Makrokosma Bali is a multimedia work combining new and traditional music for gamelan orchestra with projected video, still imagery, ambient sounds, and lighting design in an integrated set. This compact disc features a selection of the music from the staged work, recorded three months before the premiere at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco on May 13, 2011, at the serenely beautiful Pura Dalem Munduk Sangkur temple of Tunjuk.
The piece, conceived in 2007 by Wayne Vitale, evolved in several key aspects during the four years of its development. Originally entitled The Planets, the work shifted from a science-art focus (NASA space imagery was to be the central visual element) to one centered on Balinese culture and philosophy. Makrokosma Bali contrasts the cosmology of this predominantly Hindu island, expressed through the dramatic presentation of video imagery of people, landscapes, life, and ceremonies in Bali, with conceptions of reality from outside of Bali, presented in images ranging from time-lapse photography of clouds to animations of outer space phenomena.
Two primary themes drive the work, both concerned with dualism. Rwa bhineda (“two that differ”) refers to complementary,
interdependent opposites such as up-down, positive-negative, male-female, etc. The related conceptual pair buana alit (microcosm: the human body) – buana agung (macrocosm: the universe) expresses the fractal nature of the universe and humankind’s place within it: both reveal the same form and orientation. While these themes were plainly evident in the projected video imagery, they are also embedded—directly or indirectly—in the music, from the tuning of the instruments, to the structure of melodies, to the metric design of particular sections such as the opening kebyar.
Wayne Vitale: artistic director and co-composer
I Made Arnawa: music director and co-composer
Seka Gong Taruna Mekar:
I Wayan Ardika, I Made Arnawa (director), I Nyoman Arsana, I Made Eka Arta, I Gede Made Dwipayana, I Wayan Kertayasa, I Made Martana, I Wayan Mudiara, I Nyoman Muliadi, I Putu Artana Perbawa, I Made Dita Nava Prajanata, I Wayan Salin, I Ketut Suarta, I Made Sukartawijaya, I Nengah Sudartana, I Ketut Sumandra, I Nyoman Sumawi, I Nyoman Suriadi, Ni Nyoman Sutiari, I Made Tantra, Ni Putu Diah Nava Utaminingsih, I Nyoman Widnyana, I Wayan Wijaya, I Nyoman Winata, I Nyoman Wirka
Key artists in staged version:
Allen Willner (lighting and stage designer), Eric Koziol (video designer),
Ian Winters (video processing), Greg Kuhn (audio engineer)
Recording, mastering, photos, and booklet text: Wayne Vitale
Design and production: Sara Gambina-Belknap
Cover art: Eric Koziol
Tracks 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 recorded on February 8 and 9, 2011 in the Pura Dalem Munduk Sangkur temple of Tunjuk. Track 2 was recorded at the balé banjar of Tunjuk in July 2006.
Makrokosma Bali is dedicated to Seka Gong Taruna Mekar and the people of Tunjuk, Bali.
Makrokosma Bali received the generous support of The Creative Work Fund, a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund (supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation); The Center for Cultural Innovation; The East Bay Fund for Artists, a program of the East Bay Community Foundation; the Consulate General of Indonesia, San Francisco; and individual donors.
Special thanks to Sarah WIllner; Deborah Clearwaters and Ana Hortillosa at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; and to Emiko Susilo and the members of Gamelan Sekar Jaya.
© 2011 Vital Records