CITY – a representation of hard work, harsh competition, a place where human expose and exploit and being exploited – with all its potentials.
City people live in a time machine. Their movement from one point to the other is measured and defined. There are moments of stillness but alas, it is not for meditation or reflection but merely for rest.
Welcome to the Time Machine!
Sugihartono and Purwanto SPA recorded the urban people phenomenon in their own perspective on canvas, as they are indeed painters who are dealing daily with the urban time, in an exhibition titled TIME MACHINE in Philo Article Space, June 22nd to July 6th.
In essence, time machine is a part of human life. Its significance is made different by those who are bound to it and those who are not, whether consciously or not consciously. Urban people in their routine cannot betray their own being in the time machine. Work as a process is not more valuable than the end or objective. The time machine pushes and shoves people to forget their existence as life’s subject of narration who should have been able to avoid the push and look for their own meaning of being.
Time machine produces effectiveness and efficiency, by optimizing the human self apparatus: their mind and moreover, their senses. Human may be awed by their own creations of science, technology, structure of society, institution, and work system which are so transparently apparent in front of them, but they lost their ability to look inside their being. The time machine rigidly points human to the direction straight ahead with only one aim: the maximum result!
Sugihartono vividly describes how the time machine painstakingly reaches its objective in every single person of urban people. The building, road, skateboard, stilt, and everything else are just representations that can be read as sign, while it is clear that behind it, it is the time machine that enables people to be there – moving without its individual subject.
It is revealed to us clearly each day that life at its face value can be seen on the street, at work, in malls, cafés, which present people merely as moving figures. Sugihartono unmasks the exteriority and the interiority of the time machine; the urban life and the time machine itself, where people are going to and fro without regards to each others, which in itself is a repetitive problem that gives raise to the classic question: what is the meaning of life?
Time machine concludes the meaning where human is now free of its being (ontologically). Therefore the issue of human dualism of body and soul melts into the time narration that demands such work maximization! Without doubt, all Sugihartono work offer us with implication that we are now inside the mechanistic repetition of time; carried away in the time movement that spies on the direction we are heading every time we take a step. Nothing is left?
Time is the only witness that could testify that we or our live was there and it amuses us to search for the source of that life. Generally, we already understand this concept of time that we call ‘nostalgia’. It is most probable that to Sugihartono we are still in possession of such memories of the past and it raises the question of whether time machine can totally obliterate the individual person significance.
In this regards Sugihartono tickles us on the ‘modification’ modus that signify whether nostalgia is a hidden energy that would reveal itself and present us with human creativity in overtaking the mechanistic time machine? That work is purely for the sake of work without giving any new meaning to it? That human work for a reason but then abandons the reson itself because of time constraint in their work. Ironic!
Meanwhile, Purwanto SPA has the perspective on city exteriority which he sees only as the representation of the past in its semiotic nostalgia. Lest we forget that a city has its own time of abundance but that it has been uprooted from its mythical time to be replaced by time machine.
There’s sarcasm in Purwanto SPA’s point of view, in which that at its core, urban people are still pretty much mentally ‘backward’! People who initially so ready to overcome time but in the end are rendered helpless by their own apparatus failure to be ready. But city to Purwanto SPA is an aesthetic exterior due to the contrast of those very ‘slickness’ and ‘backwardness’. Moreover, city is seen as a significance of the merge of traditional icon and global capitalism icon just like wayang personage on dollar stage.
Urban people establish the kingdom of pleasure on behalf of sport, leveling down woods to make room for hitting on small balls while socializing, and yet still have the need for those science-fiction (or mythical?) amusement from crop circle to represent the unexpected stage of previous life?
Purwanto SPA’s critic stabs right at the heart of the issue of the heart of the city and the heart of the urban people are in their own ambiguity within the threshold of city-village, anxiously wishing whether in such ambiguity there is still hope of overcoming the mechanistic time machine that will enable us to party with individual creativity?
Welcome to time machine.
Tommy F Awuy