Lokananta’s Melody Flowing Once Again

These once-quiet rooms are now beginning to stir again. After years of being in limbo, Lokananta has finally opened its doors once again and is now operating under new ownership as a cultural heritage tourist destination as well as a music-based commercial public creative space on June 3rd, 2023. Founded in 1956, Lokananta primarily functioned as a duplication service of the Radio Republik Indonesia broadcast materials. The company evolved into a record label in 1961. Changes in the music industry, political dynamics and changing hands of management induced  the dimming light of Lokananta in the early 2000s.

In developing this new face of Lokananta, an area dedicated to the Lokananta Gallery, a presentation that showcases the history and archives of Lokanata with a fresh experience. Acting as curators, Andra Matin, Engel Tanzil, and Ignatius Aditya Adhiyatmaka invited Hermawan Tanzil as artistic director with a team of graphic designers from LeBoYe to work on the content of the Lokananta Gallery. Hermawan mentioned that the invitation started from his and his team's experience in creating archive and history-based exhibitions.

In addition to Hermawan and LeBoYe, the development of the content also involved the team of artists Bagus Pandega for installation and video mapping, Serrum as art handler, and Dwi Nugroho for gamelan restoration, as well as dozens of sources ranging from musicians, observers, to Lokananta employees. The Lokananta Gallery is divided into several rooms, each with different content and presentations, namely Linimasa, Gamelan, Diskografi, Bengawansolo, Anekanada, and Proklamasi. Hermawan explained that creating the flow, maximizing space and visitor experience were some of the things emphasized and were particularly challenging in this project.

In the first area, Linimasa (timeline), visitors are presented with history reaching back to the founding of Lokananta in two parts. The first room displays a narrative about Lokananta's role and events through a neat and organized presentation without giving a monotonous impression. Particularly eye-catching are some of the archives hanging in the middle of the room. Another room in the Linimasa area presents various artifacts that fill every wall. In the next area, as the name suggests, the Gamelan area displays the original set of gamelan belonging to Lokananta, now restored as its condition was no longer suitable.


Continuing to the next area, rows of recordings produced at Lokananta fill the high shelves of the Diskografi (discography) room. In the corner of the room sits a tablet for visitors to listen to several archives based on genre. Through a neat combination of installation, illustration, video and audio, the Bengawansolo room depicts the recording process, duplication, and distribution of music during Lokananta's active period to the accompaniment of the song "Bengawan Solo''. Regarding the illustration, Hermawan himself said that the styling is intended for long-term use. "Essentially, we thought of a long-lasting style. Especially now that the era is changing very rapidly, right? If we follow what is too trendy, it will become dated quickly," Hermawan explained.

High shelves filling the entire wall of the room are also found in the Anekanada area. Here, the shelves are filled with covers of vinyl records and cassettes produced at Lokananta, from various traditional music, religious music, comedy recordings, to recordings of the song "Indonesia Raya". This room also offers an interactive experience via a cassette player that visitors can use. Proklamasi (proclamation) as the last room presents the recording of the proclamation read by Soekarno in 1951. The recording from Jakarta was then duplicated at Lokananta for distribution throughout the country. The projector installation and play in this room brings visitors to the solemnity of the proclamation transcript line by line.

In their creative process, LeBoYe explores how to make the available materials into an exceptional presentation. “That’s actually a design skill, right? How do we make these elements into something unified and interesting," Hermawan explained. “The approach to every project must be different because we [have to] look at the conditions and situation. "However, the more experience we have, the more we know we can develop something well," answered Hermawan regarding the influence of his previous experience in handling archive-based exhibitions on this project with Lokananta. "As a designer, I look at the visuals, not just graphics, but how to make objects into interesting visuals," he concluded.

About the Author

Daud Sihombing

Daud Sihombing has been writing professionally for the past 9 years. This fervent alternative publishing enthusiast prefers his quaint little town over the hustle and bustle of the city and doesn't let sleep stop him from watching every single AS Roma match.