Palm to Palm  
All That Is Solid Melts Into Air; But Not Memory

Performance and Installation
Giving palm massage and story telling
Duration: 2 hours, 5pm-7pm
MuseumQuartier - Raum D, Vienna, Austria

Installation: Lola Praktikum and MQ teams
Photos: Lola Praktikum and Jacky Madu
Consultant: Rizki Lazuardi and Patrick Tantra
Curator: Verena Kaspar Eisert

Film developed at Foto Fayer, Vienna
Thank you to Filmkoop Wien for lending me reels and helping to repair the film.
This performance is a part of MQ Artist in Residency Programme of Art and Ecology.

Archive Credits:

Director: L. P. De Bussy,
Title: Lijkbezorging bij de Karo-Bataks. 1917
A two-part reportage about a funeral ceremony and the ritual religious practices of the Karo-Batak, an ethnic group in North Sumatra.
Produced by Koloniaal Instituut (Amsterdam)
Collection of Eye Museum, The Netherlands

De Kamferboom van Sumatra (Dryobalanops camphora Colebr.): volgens Dr. F. Junghuhn’s waarnemingen op de plaats zelve, en door nadere onderzoekingen toegelicht
Author: W.H. de Vriese, 1851

Mémoire sur le Camphier de Sumatra et de Borneo
Author: W. H. de Vriese, 1856

Overzicht van proeven, in Nederlandsch Oost-Indië genomen met de cultuur can den Japanschen Kamferboom
Author: Ir. W. Spoon, 1929

Camphor oil
Barus, August 2022
Collector: Maskudin Simandjuntak

This work is a continuation of my research that I have been developed since 2016 about the loss of camphor tree in Sumatra Utara. Recently, I am focusing on how knowledge making on camphor tree conducted by European Scientists in the mid 19th century and the invention of celluloid films in the Global North had accelerated the extinction of the Camphor tree in North Sumatra and how it had rearranged the kinship of Batak with the camphor forest and our livelihoods, triggering the migratory of the population and demanding a participation in modernity that has led to intergenerational loss.

In this performance, I am exploring storytelling as a practice of sharing in an intimate way through hand massage. For me, the performance is also served as a way to remember and to embody the information that I have been collected during my research process. Camphor balm melted into smells and warmth on the skin. Together with the stories, transforming into a living body as memory.

AliansyahCaniago © 2023