Tana Sadji

During the performance of Tana Sadji at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, May 2022. Photos by Azhari.

Program Description

Tana Sadji is an exploration of myth, history, and humanity. Roughly based on various myths found in different cultures, it juxtaposes them into a framework that challenges the participants, both active and passive, to realign and challenge the stories they have embodied as an individual. Furthermore, by interpreting rituals as the physical embodiment of a story, Tana Sadji allows for a shared experience that further enhances the believability of the narration, whereas a singular individual perception might easily get challenged by an outsider. In this context, it will be made clear that the seemingly recent emergence of fake news, conspiracy theories, alternative truths, and even cryptocurrency is in reality not that far away from more familiar concepts such as capitalism and nation-states.

A possibly fictional land of unknown location, its presumed inhabitants were said to have built their culture around food. The extent of their supposed technological advancement is subject to wild speculations, with various sources citing a backwards agrarian society, while others claim the existence of a utopian culture in harmony with nature. Whatever the reality is, recent times have seen increasing interest in rituals ascribed to Tana Sadji. One of these is Line Marking, an initiation ritual in which participants would trace their life journey with their finger on a piece of paper. Modern adherers praise its calming effect, and it has been likened to meditation due to the introspective nature of the practice. But what seems harmless on the surface might have had more sinister consequences for those judged to have failed; like many better known initiation rituals, those deemed unworthy might have faced undesirable fates such as servitude, ostracism or even death. Keeping in line with the largely unreliable anecdotes about the cultural practices of Tana Sadji, some experts have also claimed that the artifacts attributed to the practice of Line Marking are merely remnants of a popular children’s game.

(Text by Jan K. Thedja)


Durational performance with Nindya Nareswari, Rizki Resa Utama, Jan Thedja, and Ariel Orah. Intervention on the exhibition Nation, Narration, Narcosis. Performed in May 2022, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany.