Halberd Head with Naga and Blades, Indonesia (Java), Eastern Javanese Period, Singasari Kingdom, ca.second half of the 13th century, Copper Alloy. Samuel Eilenberg Collection. Gift of Samuel Eilenberg 1996. 1996.468a,b (2008)
Super 8 Film converted to digital video
1min 9 sec
Ida-Ida (2018)
Silk banner

Halberd Head is an attempt to capture onto film an Indonesian artifact at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As only still photography was allowed in the museum, the artist created a simple pinhole camera using a cartridge of super 8 film. Without the mechanisms of the camera, a focal point is lost and the form of the artifact is not recorded, only the light from the space surrounding it. The film also captures in light, the rhythm of the artist winding on the film – playing on a belief held by some that artifacts carry the vibrations of the hands that made them. The use of colour filters created by the cinematographer Storaro, help create a work that humorously references the Jupiter sequence from Space Odyssey 2001. A scene read by some as describing the transition from the material to the immaterial.

Comprising large silk panels that have been hand-dyed in tea and Coca-Cola, Ida-Ida is the fourth in a series of works which speak more broadly of imperial vampirism, and collective bodies. Its inspiration came out of a pithy, punk-style essay by Ian Svenonius which likens colonialism to an imperial vampirism that consumes, and later mass-produces, the beverages of traditional cultures which fall under its empire. The silk cloth soaking up the tannins of tea and fizz of Coca-Cola becomes an oblique metaphor for the movements of commodities.”

Artist Biography

Sriwhana Spong is an artist of New Zealand and Indonesian descent currently living and working in London. Click to read more She is interested in the fertile margins and the rich edges where things meet, working across various mediums including sculpture, film, performance and sound. Spong studied at Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland, and completed an MFA at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. Recent exhibitions include castle-crystal Edinburgh Arts Festival, Ida-Ida Spike Island, Bristol (2019); A hook but no fish Govett-Brewster Gallery, New Plymouth and Pump House Gallery, London (2018); having-seen-snake Michael Lett, Auckland (2017) and Oceanic Feeling with Maria Taniguchi, ICA, Singapore. Read Less