Witten by Made Bayak

 Since the invention of plastic in the early twentieth century, this material has been a practical, pragmatic, and cheap commodity serving hundreds of purposes. But behind its advantages, plastic has also spread terror, horror, anxiety, disease, and the destruction of nature. Ground soil takes thousands of years to biodegrade plastic. When it is burned, the smoke poisons the air and our lungs. Unimaginably, Styrofoam, which ubiquitous substance used to package food waste, causes cancer when burned, and it cannot be broken down in nature. To this day, plastic waste continues to wreak ecological havoc at the local, regional, national, and international levels.

In Bali, plastic waste management was made a special agenda for Bali’s provincial government. On May 25, 2011, under the auspices of the Environment Agency of Bali (BLH), the government held a waste management seminar entitled “Plastic Waste-Free Bali 2013” in the Ksirarnawa Building, Taman Budaya. The government also created the “Bali Green Province,” guided by three basic campaigns, namely “Green Culture,” “Green Economy,” and “Clean & Green.” Green Culture aims to increase understanding and awareness of the impacts and potential uses of waste. Green Economy aims to encourage entrepreneurs and the private sector to participate in waste management. Finally, Clean & Green is intended to overcome the problems of pollution and environmental damage affecting the socioeconomic vitality of the community. For example, in the Tabanan regency, the plastic waste processing plant PT. Enviro Pallet Bali processes 20 tons of plastic waste plastic per day, which is converted into pallets, pots, buckets, pallet goods, etc.

Although there have been efforts by the government and environmental NGOs to manage plastic waste, the problem is difficult to overcome. One reason for this is the lack of public awareness on how plastic waste can destroy the natural environment. In Bali, one frequently witnesses the careless disposal of plastic waste, which then contaminates the rice fields, irrigation canals, ditches, rivers, gardens, mangroves, beaches, mountains, cliffs and ravines. Furthermore, in the alleys, main thoroughfares, traditional markets, and other public spaces of the city, people dispose of plastic waste anywhere they please. Many people casually discard plastic wrappings from public transport or car windows.

Bayak and Plasticology

For some time, the problem of plastic waste has provoked the attention of artist Made Muliana Bayak. Bayak, who graduated from ISI Denpasar, has gained a reputation for intensely wrestling with and critically exploring ecological, social, cultural, humanitarian, and political issues—all within the context of art. His explorations include not only visual art, but also experimental music.. Bayak uses art and music as means and media to convey messages related to specific contextual issues. His solo exhibition at the Griya Santrian Gallery, Sanur on January 2012, which gained significant public recognition, serves as an example: Through the medium of nuanced parody, Bayak criticized the exploitation of nature by capitalism and neo-liberalism, in the name of tourism development in Bali. On the basis of the increasing awareness of Balinese about the need for plastic waste management, Bayak has created a series of art projects themed “Plasticology,” a concept that fuses the words “plastic” and “ecology.” His future plan is to display other works within the “Plasticology” series, in other exhibit settings.

Before plastic was a common commodity, Balinese used banana leaves as food wrappers. After eating the meal inside, they would immediately discard the wrapper leaves anywhere, and the organic waste would return to nature. Such littering habits settled into the Balinese subconscious and were handed down for generations. Now, although most food and beverages are served in plastic, littering continues to follow these old customs. The careless disposal of plastic waste has had dramatic negative effects and impacted many aspects of daily life. For example, many rice farmers use plastic rubbish to repel sparrows from their fields; the fallen remnants eventually contaminate the entire paddies. “If this sort of littering behavior is not changed soon, the entire island of Bali will be full with garbage,” says Bayak. “The island produces an average of 10,000 cubic meters of waste per day, but government agencies can only process 5,700 cubic meters. Much trash is left on the curbs or in illegal dumps. This fact is really alarming.” With the realization that plastic waste is a critical problem as his point of departure, Bayak utilizes the plastic waste generated by his own family to create works of art, including painting collages and installation pieces.

Bayak beliefs strongly that such small actions, starting with himself, have the potential to influence others “The idea first arose with my first solo exhibition in Ubud in 2008. There was a challenge to transform waste into works of art. I tried to find a technique that would allow the rubbish to remain as artwork, even after the exhibition concluded,” explains Bayak.

In the context of the “Go Green” discourse, campaigned by the government throughout Bali, artwork from plastic waste could be the most obvious implementation of an eco-friendly concept. Bayak has consistently promoted this technique and creative process through art exhibitions, workshops in schools, and various collectives concerned about the environment. “Within my family, I set an example for how to manage plastic waste by making works of art. My son sees and emulates me by collecting plastic waste in our home. Now, he is able to sort the garbage and set aside that which can be used for artwork. Little things like this can actually just start with an individual and his family.

This art project goes to communities and schools around Bali, to share this activity troughs art presentation and workshop. With hope more peoples aware about this issue and take real action on it! Especially for young generations who will be the future for this beautiful island and rich culture of Bali.

New Propaganda

But Bayak’s works not only contribute to discourse on plastic waste management; they also provide social and culture commentary. The icons displayed in his work evoke Bali’s exotic past which, from the Dutch colonial era to the present day, are exploited by the cultural propaganda of the tourism industry. In addition to being one of the biggest contributors to waste in Bali, the tourism industry has also negatively impacted the overall ecological, social, and cultural health of the island. The construction of tourism facilities often proceeds with no regard for Balinese spatial concepts or needs. The result: custom is ignored by tourism investors, greedy investment now want to create artificial island for what they called “new tourism spot” like one stop shopping in southern part of Bali which is already over developed and ignore the local peoples, village boundaries are violated, sacred art is rendered profane—as sacred objects of the temple are stolen and sold as collectible antiques—and prostitution in dimly lit cafes proliferates the island and as we know HIV infection case are lots but still hided by government and media. Tourism propaganda that exploits and eroticizes Bali has also ignored its dark side and the many tragedies of Bali, mass killing during 1965 until 1968 in Bali near 80.000 peoples killed. Because tourism only benefits from the image of Bali as a beautiful paradise, it must always avoid reality—including the dark and tragic events that have occurred at some of the island’s most popular tourist destinations. Related to such issues, Bayak cynically constructs “new propaganda,” chiefly to rebuild the image of exotic Bali from plastic debris. The visual works of “Plasticology” are laden with messages of satire and parodies of a Bali over idolized by the tourism industry. Hopefully, art lovers will comprehend the message conveyed by Bayak’s artworks of waste.

Plasticology art project just one of his recent art project, he did research on mass killing 1965 and speak out that dark history trought his art.

Video art link:

Bali raped island https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRzkzkPfw8c

REclaim our future https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmpiARmjzGY

Workshop review by Net.TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C63iecnRdg

More detail look at www.madebayak.wordpress.com

Email    indorevolt06@gmail.com

Personal contact +628174763566.

List of works

Secret dance of virgin (seri rekonstruksi eksotisme Bali) 80x120cm permanent ink, acrylic on plastic trash 2013

Ni Luh Camplung 65x75cm spray paint on plastic trash 2012.

Rangda Nata Ing Dirah II 80x122cm spray paint on plastic trash 2013.

The sounds of penggorengan mixed media kinetic installation variable size 2010

Video link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sh44H8nFcc

Culture and future mixed media and kinetic found objects, variable size 2015

Video link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snuY7qJRTlM

Ocean beauty mixed media and plastic trash sculpture 2014


Plasticology and Neo Exoticism in Bali by Made Bayak