To say that The Hive caught the attention of The Other Festival visitors at Hotel Monopoli Jakarta would be an understatement: the bespoke sculptural instrument, made from parts of gamelan bars and resembling a suspended hive, never failed to intrigue anyone daring to come and play around with its vibrating chimes. Although its idea was conceived by two artists from Yogyakarta, Tony Maryana and Ikbal Lubys, The Hive was initially displayed inside a cavern in Liverpool following a commission by a UK festival named Abandon Normal Devices (AND).
Taking the sting out of The Hive
By UK/Indonesia 2016-18 team
11 December 2018 - 18:17
The three artists came up with the idea to build an instrument with a look that resembled pipe-shaped resonators, with the sound being the buzzing of the bees. “It was a really good and fun process. It was also my first time working with artists from overseas,” says Crombie.
Constructing an elaborate piece was certainly not a walk in the park, especially when having to revamp it. “When you’re working with a technical machine, there are complicated bits to it. So figuring it out overseas, across two continents, was challenging in some ways,” he adds. “We were thinking a lot about the power requirements and how to get materials. That’s also how I became familiar hardware shops in Yogyakarta.”
Still, Crombie claims to be pleased by the results and hopes that The Hive has a long life. “We hope to install the one in the UK somewhere permanently, so people could always have the opportunity to explore it. In Indonesia, The Hive might be going to a music studio in Yogyakarta, so people who come in and have their music lessons can play around with it,” he explains.
He also says that working with Indonesian artists earned him a valuable lesson. “One of the things that struck me about Indonesian artists is how they don’t want to get stressed out by work. I think there’s a tendency in the UK for everything to be really pressured with tight deadlines and you end up making a hard time for yourself,” he notes, while claiming to often fall prey to the trap as a self-professed hard-worker. “Here, it seems to be a bit more of an idea to retain your mental health, as it were. This collaborative project has just been a positive experience for me.”