Bagus Pandega Explores the Interaction of Nature and Technology in His Solo Exhibition "O"

ROH proudly presents O, Bagus Pandega's solo exhibition for the second time with the gallery since 2016. Enriched with an essay by art critic Harry Burke, the exhibition delves into energy, resources, and biofeedback through a cycle of works, both new and past. Speaking to Grafis Masa Kini, Bagus shared the process behind the solo exhibition, which he found quite complex due to the extensive explorations undertaken by the artist.

Bagus Pandega reveals that in this exhibition, he embarked on several new explorations previously unexplored. The name O itself emerged after Bagus completed his works. "In terms of configuration, many details of my works have the shape of O," Bagus explains. In his essay, Harry Burke writes that the title of the exhibition O can be pronounced as "circle." "Like many installations exhibited, this symbol is circular, without a beginning or end. Likewise, there is no beginning or end in relationships. This is a koan, a provocation that O presents to us," Burke elaborates. The narrative behind this solo exhibition revolves around ecological issues. As an artist, Bagus Pandega aims to raise ecological awareness among the public through his exhibition and his approach to artistic creation.

Bagus Pandega's multidisciplinary artworks disrupt mechanical and industrial systems to offer alternative ways of interacting with technology. In the O exhibition, Bagus' works critique the extraction activities for technology – known as sustainable energy. "Electric vehicles are said to have zero emissions. Indeed, cars have zero emissions, but obtaining raw materials from these electric batteries requires earth extraction activities that pose other ecological problems, without proper environmental impact research and solely done for the economic benefit of the country," Bagus Pandega explains. Another issue highlighted by Bagus Pandega is the impact of sustainable energy on local residents who rely on nature drained for mining. Moreover, industrial waste disposal processes lack strict supervision.

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Bagus Pandega's multimedia installations often feature light and sound, marked by a spirit of curiosity and self-expression, offering delicate explorations of recycling materials and circular economies. The technical and medium explorations in this exhibition stem from Bagus' experiences accumulated over approximately 15 years in the art scene. "All my processes are done gradually, one by one. So, they cannot be instantly produced without the explorations I have conducted in my previous works," Bagus explains. In his creative process, Bagus Pandega tends to experiment technically first, then develop ideas and concepts into artworks.

Composed of interrelated concepts, the works in the O exhibition depict human interaction with all digital networks, to the absurdity of destroying ecosystems to protect commercial metals. Plants interact through biofeedback and collaborate in many artworks in O as a real reflection of the connection between nature and technology. "How I try to present technology or machines controlled by nature or plants. Humans and technology should not control nature," Bagus emphasizes.

Oxygen and nickel elements are the primary focus of several of Pandega's recent works in this exhibition. Hyperpnea Green (2024), an installation that converts air into pure oxygen, hangs from the ceiling of the ROH Orange Gallery. In the same spirit, Nio (2024) features a video highlighting nickel electroplating. Raw stones and nickel ores rotate on pedestals in the installations Attenuation Coefficient and Exponential Attenuation (2024), where objects are 3D scanned to produce transmitted videos. In Hyperpnea Green, Sansevieria, more commonly known as the Lidah Mertua plant, regulates airflow through biofeedback interaction. Using the same method, in Ocularflux//1 and Ocularflux//2 (2024), plants act as switches determining the videos displayed on the screen. In A Diasporic Mythology (2021), a collection of local tea plants creates biofeedback electrical impulses, resulting in spontaneous kinetic music.

Throughout the exhibition, materials and ideas flow in circular patterns. The flow of information through circuit boards is the foundation of almost every work in O. The exhibition itself acts as one interconnected artwork, with the gallery's air and lighting systems creatively manipulated by the artist. The O exhibition is open to the public until April 28, 2024.

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About the Author

Alessandra Langit

Alessandra Langit is a writer with seven years of diverse media experience. She loves exploring the quirks of girlhood through her visual art and reposting Kafka’s diary entries at night.