinking 'random thought', you start making a list of all these not-so-random thoughts, trying to make sense of it all. I guess capturing thoughts, in a way, is just like capturing those photographs under a decisive moment. Ah, decisive moments-- there is this photography discussion I need to attend on Tuesday, I guess.. and there is this movie date plan at the same day, or was it on different week? I forgot. I need to check on my schedule. But why does life get so scheduled recently? Maybe that is how I lose myself. Maybe that is how life starts to be a continuous series of to-do-lists and ....there, again! I lost the word. It just flew by and I didn't capture it at the right time. I want to write a note to capture passed moment, but I have too many things I want to write and end up not writing it. Ah. At least the writing jobs are done and sent tho.. now I have time to leisure-write and read for pleasure. The best! At the moment I am re-reading Hemingway's Movable Feast. It gets better anytime I re-read it. It also feels more alive. Like I can see the scene and walk down these Paris street meeting all these famous friends. How could most of his friend seem to be so famous, I wonder. Maybe that's the thing with the lost generation-- they are all famous in a way. But what happen to the less famous ones in the group then? It took me awhile to read now. I used to read really fast, like, finishing one book in few hours. Now it took me few days or even weeks to finish a book. I guess I am more of a slow reader now, digesting each phrases in a more contemplative way. Sometime I re-read a beautiful passage and write it down in my diary. It breaks my heart to finish a good book-- like saying goodbye to a friend, knowing it will take a few years before we will reunite. Take this Moveable Feast for example. I bought it in 2011 on my first trip abroad with Dito before we get married, I guess. It was 4 years ago and I only got the privilege to reread the book now. It has also been awhile since the last time I reread Little Prince. It was almost like an annual ritual for me to read Little Prince. Every year, I find a new meaning of it. It's almost like a prophecy. Like telling me a lesson of life I failed to see and reminding me to embrace that side that is drifting away from me now. I feel like I am growing up-- maturing faster than I want. Yet, in a way or another, I am a late bloomer. I should've matured years ago and that book reminded me to slow down. I guess I've been moving pretty fast these past few years, missing several moments I might need to capture, and just like that-- I'm drifting away and realize it was still not fast enough. I have been spending the past two months losing control over myself, making a weekly trip to the hospital, taking more blood test in a month than I have ever been in years, and was lost in the uncertainty of things I don't understand. It might also be a reminder to actually slow down, tho. But I took my chance. Two months is more than enough. Taking a break can actually be exhausting-- my mind will start questioning the purpose of it and compulsively play the comparison game. That game is evil-- it's consuming you from the inside. In that case, I might need a mind detox too. Yesterday we went to see a theater show and at the end of it, my heart was broken into tiny little pieces and my mind was heavy with all these things-- the minimalist setting that somehow give me a haunting cinematic vision of the show, dark humors that makes me cried a little for laughing so much, the sublime dance of one of my favorite actress, and most of all, the beautiful phrases that gives me a pinch right into that part of my heart that I almost forgot it existed. Dito and I were both heartbroken after the show and our mind busy, our conversation ongoing-- so we decided to take a long almost-midnight drive around the city just to ease our mind from that pain and just talk. You know, that kind of pain that is cultivated for artistic reasons-- it's like getting high on a strange beautiful drug. I feel like I need the most banal of all junkfood afterward-- that overrated minions ice cream and classic fries, to take me back on the ground. 

Last week, we went back to the doctor and for the very first time, we saw him getting very happy and excited to see the latest result of my test. Like a proud father responding to an achievement his daughter showed him. I miss my father so much, btw. It’s been 10 years since we lost him and yesterday was father’s day. The internet was full of videos and feeds that make me weep. Anyway, the doctor, at one moment, I thought he was going to give me high-five and dance in the room. He used to always be so strict and serious and frustrated to see my previous results; making me feel like a bad student in front of the school principal.. ashamed, but not knowing what to do-- I did my best tho. Eat better, work hard and then take a once in awhile bedrest, exercise, take supplements. But still, it was like a student who studies really hard and still get bad grades on the final exam. But that is only until that day, I finally feel much better with that strange excited smile from the doctor. Everyone in the room was very relieved. I can now get a grip and start taking control over my life once again. I still get those pills that's giving me strange vivid dreams but less frequently now. I need to get a grip, and start living free once again. Freedom, was also a funny thing. When I first decided to stop being a 9to5 working person, I thought I opt for freedom. I didn't get the memo that I was actually jumping into a circle of not-so-free utopic freedom. Yes, I am not bounded by a strict working hour in some lousy office but I am bounded by my own targets, and to do lists, and it also means working almost non-stop. You have the freedom to choose when to stop and when to keep on working but at times, there is no privilege to do that—not yet. And when grown up things happen-- like, having to pay car taxes, services, weekly visit to the lab, employee's salary, birthday gifts, and the household bills that all at the same time sum up at a total that could hypothetically buy me a return ticket to Japan-- I question my freedom. Was this the freedom that I aimed few years ago when I took the leap out of the office life? It gives me more and more questions about life and the choices I made. It made me frustrated and I wish I could just take a leap and go somewhere to forget about it for awhile, get some space, and rearrange my life. I am now in a process of doing just that. Which reminds me, this year is probably the only year in the past 4 years when I am not leaving town during Ramadan. I have been not fasting for almost 4 years now because I was always somewhere far on a trip.. but not this year. It makes me sad in a way knowing that I am not going anywhere-- and I just find out that I am this kind of person who get a bit stressed out to stay in one place and not going anywhere. But, at the same time, I'm glad I have time to fix things up, concentrate on Lir, take a well-deserved rest, maybe I get to impulsively go to some place with a view every once in awhile, and I can do fasting too, which is a bonus point. I don't use to eat alone, and especially not during sahur but my husband doesn't do sahur so I got to drag myself  to actually take a bite of something nutritious in the cold wee hours of the morning. Usually I need to arrange my food in a way that it looks neat and tidy and delicious and photographable so I have a liiitle bit of motivation to eat it. It's worse when I'm at Lir but once I'm home, I can always go to my mom’s and eat together. I need to conquer my fear of eating alone tho. Taking myself on a date, maybe? It might actually give me a new sense of confidence-- which I guess I am lack of now. When do my mind start being like this? I used to be all dreamy and stuff. Culture, I guess, in one way or another-- does make you sour. Like yoghurt. If I was writing this random text few years ago, I'm pretty sure there will be thoughts of the deep blue sky, open road, bright sunlight and long shade of the trees, the smell of the ocean, an impulsive trip to the mountain side with the 'salem' trees, and all that without thinking about the gasoline. I guess that is what a grown up mind like-- they call it responsibility. I don’t mind for as long as I don’t turn into an angry grown up—I know some of them in the society and read their angry thoughts online here and there. They scared me. 

Could it possibly true that there is a cost for freedom or is there such thing as absolute freedom? Now I want to read more books. I want to read more beautiful book, and walk down the forest too. I haven't tried using the electricity plug in the middle of the garden in Joglo. I need to try it one day. It must be pretty strange to plug the electricity to what seem to be a tree, having picnic while actually writing an article. That might be fun, and still responsible-- if, I can actually write and not getting too distracted with the birds and the trees and the blue sky: this is a more possible scenario. Or I can do those paper works-- I am a pretty analog person when it comes to thoughts and ideas. I need to create a 'blueprint' of it and scribble it down the paper before actually making sense of it. I have one long essay to finish, but for now, I just want to read and read and read. I don't read enough anymore-- my words doesn't have the quality of a storyteller like I hope it should be. I start missing my day as the picnic girl-- self-assured, carefree, impulsive, dreamy, and all that. I need to start taking care of myself too-- that will make me feel better. I don’t even have new portrait and it makes me feel a bit dull. Confidence is a big issue now, since I'm drifted away from my self control. Both need to be regained, fight for. Knowledge, I guess, at the same time, can lessen your freedom and confidence. I keep on questioning myself all over again, having a self-doubt that needs to be solved and consulted to a good conversation, or a book. I feel hungrier. It's like a vicious never-ending cycle. I enjoy it tho, being hungry and clueless—it almost like starting an adventure or a quest to learn and find out about one thing or another; and then you dig deep down, searching for some answers that lead only to more questions, like playing a big endless puzzle. Sometime it can also gets too tiring. I wish I was still like a brave young Alice jumping into the rabbit hole without thinking twice. Sometime, I wish I am more of this simple lady leading a normal simple life, not thinking too much about this and that, not bothered easily by what I observe. I guess there can be a balance between a carefree attitude, curiosity, and responsibility. But, how? Let's now do something for pleasure without thinking twice and thinking what for. Let's now take a leap and go on an impulsive trip without questioning where to go. Let's do things we used to do and just enjoy the moment. Let’s take a long drive and get lost in a never-ending conversation. Let's now enjoy the crisp peppermint wind, the deep blue sky, and that glorious sunsets and just daydream-- thinking of some random thoughts and cultivating the artistic pain. Shall we? It's that time of the year. But first, I guess I need to take a nap.)


thought // these questions

(how much space you need when you say that you needed a space? where will you go to distance yourself from the world? if there is only one person you can choose to drink tea and talk right now, who will it be? does continuous social encounter drain you too? how do you survive and balance yourself.. or, are you barely surviving? have you asked yourself lately, 'am I being objective in judging that'? what frighten you? what is stopping you from doing things you are supposed to be doing right now.. or, are you too busy doing what you are supposed to do and forget the essentials? is there any such thing as 'thing you are supposed to do' and 'the essentials'? are you living your dream or have you given it up long long time ago? if it was your dream you are living, do you enjoy it? do you work hard enough? is there any place you'd rather be right now? are you contented with your life? do you reward yourself enough before asking 'what's next'? 

when this all passed, can we take a long walk down a beautiful old neighborhood and get lost in these questions only to rediscover ourselves? do you think it will worth the trip and the time? is it possible that life, is actually much more simpler than all those thoughts?)


thought // the girls were our twins

 (self-portrait by Anna)

“We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together. We knew that the girls were our twins, that we all existed in space like animals with identical skins, and that they knew everything about us though we couldn’t fathom them at all. We knew, finally, that the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them.” || Jeffrey Eugenides ||


(at the moment, I am preparing two solo exhibitions of two talented ladies. I don't curate 'woman artist' as much as I wanted to but I personally don't believe in that term: 'woman artist'. An artist is an artist; just like a good work is a good work, no matter what or who make them. Just like a feminist isn't always supposed to be manly, there are girly modern girl living a life in equality. Maybe, let's rephrase that sentence once again: I didn't work with enough woman as much as I wanted to. 

these first three months of 2015 has been pretty intense for me. As the Exhibition Laboratory project started, it means four solo exhibitions to prepare in one project; followed by this two upcoming solos I'm working on at the moment sums up into six consecutive solo exhibitions in three months. And again, for me, a solo exhibition is a solo exhibition-- no matter how big or small it is. The intensity, the intimacy shared between the artist and me, and the energy spent for each artist is pretty much the same. This first three months is a test to my limit, while I am preparing another test for the last three months of this year-- more consecutive series of solo exhibitions, big ones, out of my comfort zone. The rest of the year, I'll just be very hungry. Be hungry enough to consume things in sight, digests the thoughts, explore, read, learn, and dance through life. 

as for this upcoming exhibitions, there are two girls, both living in their world upon the cloud, willing to share a glimpse of the mystery of it. Not my usual kind of conceptually-driven projects but more of a feel-good projects which is very fun and refreshing to do. Boy's mind can be a fun reading, but a girl's mind has a certain complexity that even other girls find it intriguing to read-- yet, we understand them; we feel them. And it is somehow liberating to think alike and squeal at the same delights, sigh for the same quirkiness, and share each other's mind through literature written by woman. The girls were our twins.)


go // darwin

(Last year, I went down under once again after that solo trip to Sydney. This time-- I went with Dito. Four months passed and I had no chance to actually reflects on it nor write anything about it. At the moment, Dito and I are having a mini break doing staycation with our baby rabbit, Ubi. I can not think of any better time to write. So, lets start with Darwin..)


Oh, Darwin.. Darwin.. Darwin! I didn't expect anything at all before I arrived. I've heard about the enormous crocodiles stories and Mars-like landscapes but I was invited there to give a talk and attend an art summit. In my mind, the five days I'd spend there would be all about work, two days of nine-hours conference, networking drinks afterwards, and just a bit of getaway each now and then. I was wrong.

Darwin was like an unexpected soirée: it was full of conversations and good drinks. The first night we arrived, there was a familiar yet extremely strange sense in the air. The city was unusually still and quiet. The first strangeness we felt was how dark it is as a city in a first-world country. And yet, there is a lovable quirkiness about it. As soon as the light shine on it, I know that we are in the Wonderful World of Oz. The light shines in a way that enhance the colors of the land and everything on it. The weather was hot and dry, it almost reminds me of Bali, only quirkier. The soil was red, the dessert and the creek was just few minutes away from the housing area, the water was dark turquoise, and the sky was deep blue. Just when I thought that the land was intense enough-- there was the animal! I never saw so many kind of birds in one area, sharing space with human. Not to mention the infamous gigantic crocodile known to roam the seaside, sharks and deadly jellyfish in that turquoise water, the green ants living inside the leaves, and all that is strangely wonderful. It is also very close to the many tribes of indigenous people, And above all, the Darwinians has a special place in our heart.

Dito and I; we spend the morning cycling to the seaside, looking for black parrot and find many surprises. The talk at the consulate was especially uplifting for us and we make many new friends (and many bottles of wine) on the process. During the summit, we sneaked a bit to the seaside, sit in the park for hours, having more Archie Moore moments, exploring the museum, went to the Saturday market just to get addicted to the yummiest inari sushi, had breakfast with sesame toast and rose-petal jam (both inari sushi and rose-petal jam become a continued story at our next destination-- I was obsessed), went to the botanical garden, took a detour around the peninsula, and all the leisurely days spent with the friendliest people. Some of my favorite moments are to find Maurice, our host, reminded us of our good friend, Malcolm, in so many good ways. It makes us love him even more. And all the talks we had with the charming David and extraordinary Matty (who understand the wine and the drinks better than anyone else). I love love love all the mundane detail in Amina's house and how sweet she is in so many ways. How we bonded through a couple of frogs named Cat and Dog that live in the toilet. All the strange wild-life voices outside our bedroom that makes it feels like we are camping in a wood (and I'm loving the idea). That time when we crash into someone's birthday party by a big jellyfish statue at the seaside, drinking and talking about life while looking at the distance city light. That one was started out weird and ended up magical.

And at the end of our short visit, they organize a small farewell picnic involving dumplings, dry martini on fancy glass, hermit crabs walking silently around our rugs, and one dish I will always remember: boiled asparagus and  halloumi cheese. From my experience, what people say about the food in Darwin's restaurants being so-so and overpriced are probably true. Yet, the Darwinians know how to make up for that and serve really good home-cooked meal! Arriving with no idea of Darwin, we leave with good memories of all the delicious simple foods and aching heart of having to say goodbye to our new friends (who reminds me so much of our gank back home). The night when we have to say goodbye and fly to Melbourne, of course, as a major weeper as myself.. I weep and weep and weep. After five days spent in a city with good vibe, good friend, and good view.. I remember what Pooh said: "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard". 


eat. go. do // jogja



(It took me awhile to actually write this eat-go-do list of Jogja. Five years ago, it would be very easy for me to name all the hidden seaside and point a destination to go on the next impulsive road trip. Now that Jogja become a routine, a place where I work, and life is not a series of aimless stroll anymore; the spark I once had with this city is somehow fading away. It is sad, and I know that one day I need to give it a second chance. I am still enjoying my occasional walk down the neighborhood around Lir or Hong but not so much on the adventure around the faraway corner of this city. Maybe it is an effect of growing up but the road and the tourism area seem to be a little bit too crowded. Some secret hideaways get their 15 minutes fame in a blink of an eye and suddenly turned into another money-maker tourism area with bad planning, over publicity, and impediment. I start to be a homebody and enjoy staycation better. Every now and then I love to keep it low and prefer to go to the old underrated places, spend more time reading or hosting a soiree in my home, and keep some secret places as a well-kept secret. Posted below is my eat-go-do list of the not-so-secret places in Jogja. Consider this a local guide of the city and my personal reminder of where to take my visiting friends, mostly to eat. Pardon the lack of information of places to go or things to do..and have fun 'tasting' the city!)

fine dining: 1/ gajah wong (always a good idea in terms of ambiance and food) 2/ plataran (it's not exactly *in* Jogja-- but when you want to feel like going on a resort holiday and chill with a glass of fresh juice and fine dessert for hours while gazing to the romantic Borobudur on the horizon, this is the place) 3/ beaukenhof (one of the secret place I always eager to share) 4/ mediterranean (it's my personal goal to taste each and every non-pizza/pasta menu that they offer-- so far, it's the best fine dining with a very very laid back ambiance. this is also a great place to go for quattro formaggi pizza and beer with friends..)

a piece of 'jakarta' in jogja: 1/ epic (a little bit overpriced but good coffee) 2/ canting (a place to see and to be seen.. it can be very crowded, but just before sunset-- it's a very nice place to hangout) 3/ lokal (where the hip young tourist and also the students go-- good value) 4/ ruang seduh (originally from jakarta with ikea vibe and so-so coffee--- but very photogenic!)

my personal favorite: 1/ kedai kolondjono (loving the bistro vibe, the best organic food, and very good price!) 2/ kopi ketjil (it's humble, simple, and you can get same quality of coffee with half the price of epic's) 3/ via-via (exceptionally touristy but anything you order is always right- plus, they have artisan bakery with 50% discount every night) 

where the local goes: 1/ kkf (where the artscene go, that is.. good food and perfect when you want to meet anyone from the scene) 2/ sabar menanti (scrumptious lineup of javanese food by the highway.. this is where to go for a big satisfying lunch for less than $3) 3/ warung ijo (humble and delicious homecooking) 4/ ikan bakar bu bambang (every once in awhile, I crave for simple bbq fish with fresh vegetable and a perfect sambal-- this is the place for just that!) 5/ lotek colombo (right in front of bu bambang's bbq fish stall is this famous lotek--always crowded with locals but worth to try) 6/ nasi kuning babarsari or nasi kuning ternate (for those early riser who prefer big breakfast.. but when you're too late, kindai's version of nasi kuning is just as good) 7/ ayam tiga berku (sweet tender chicken cooked perfectly with coconut-- be sure to visit before lunchtime to get the complete menu available) 8/ tahu blora bu puji 9/ tahu telupat magelang 10/ studio kopi (grab a $0.5 morning coffee and delicacies before 11am here)

culinary adventure: 1/ sego nggeneng (the real mangut lele asap served in its authentic exotic kitchen) 2/ mangut lele bu is (the mangut lele is ok, but they serve one of a kind stir fry chilli and caramelized cassava-- my favorite!) 3/ sambel welut (for those who loves spicy or tasteful food that leaves a clean palate) 4/ jimbaran (it's the 'gajah wong' to all bbq fish in town: a little bit pricey but always perfect) 5/ mang engking (for a holiday vibe with family or friend-- the honey prawn is just superb!) 6/ kepiting cak gundul (splurge a little on the best crab in town) 7/ sapi bali (the best ribs!) 8/ sate klathak (the one in the middle of the traditional market-- not only the satay, even the tea is brewed differently and taste real good!) 9/ bebek bacem prambanan (a classic, exceptionally tender fried duck) 10/ bebek goreng chichi (underrated but good) 11/ tio ciu (family favorite) 12/ brongkos warung ijo (for the meat lovers out there) 13/ sate podomoro and sate ayam pak kromo (another heating debate is still going on to decide which one is better between these two.. I myself am a podomoro team) 14/ es murni 86 (oh so good and old fashioned) 13/ pasar pathuk (ranged between local traditional delicacies to the yummiest noodle, famous grilled chicken, and many more)

for the sweet tooth: 1/ loka-loka (delicious cakes and waffles-- but their salmon quiche is exceptionally good too!) 2/ bake a boo (the best cupcake in town!-- now only available at Kunena) 3/ aroma kasongan (the best carrot cake in town) 4/ serafin (not loving the place but they do have the best cake) 5/ pasta gio (still the best chocolate cake) 6/ cono gelato (the best gelato amidst the gelato invasion in town) 7/ havermelkoek (for a girls' dayout and delicious set of dark cherry pie with ice cream) 

Jogja is full of beautiful tourism destination: 1/ be it the hidden or not-so hidden beach around Gunung Kidul area 2/ the beautiful place with a view like nglanggeran, candi boko, or candi abang 3/ the photogenic pine forest in mangunan 4/ the 15-min fame instagram-trendy places like kalibiru or blue lagoon (be sure to come early before all the instagram #livefolk #liveauthentic people arrived) 5/ go to kaliurang (see recommendation here) 6/ since I'm afraid of cave, I never try that cave tubing things. but if you're not afraid of going down the unknown darkness of a cave, it might be fun! 7/ just join the arranged trip by the holiday specialist: www.liburanjogja.com who is far more well-versed than me in this field (and happen to be my brother in-law..lol!)

1/ gallery hopping (grab an art map and feel the dynamic pulse of contemporary art in jogja) 2/ studio visit (during major art events, some initiatives or artists will open their door for a studio visit-- it can be exceptionally inspiring to take a peep into the place where all the creative ideas begin) 3/ join the organic and healthy life scene (go to Milas, bumi langit institute, or check the schedule for the organic market in kamisan or lettuce or other places around the city) 4/ shop for local designer made stuff or antiques in many treasury spots around the city 5/ come and visit me at Lir!


read my other list here:


looking ahead // 2015 // always, surprise yourself!

//quote to remember//
"To learn the path it is important to be sharp yet inconspicuous. When you are sharp, you are not confused by people; when you are inconspicuous, you don’t contend with people. Not being confused by people, you are empty and spiritual; not contending with people, you are serene and subtle" | liao an | 

1/ eat healthier and walk more | 2/ travel, read, write, and learn more | 3/ be better-literate in many aspects in life | 4/ surround myself with kind and positive people | 5/ actually find the perfect place we've been looking for | 6/ start working on my backyard | 7/ I will reward myself a well-deserved break after every hardwork | 8/ keep doing what I do; but do it better | 9/ to always surprise myself every now and then!

(last year, I promised myself to hold back and learn more. I did learn more but I did not hold back for any second. The year just flew by and it was both inspiring and refreshing. At the end of the year, my head was so full-- I feel like I need to stop and process everything. And yet, this new year already start with full speed and even more packed schedule. Apparently, just the way I like it to be. So, instead of wasting my time trying aimlessly to lose weight like every year, this year, I want to just be healthier. Learn more. Start to care less about things that doesn't matter and just keep on moving. Know exactly when to push myself to the limit and when to indulge myself a little well-deserved break. For more concrete plan; this year I should actually find that new space we've been looking for since last year and start working on my backyard. More and more, it's nice to always remember to keep on surprising oneself!)


looking back // 2014 // lir

“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.”

1/ New Project Presentation: Ferial Afif | 2/ Renovation: Art Space B (Lir now has two gallery spaces) | 3/ Lir 3rd Anniversary | 4/ Lir Official Merchandise | 5/ Mural Project by Moki: Lir Animal Space | 6/ Creative Writing Class with Gunawan Maryanto | 7/ Exhibition Laboratory #1 and #2 | 8/ Watercolor drawing workshop with Alfin and Yonaz | 9/ Modular origami workshop with the Mogus | 10/ The Breakfast Club | 11/ Supper Snapshot | 12/ Tell Me a Tale! | 13/ Camouflage: Under Constellation | 14/ Hello Waywolf! | 15/ New Project Presentation: Recollecting Memories of Tukang Foto Keliling | 16/ Folk Afternoon: "in the park", "be neighborly", "with Puti Chitara" | 17/ Walk the Folk #1 | 18/ Idea Club x Post

(now.. now.. never have I felt this guilty for being too inattentive to my baby Lir. Dito and I are still learning to dance in this rhythm of life; stepping awkwardly between his, mine, and what now is ours- Lir. The upcoming half-year is full of exciting plans for Lir, but then again, three of us need to dance our heart out together with the girls as one big family.)