Tromarama: Bhinna, 2024 / Art Basel 2024 Parcours

Bhinna is an internet-activated installation underneath Volkshaus Basel consisting of soprano recorders, a type of woodwind musical instrument that Indonesian elementary students are required to learn and play according to the country’s national education curriculum since 1994. In Bhinna, each recorder plays a specific note from the musical composition “Satu Nusa Satu Bangsa” (One Homeland One Nation), a national song from 1947 that students are required to perform in order to graduate.

To create the work, a computer program scours X (formerly Twitter) for the hashtag #nationality. These postings serve as the input that is decoded into binary codes corresponding to the electrical components of the work, orchestrating the instruments’ flow, resulting in a cacophony of sounds echoing within the arched vault. The title Bhinna derives from the Indonesian national motto, “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” which translates to “Unity in Diversity”. Bhinneka stems from Bhinna meaning “separate” or “different”.

The work examines the ever-changing nature of information as it travels across geographical landscapes and borders, as well as how it continues to take shape in the digital sphere, transcending political areas and the modern nation-state. Bhinna serves as a simulation for the synthesis of national narratives and their performance through song and through social media, while also pointing to their potential dissident uses.

Tromarama is a collective founded in 2006 by artists Febie Babyrose, Herbert Hans, and Ruddy Hatumena. Their works often combine video, installation, computer programming, and public participation to interrogate digital infrastructures and their influence on civil society, notions of globalization, and attitudes towards the environment.

Tromarama: Bhinna, 2024 / Kiang Malingue, ROH Projects at Art Basel 2024 Parcours. Volkshaus Basel, Basel (Switzerland), June 15, 2024.

— Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

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