This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .
The Last Breath Of The Prince - A Dying Art Handmade Book
The Last Breath Of The Prince - A Dying Art Handmade Book
A handmade photobook result of a passion for an indonesian endangered art known as Wayang Topeng (mask dance). HELP SAVE A DYING ART!
A handmade photobook result of a passion for an indonesian endangered art known as Wayang Topeng (mask dance). HELP SAVE A DYING ART! Read more
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .
About this project
1. A 250 COLLECTOR BOOK SPECIAL EDITION
The present, handmade photobook is the result of a passion for a specific type of performing arts, namely the Javanese masked dance or familiarly known as wayang topeng.
Artistically, the owner of this book will find images which manage to speak for themselves, courtesy of the unique approach, editing skills and the angle choices of the photographer. Yet a brief narrative offering historical, literary, spiritual and anthropological aspects of the dance captured in the photos will serve well to lift a bit of the inherent mystery and hidden meanings of this endangered performing art.
Limited Edition of 250 copies only worldwide.
• Cover: Hardcover, clothbound. Exclusively wrapped in unique, perfumed batik cloth
• Size: 30 x 30 x 3 cm
• Pages: 122
• Shipping Weight: 2 kg
Once our funding goal is met, we'll start creating. Retail for The Last Breath Of The Prince will be 240.00 €. Kickstarter backers get a 20% discount at 192.00 €.
The Last Breath Of The Prince will ship by November.
2. LIMITED EDITION PRINTS
We’re also offering a limited edition set of prints. The photographs are printed on matte 40 x 50 cm Hahnemuhle photo rag 310 g.
They can be framed or stand on their own.
The set of prints offered here will be limited to an edition of 20 sets.
3. PDF EDITION - EBOOK
Absolutely faithful to the printed version. If you can´t afford the price of the book, this option provides the most economic alternative for you to enjoy our book in digital format and free of shipping cost.
We will send a High Quality PDF where you can see the content of the book and understand the project's philosophy.
In this manner, you help us directly in contributing to recover the significant budget we spent in creating this unique Project.
4. PANJI ESSENTIAL NOTEBOOK
Sometimes a glowing screen can’t replace the feel and flexibility of old fashioned notebooks.
Attractive and classical looks: the cover on this notebook is embossed with matte laminated paper. Good for scrawlers as well as for writers, a perfect choice for capturing notes and ideas.
The rear sleeve has a slot for the notebook’s elastic strap to pass through. This feature allows you to use the strap to keep the notebook closed. Format:
• Plain Hardcover
• Pages/book total: 192
• Perfect bound, stitched, ribbon bookmark
5. PREMIUM ART CARD BOX
10 beautiful selected images from the book "The Last Breath Of The Prince" inside a luxury design premium box.
A must have for everyone interested in dying art traditions, professional art pictures and quality materials. A perfect gift to yourself and/or to your friends, family and loved ones.
• Full paper cardboard case
• 240 x 180 x 30 mm
• 10 fine art prints 23 x 16,5 cm
• Certificate of authenticity signed and numbered by the artist
6. POSTER EXPO
Exhibition poster from the Sono Budoyo Museum in Yogyakarta for the exhibition "The Power Of Topeng" in 2015.
Size: 60 cm x 90 cm
Highest quality poster. All contemporary Premium Posters are beautifully printed on 130lb Cover Paper.
Anyone passionate about South East Asia traditions will love decorating their bare walls with this beautiful tribute.
So why not explore the world from the comfort of your own home with this magnificent monochrome image?
7. ORIGINAL - UNIQUE EDITION SET(S)
Book with handmade illustrations, reproducing the original very first draft. We're printing 3 special editions of The Last Breath Of The Prince.
Would you like the feel of an original draft? Passing the pages and see the illustrations drawn for you on silk paper…
I WILL DO IT FOR YOU! LIKE THE ORGINAL!
WHY “THE LAST BREATH OF THE PRINCE”?
Sadly, the syncretism, once so characteristic of Javanese mysticism, is fading away rapidly in a modernizing Indonesia. The Panji mask dance is today still performed by small groups in the island.
When the master of a craft or the keeper of the knowledge is gone, there is nothing but material traces and vague memories left behind, crumbling away with time; there is no way to recreate their deepest intangible history and state of existence.
It is already too late for hundreds, or more likely thousands, of such cultural manifestations around the world. For the few surviving traditions, the time is now to safeguard continuous evolution and interpretation of their ancient spiritual cultural heritage.
Looking Good in Print!! :)
ABOUT THE PRINCE
A story, through a masked dance performance, lives on in Java, with roots and elements originating from an ancient, pre-Hindu creation myth, and retold in the 21st century in ever fewer rural villages in East and Central Java.
Prominent in the story and its multitude of characters are the sun and the moon elements, in many ways it reflects a moon myth, with motifs dealing with the beginning of new eras depicted by the rise and fall of great Javanese dynasties. Not a singular story, not hammered out in stone, the Panji Cycle as it is known, is virtually a vast and diverse mass of stories essential to its central theme.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER EXPLAINS THE PROJECT
Nowadays, I think we are in a “decisive moment” as modernity, technology is reaching everywhere, often a process associated with loss of identity and traditions. In South Asia we are in a crucial moment where this loss is happening, unfortunately forcing the last opportunity to see something that will not be present any longer in the coming 10 or 20 years.
My passion for the masks started a long time ago, when I was I kid I was used to see all the material from my father´s expeditions into the Amazon, amongst them a big collection of the Yanomami tribe artefacts, blowpipes, arches and also including masks. First time I saw a “wayang topeng” (masked dance) performance was already 3 years ago, I took one of the most representative photos of my work. At that time I didn ́t realize how complex this Javanese art really was.
With time I started a survey on the topic until I found a large collection of Dutch journals, ranging from the late 19th century to the early part of the 20th century. I came upon photos taken during the colonial period; in old studios with a technique modern photographers don not use anymore. That truly woke an inner feeling within, I had never come across such a thing in those days, and it convinced me that maybe it could be the right moment to start a project out of it. Concerning the topengs, I had already seen exhibitions of masks before, as a material thing, as a souvenir, but I thought why not pay tribute to those who are behind them? It is auniversal issue, a performer loses his previous identity and assumes a new one, letting go of his own will, which now becomes subservient to that of the personage of the mask. Each time it is precisely then that something important occurs on stage.
On this occasion, the whole thing was closer to a movie shooting than a photographic one, from the design of theatre backgrounds based in old motifs, carpets, and the fact that I had to build a large tent structure with the villagers for the shooting. That was an amazing experience, sharing with them the real Javanese life, and feeling their inherent sense of hospitality. They were really enthusiastic and they highly appreciated the fact that a foreigner wanted to make such a big thing out of an almost extinct art. They understood very well and they were very collaborative at every crucial moment.
I will always remember how happy the dance trainer was at that time, an old man, 82 years of age and going by the name of “Mbah Sugi”. At our first meeting he was rather suspicious and he pretended not to pay too much attention. Then, during the next meetings, when I assigned him the position of the director, feeling free to create the scenes, this seemed to make him happy and enthusiastic again like in older times. That was very intense for me, and maybe one of the aims of the project was just that.
Masked dances in Malaysian Borneo had already disappeared, and it required a timely deep research from old books, as well as from museum materials. I was really lucky to find some of these dancers, from the Iban tribe in Sarawak, and the Bahau tribe in the Indonesian Borneo. This topeng project is more related to fine arts than previous ones, more personal, focusing on portraits, more than ever before. The reason behind it is that to get the feeling of old photos, I made a research, using the same techniques as the old photographers, and discovering how they managed the light was one of the keys. To create that specific feeling, most of the otherwise moving models were made to pose as required by the slow shutter speed.
WHO ARE THESE GUYS?
Diego Zapatero (1982) lives in the city of Yogyakarta, the cultural cradle of Indonesia. In his work he travels Southeast Asia to seek out the deepest and most genuine stories to substantiate his photo documentary projects. While still in Spain, at the age of 25, he migrated into photographic work from a background as a pianist and composer after a career in marketing and business administration. He was led progressively towards his passion for cultural exploration; something inherited in his veins, at the same time pushed by a keen interest in Indonesian culture. In 2010 he was sent from Spain on a two month mission to cover the eruption of the 9.600 feet tall Merapi Volcano on the island Java in Indonesia, one of the world s most active volcanoes. Zapatero has since taken an interest in the intangible about cultures in Asia. Whether, through his projects, capturing a tattoo on a tribal body in remote parts of Borneo or a traditional dance character in full paraphernalia in densely populated Java, there is more to his photos than meets the eye at first glimpse. Many manifestations of cultural heritage needs to be put and seen in the light of sometimes thousands of years of continuous evolution, interpretation and reinterpretation, as to even remotely fathom the depth of the characters and their current appearance.
Patrick Vanhoebrouck is a Belgian anthropologist and researcher specializing in Javanese culture and spiritual practices of kejawen/kebatinan mysticism. He first came to live in Yogyakarta in 1997 and has been a regular visitor and resident since then. The topic of the Panji stories and its artistic manifestation through the medium of the topeng especially has been a personal passion for him since those initial years in Java. Through a few museum collection researches and scrutinizing existing literature on the topic he acquired a certain expertise that was necessary in later field observations. The main question was to identify current surviving groups of topeng dancers and mask makers still adhering to the pakem (traditional standard) in the DIY Province and explain issues of struggle and revival related to the topeng dalang existence amongst the Javanese village communities outside of Yogyakarta city. The occasion presented itself to collaborate with Diego Zapatero to present a visual work addressing the above mentioned issues concerning this fast disappearing performance. Patrick helped Diego identify some of the local stakeholders and shared older and more recent background texts by anthropology, history and literature scholars from the colonial Dutch period and later research papers. This collaboration stimulated Diego to take it upon himself to deepen in this performance and select the perfect angle and approach towards the remaining traces of topeng in the Province, especially in the Bantul and Gunung Kidul sub-districts. Thank you thus far for your consideration and interest in our work and this ancient endangered Javanese performance.
Narve Rio is a Norwegian who chose Asia as his home and workplace. Since 1997 he has been working with research and development aid projects in South, Southeast and East Asia. For more than 6 of these years he has lived in Indonesia; on Java, Bali and Kalimantan. Just as Diego and Patrick he is currently based in the city of Yogyakarta located very centrally on the island of Java, where the air is still thick with cultural and historical traditions. Quite a few expats in Yogyakarta are involved in the cultural scene, amongst whom you find everything from scholars through painters and sculptors to dance and music students. It was unavoidable that Rio’s path would at some point cross with those of Diego and Patrick. By chance, at the time they eventually met, Rio was about to start a documentary project on Borneo, and invited Diego to join in order to get top-notch photography to complement a text on the expedition. Diego was all in for it, and an informal partnership in text and photo was created, easy as that. Rio was also not difficult to convince when later asked to have a go at some text parts for the Panji photography project. Already a frequent visitor to the area of the project villages over three years, the background material had a familiar ring to him. It is therefore his hope that his modest contribution to the project through a simple text can make Diego’s and Patrick’s work accessible to a wider audience. Javanese culture will never cease to fascinate the world, but in a rapidly changing society such as the Indonesian Republic, some of the traditions might well benefit from Diego’s efforts in photographic documentation to shed a new media light over these gems of world heritage.
Risks and challenges
The book is done. Our goal is to spread the world this beautiful dying art to make them supported.
Once the Kickstarter completes, the books will begin immediate to be created, we'll do press checks and start shipping as soon as they're bound.
We expect the books to be delivered by end of October.
We think they're going to make wonderful year-end gifts.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter