Aryo Danusiri

The Fold

Artist Statement

This work is a subtle investigation of the ordinary spaces that transform and transition between the playful and the sacred as individuals enter and perform routine acts of worship or leisure. In this work, consisting of one long take, the viewer experiences the rhythms of folding and unfolding as a visual metaphor for the boundary between these seemingly disparate acts. As in the recent case of the “Ground Zero mosque,” The Fold questions the relationships between religion, public spaces and memory in contemporary American society. It unsettles various conservative yet established ideas about the role of the “secular” in a multicultural society and asks its viewers to rethink the term’s fluidity. This work is a structural account that provides subtle yet political commentary on the case.

Recorded during fall 2008 inside “a mosque” in downtown Manhattan, The Fold asks what it means to be Muslim in Manhattan? What does it mean to be a “multicultural Muslim”? This film reassembles this issue through a return to the moving image’s core, namely temporality. Such an attempt endeavors to reexamine the relation between time and space, in turn transforming cinema into a stage. As its title alludes to, The Fold is a “song” of transformation in space and piety. Conceived as an investigation of the spatiality of religion and identity, the twist at the end of the work questions the boundaries between the spiritual and the mundane, the collective and the individual, the everyday and the political.


Aryo Danusiri is a video artist and anthropologist born in Jakarta in 1973. His works have been exploring the circulations of new keywords, violence and memory in reconfiguring political and social landscape of post-authoritarian Indonesian 1998. Those works have premiered at various festivals, including Rotterdam, Amnesty Amsterdam, Mead Festival and Yamagata “New Asia Current.” His first feature length documentary, Playing Between Elephants was awarded “Movies That Matters for Best Human Rights Film” at Jakarta International Film Festival 2007 and “Best Documentary” at Brussels Independent IFF. In 2005, he finished his Master’s Degree in Visual Cultural Studies from Tromsø University, Norway. Danusiri is the filmmaker of Ragam Media Network, a Jakarta based institution that develops visual media as a catalyst for cross-cultural learning and community knowledge management. At present, he is doing his Ph.D. in the Media Anthropology program, with a secondary field in Critical Media Practice at Harvard University.