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Melati Suryodarmo

Unspoken Language

By Sylvia Tsai

Portrait of Melati Suryodarmo at the Pawn, Hong Kong, 2013. 

Photo by Ann Woo for ArtAsiaPacific

She enters the space to sounds of beating Indonesian drums. Stepping on 20 slabs of butter positioned in the center of the floor, she starts to dance; the movements of her body become faster and faster as the beats accelerate. She slips and falls, hitting the floor, but rises and continues. As the butter melts, her falls become more frequent and violent. Fear is visible in her eyes each time she…

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