Examples from different regions, of varied genres, illustrate how contemporary performance participates in and gives expression to the complex social changes taking place in Indonesia today.
Performance events have long had a central place in Indonesian societies in displaying power, affirming social relations, celebrating shared values, and at times conveying potent political critique. How have they responded to the momentous social and political changes of recent years - the dismantling of the centralised, authoritarian Suharto regime and its replacement with a more open, regionally-focused political system, the rapid expansion of global cultural influence?
Investigations of diverse performance genres from different regions illustrate the way general socio-political processes play out locally, and how particular groups are responding. Exploring performed understandings of identity and community, such studies expand knowledge of a complex, contested period of change in Indonesia and the workings of contemporary performance in giving it expression.
With contributions by Chua Beng Huat, Alexandra Crosby, Barbara Hatley, Ariel Heryanto, Brett Hough, Rachmah Ida, Reza Idria, Edwin Jurriens, Yoshi Fajar Kresno Murti, Neneng Yanti K Lahpan, Ugoran Prasad, Wawan Sofwan, Aline Scott-Maxwell, Fridus Steijlen, Alia Swastika, Denise Varney.
Barbara Hatley, Ph.D. (1985), University of Sydney, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Tasmania. She is the author of Javanese Performances on an Indonesian Stage: Contesting Culture, Embracing Change (NUS Press, 2008) and many articles on Indonesian theatre, literature and gender studies.
Brett Hough, Ph.D. (2000), Monash University, lectured in Anthropology and Indonesian Studies at Monash University until the end of 2011. He is author of 'Ancestral Shades': The Arti Foundation and the Practice of Pelestarian in Contemporary Bali , Asian Theatre Journal 28(1), Spring 2011.