Woman at the End of Time (WIP)

Audio visual performance during the reading of the novel "Pertempuran Lain Dropadi" by Triyanto Triwikromo. With Triyanto Triwikromo, Gudrun Ingratubun, Trinawangwulan. Documentation from Triyanto Triwikromo, Haus der Indonesischen Kulturen, 2022.

Project Description

Woman at the End of Time is a work in progress for Javanese gamelan, electronics, and recitation. The initial impulse starts when Bilawa Ade Respati was asked by the author Triyanto Triwikromo to respond to his novel “Pertempuran Lain Dropadi” (Eng.: Another Battle of Dropadi, 2022, Jakarta: Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia). As the novel deconstruct the epic Mahabharata, Respati experimented with applying algorithmic composition to Javanese gamelan and to write a generative poetry. The base of the work are done between May-October 2022 as part of Respati’s stipend project funded by the Musikfonds.

In Triwikromo’s novel, Dropadi is not a mere wife of the 5 Pandawa brothers—the traditional heroes of the Mahabharata epic. After knowing that in her many lives she is always reborn to bear the fate of a woman who caused the Great War of Bharata, she decided to not only prevent the war, but also try to break free from her cycle of suffering. The deconstructed nature of the novel invites us for a new reading of this classical work.

The work in progress were presented several times, especially during Triwikromo’s residency in Germany in August 2022 at the General Consulate of Indonesian Republic in Frankfurt and at the Haus der Indonesischen Kulturen Berlin. Respati performed one sketch also during the conference on German-Indonesian cultural diplomacy in October 2022, where he participated as one of the panelists.



Ke-Lain-an Dropadi by Nelden Djakababa in TEMPO Magazine, September 2022, printed and online.

Dropadi here is indeed more powerful […] than in the classical version. She is not described as a resigned woman who accepts her fate, determined by men in her life. […] In this almost a thousand pages thick book, Dropadi tries to fight back. […] Triyanto’s dismantling of the standards of Mahabharata epic seems contagious to those who respond to it. Musicians and composers […] Bilawa Adi [sic] Respati, responded to Triyanto’s work with a composition that dismantling the sound of the gending [Javanese classical music form].

(Translated from the original in Indonesian.)