Exploring the Visual Depths of Urban Struggles in Dongker's Ceriwis Necis

Five years after their formation in 2019, Dongker finally released their first full album titled Ceriwis Necis on May 24. This album features 17 tracks, including well-known songs like “Bertaruh Pada Api” and “Tuhan di Reruntuh Kota.” Beyond its musical prowess, Ceriwis Necis also captivates with its compelling album cover. Collaborating with artist Aurora Arrazi, the cover art evokes the complexity of human anxiety and worry in daily life—prompting anyone who sees it to delve into each track of Ceriwis Necis. Speaking to Grafis Masa Kini, Dongker's drummer, Dzikrie Juliogian, shared the creative process behind the album's visuals, from the cover to the merchandise.

Before delving into the album's visuals, Dzikrie explained what Dongker aims to convey in their debut album. Consistent with their previous releases, Dongker tells stories from the daily lives of their close ones, including the band members themselves. “Our inspiration often comes from things close to us. We then use broader symbols, such as city imagery as a space. This way, our songs can resonate with many people’s lives,” Dzikrie said. Dongker summarizes the issues their close ones face and views them from a broader urban perspective. “For example, how can our daily office jobs affect our relationships with others? Everything we do becomes an intervention,” Dzikrie elaborated. Dongker contrasts two things: the vast city space that dominates human daily life and the more fragile personal realm. “We try to find the connection between the two,” Dzikrie added.


In translating the anxieties expressed in Ceriwis Necis into visual form, Dongker never dictates specific visual styles for their album covers. Known for their distinctive graphics in each release, Dongker always trusts their close friends who work in design and visual arts to interpret their music. “Coincidentally, the people who work on our covers are close friends, each with their own visual style and strengths. So, we leave the visual exploration to them. We trust them,” Dzikrie revealed. For Ceriwis Necis, Aurora Arrazi was chosen to create the cover. Since her final college days, said Dzikrie, Aurora has focused on exploring paper as her artistic medium, creating realistic everyday objects from paper. Her miniature paper objects have been showcased at ArtJog 2023 and Art Jakarta Gardens 2024.

For Dongker’s album cover, Aurora used sheets and cutouts of semi-transparent tracing paper. She also employed scanography technology in the finalization of the artwork. Dongker only requested Aurora to feature objects representing the city to illustrate the daily problems in large urban spaces, which is the main message of the album. “That’s why visually, we can see cones, street lights, road barriers—everything synonymous with urban streets. This visually represents what Dongker wants to convey through Ceriwis Necis: urban issues, spatial issues,” Dzikrie explained. He detailed Aurora’s process: first, she explored tracing paper, cutting it into shapes of the desired objects. These cutouts were then layered. When scanned, the final form produced a layered effect from front to back. This layering effect symbolizes the complex layers of human relationships and spaces, which are never simple. “This complexity is represented through the layered visuals,” Dzikrie said.

Dongker didn’t stop at just an album cover. Before the release of Ceriwis Necis, Dongker collaborated with Bandung-based perfume brand Sanoebari to launch Ceriwis Necis t-shirts. The official merchandise, released by their label Greedy Dust, featured typographic and illustrative explorations that conveyed the hustle and bustle of urban issues. Additionally, Dongker plans to release a book in collaboration with Copyright/Reserved, delving deeper into Ceriwis Necis by showcasing items meaningful to Dongker’s journey. Dzikrie urged listeners to await the official announcement about this visual book. “Stay tuned, the packaging is going to be interesting,” Dzikrie promised.

Throughout their music career, Dongker has been a band that not only produces assertive music but also captivating visuals with timeless designs close to daily life. It's no wonder Dongker shirts are a common sight at music events. In their visual practice, Dongker always empowers the artists around them. “We are very privileged to have amazing friends who are experts in their visual fields. So, we always think of combining their work with Dongker’s material,” Dzikrie shared. He added that collaborating with friends makes it more comfortable for Dongker to tell the stories behind their music. When translated into visuals, it feels more personal. This collaboration has been a habit since their college days. “We have a strong hangout culture. Each of us does something in our own fields, and then we collaborate. This habit has continued to this day,” Dzikrie reminisced.

For Dongker, album cover designs and supporting materials for each release are essential. With an artistic background, each member of Dongker pays special attention to the visuals accompanying their music. “Visuals help people stop and take a moment, then engage and listen to our music,” Dzikrie said. Dongker is always eager to explore new visual forms, seeking approaches that can translate their music into visual art.

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.