Letter No. 3: Lelono

Written by Melissa Sunjaya
Illustrated by Melissa Sunjaya

{ Lelono } [ meaning: ‘Journey’ ] is the third essay of THE NEW EAST INDIES* trilogy, presented as a pilgrimage journal on self-introspection. This paper is about an artist’s escapade in between various polarities of life. Receptiveness in learning new viewpoints and bravery in evaluating oneself set a crucial course in discovering an authentic identity in the globalisation era.

The research relating to this visual essay collection started at the end of 2016, in
the midst of several global polarity nuances which effected the current cultural and human behaviour shifts. There were two pivotal circumstances which were to be fully recognised in order to maintain stability in a civilised community. First was the rapid flow of digitalisation which superseded development efforts towards a more effective learning system. Second was Indonesian’s Gini Coefficient (0,4) in 2017 which served as an unsettling gauge on the disparate gap of income and wealth distributions, compared to its neighbouring countries. Amongst the population of 260 million people in Indonesia whom many experienced discontents over those 2 mentioned circumstances, it became an urgency to formulate a new artist’s manifesto.

A manifesto which acts as a guiding principle in reading and creating images in a post-humanist era where many of key visual components are distorted from the truth.

‘INKED WITH A. I.’ – A Prelude on Post-Humanist Imaging:


{ Extrapolation }

An artist should extrapolate an image by assuming that some existing analogue manners will remain applicable. These analogue manners may include: (1) a creation of a single image trajectory on the ideal human created by society as a whole, based on multiple layers of cultural interpretations; (2) a necessary distillation on each layer of these cultural interpretations; (3) a possible misalignment during image registration or image reading.


{ Distillation }

An artist should acknowledge that most images, text, and sound in the post-humanist art movement are conversions of binary coding. A binary code is a language which uses dual digits of 0 and 1. Thus, it is a necessary routine for an artist to view an image through dualism spectacles, where her opinion is immediately questioned and contradicted by her sceptical opinion. The aim is to find a balance between becoming one and remaining a zero, detached of all means of ego and materialism.


{ Duration }

An artist should be aware that an image is not absolute; it moves relative to time and moment. Duration of the imaging process provides significant intelligence to an artist emotional responses and behaviours. Repetition of process, with time frames, will naturally enhance an artist’s awareness of her subject. These emotional and behaviour notations serve as guiding indicators for an artist, as machines mimic humans and vice versa.


{ Intervention }

An artist should explore the actions of distorting an image or interrupting the image duplication process. The diverse methods of interventions have become both lucid and blurry, posing questions on both the truth and the accuracy of human comprehension. Through editing, an image could serve as a lie or a hope. There is a choice to mobilise an image as a weapon to disrupt civilisation or a language that holds secrets to human race survival.


{ Augmentation }

An artist should augment her being and spirituality through the disciplines of body, mind, and soul. With this holistic approach, an artist will have the autonomous rights to choose between offering her identity as an image projection which can be manipulated by the machines or as the master designing the machine algorithm for image creation. 

An artist should dream and not think too much. Everyone is an artist.