Petrifish; sebuah cerita dari Kali Oyo

Cemeti – Institut untuk Seni dan Masyarakat
Residency program 01 September 2019 – 30 November 2019

Mixed media and variable dimension


Dhanny Sanjaya “danot” described the starting point and the work process of his Ichthyhumanology Institute project; a fictional institution offering research methods as a media to review human’s position to the environment and other organisms. Dhanny chose the fish not only as a metaphor, but as the object of research that would lead him to the context of environmental sustainability, and the aspects of political-economy surrounding it. Departing from his thematic interest related to the desolation of the sea in the future, Dhanny sought new possibilities by looking at this issue within the framework of the local situation in Yogyakarta.

Dhanny continued his investigation on fish and its cultivation and eventually met with Irwanjasmoro (@irwanjasmoro), an independent river activist, who took him on several river explorations to see a different reality. Danot uses various stories and data found in his observation as a base in building the narrative of his work, where he draws out the subject of the lost fish population in the ocean to the story of the river and consumption pattern of the local community. He then stitches these two problems into a fiction of the latest food technology discovery known as “cultured meat” that offers lab grown, cell based-flesh and slaughter-free meat.

In the residency final presentation, Dhanny presented a fictional laboratory of the Ichtyhumanology Institute that grew meat with local fish cells. He displayed a picture of a dark and polluted river in the lab to emphasize this condition. In this installation titled ‘Petrifish’, Dhanny did not only present a futuristic imagination about food technology and the sustainability of human life but also indirectly presented an irony that all this could happen if the river, marine and fish ecosystems in it had been destroyed because of excessive human consumptive behavior. In the opening, Dhanny and Vinna the program assistant served the fried fishes to audience, bringing the irony to the fore and leading the audience to ask themselves whether they are ready to consume the lab-grown fish.