The Third Edition of Melipir: Cirebon and its Creative Ecosystem

Located at Rumah Rengganis, Cirebon, the third edition of Melipir was held on January 27 until January 28, 2024. Melipir itself is a program with the spirit of decentralization at its core conceived by The 1984 and Binatang Press! with Double Happiness, one of their divisions, as the event organizer. Aside from discussions and workshops, this third edition also showcases multidisciplinary practitioners in Cirebon like Graphic Handler and their independent publisher, Use Your Voice with their releases on music journalism, and even the sole comedy group in the line up, Stand Up Comedy Cirebon.

Melipir was born from the struggles of Binatang Press! in accessing the products and knowledge of many other regions in Indonesia. Ryan Makasutji of Double Happiness stated that in working on the publication Biro Tipo, The 1984 and Binatang Press! Came across many talents from all over the country. Through visits and the many programs to be held in an array of regions, Melipir is becoming a platform for the distribution of information, exchange of ideas, and network building.

Meanwhile, Cirebon itself was chosen as the location for the third edition of the event due to its potential and the activities that could be held once again. The Cirebon Zine Fest held at Ruman Rengganis last year and the participation and creative practice of Graphic Handler induced Double Happiness’s interest and curiosity in Cirebon creative ecosystem.

Familiar names like Yulius Iskandar, Felix Dass, and Angga Cipta also attended to share their insights and experiences. Said figures were not invited without significant consideration. Ryan explained that these names emerged after lengthy discussion and consideration of the views regarding the interests and needs of practitioners in Cirebon based on the perspective of Izhar Fathurrohim of Graphic Handler.

In holding this edition of Melipir, Yulius Iskandar shared his experience running a business with family—a common phenomenon in Cirebon. Meanwhile Felix Dass shared his views in creating independent publications. Following that, Angga Cipta showed off his screen printing practice, keeping in mind the high frequency of screen printings done at Cirebon although not in the context of making art.


In this edition, Binatang Press! also released On the Table, a zine by Joey Fong based on his mother’s personal collection of recipes. Said publication is mainly filled with Cantonese and Hokkien menus. Those recipes had been gathered over the last two decades. The release of this publication was further enlivened with a sweet potato flour-based bakpao (also known as baozi, yeast-leavened buns with fillings commonly found in various Chinese cuisines) cooking workshop based on one of the recipes in the zine.

According to Ryan, as the organizer, Double Happiness’s experience went both ways in this edition. Directly meeting and seeing first-hand the many creative practices of practitioners in Cirebon was its own special experience for Ryan. “Well, the very aim of Melipir is to build networks. We brought the network we had to our audience. That very audience then becomes a new part of our network,” Ryan explained.

“This program is very different from the [previous editions of Melipir] we held in Solo and Denpasar. The discussion around design was still very palpable in Solo and Denpasar. Menawhile, in Cirebon, there were no discussions that were really oriented towards design techniques. We purely talked of what the movement was like there,” Ryan elaborated. He opined that programs that involve multidisciplinary practitioners actually bring a different impression and broadens perspectives around the meaning of being creative itself.

Furthermore, Izhar as a Cirebon based practitioner was really receptive of the Melipir event. In his view, the programs offered in this edition is very responsive of the character of practitioners in Cirebon who are not as familiar with graphic design. As such, he considers the visiting audienceis also diverse as the event is not wholly centered on design. To him, activities and initiatives like this can trigger further exploration in the creativity of practitioners in Cirebon and can turn the creative practive of The 1984 and Binatang Press! into a benchmark in regards to creative products and programs to be held in Cirebon.

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.