The CUBOID: Reclaiming Eastern Javanese Craft and Speculating Fashion exhibition through the Metaverse
Michael Charles Daniel Rezandi and Philip Chee
LSALLE College of the Arts, Singapore
Clarice Ng, Andrian Firmansyah and Nanda Handaru
Indonesia is an archipelago comprising a diverse range of cultures and ethnicities as the islands spread across the Pacific Ocean. Indonesia was colonised for more than three centuries by Portugal, France, England, Netherlands, and Japan. In the colonisation process, we witnessed the acculturation process through motifs, ornaments, and materials. However, the effects of colonisation go deeper than just physical aspects – it also shapes the intangibles, such as locals’ mentalities towards their native culture. As fashion becomes increasingly globalised and homogenous, traditional techniques practised by various communities in the region are often relegated to “craft” rather than “luxury”. This diminishes the value they contribute to fashion products, thus creating a glass ceiling that impedes the growth of Indonesian design in the regional and global fashion industriess.
This project reimagines how dress and fashion objects would exist in East Java, specifically the island of Madura. We invite the viewer to imagine if the island was never colonised and how this would subsequently influence how Madurese dress and fashion objects presents itself in terms of form, function and technological innovation. The format to this showcase will be hosted on a hyper interactive website with a built metaverse exhibition with three objectives; to experience while interacting with the reimagined objects, to educate public on the intangible heritage of Madura and opening dialogues on public thoughts in decolonising Madura. Viewers will be able to observe, learn and engage with the reimagined objects while listening to the origins of dress and fashion objects said by native residents of Madura.
Building on critical themes of xenocentrism and decolonised thinking, this project speculates the outcomes of combining historical heritage with modern technological interventions through a design lens. Spanning the boundaries of physical and digital fashion, it aims to be a hyper interactive digital experience that looks to the future while recontextualising the past. It also serves to be an accessible resource to educate and inspire the current generation and contribute to decolonial fashion discourse in Southeast Asia. Beyond the first iteration of this showcase, the CUBOID would be a platform to host virtual fashion exhibition that open dialogue while promoting discussion in offering alternative modes of thinking.