Arka Kinari (May/June 2022)

Arka Kinari is a floating cultural platform launched by the artists Filastine & Nova, a seventy-ton sailing ship on a voyage to promote resilience to climate change and re-engagement with the sea. Arka Kinari has sailed thirty thousand nautical miles, stopped in twenty-three nations, and can currently be found touring the spice routes of the Indonesian archipelago.

Originally we had thought to prepare the month of April and sail in May through September, but we shifted the whole schedule back a month (May to October) because of Ramadan. This is fortunate in other ways, because the seasonal shift from wet to dry (with the accompanying trade winds) have come late this year, and even now it still feels like the rainy season hasn’t let go.

May 2022

Launched our season with a big event at the Malang regional parliament, which included a storytelling performance in the parliament  with the audience sitting in the chairs normally occupied by politicians. Downstairs in the foyer of the parliament building we installed an exhibition of visual art from/about Arka Kinari, pages from the logbook, objects, costuming and artifacts. The exhibit was open to the general public for a few days, was visited by attendees to a regional political summit, and was a field trip destination for hundreds of school kids.

Repaired and prepared the ship. A laborious and often painful process, will spare you the details about anchor windlasses, exhaust manifolds and the sleepless creep of rust.

Oriented and trained the new crew. No small task, this is the first full crew change since the project began in 2019.

Welcomed 4pi, the three-person team of British documentary makers, who were embedded among us for a month, shooting with special 360º cameras for an immersive film to be screened inside domes or VR.

Did two storytelling gigs on land (in Amed and Ubud) before departing Bali. Bali is the only place where our audience is mixed, about half foreigner and half Indonesian, so the storytelling gig was re-written to be fully bilingual.

June 2022

Sailed along the south coast of Java from Bali to Sendang Biru, stopping in wild anchorages for two nights along the way. The crew was still green, the British documentary team literally green, vomiting or bed-bound from seasickness.

Port of Sendang Biru. Sendang Biru is a rough and tumble fishing dock where the Malang region meets the Indian Ocean. It’s the site of the biggest fish auction on the south side of Java, and is possibly the most chaotic port I’ve ever seen, where fishing boats were stacked at least seven-deep on the dock, throwing fish, ice, provisions, fuel, flying every which way 24hrs a day. It really might be the most improbable gig we’ve ever done, because the people here cling to the edge of survival, and don’t have any spare concern for ecology or culture. Our gig here was only possible through copious work by our land team Lintas Batas, who lobbied for the support of the regional and local government, the fisherman’s cooperative, the Navy, water police and land police. This is probably the first and last time all those institutions and communities will agree on something. Highlight: a few of the speeches by political and military leaders before the gig spoke about ecological crisis and climate change. This is unprecedented, and made the whole stop worth it.
The following day the ship was an open house for visitors. Nova is from this region, so hosting and answering questions from media, friends, family and the merely curious kept us all busy.

Sailed overnight from Sendang Biru to Pacitan with favorable winds, and the film crew mercifully following by land.

Port of Pacitan. Pacitan is rare bit of shelter on this wild coast, and by luck the regional governor is an old friend. Our second port established the template for this year

  • Day 1- welcomed by officials: police, military, representatives from the government, community leaders
  • Night 1- we’re taken to some public hot springs in the hills to clean up :)
  • Day 2- groups of schoolchildren visit for talk and tour, with a remarkable difference in aptitude and curiosity between the kids of the alternative ’nature’ school vs the public school
  • Night 2- gathering for informal discussion on the role of arts and culture to address ecological crisis, on the back lawn of the town hall, about fifty people seated on a big rug, passing around a wireless mic.
  • Day 3- rig the gig and rehearse
  • Day 4- live performance and derig
  • Day 5- depart

Pulau Pramuka. Pramuka island is one of the ’thousand islands’ north of Jakarta. Our hosts in Pramuka are Literasi Hijau, a small volunteer-run organization working to restore mangrove forest, reduce waste and teach permaculture. They have a suite of  those amazing machines that convert waste plastics into diesel. We don’t do a ship gig here, because a land gig at their NGO headquarters in the forest feels better scaled to the place. We join our hosts for the their weekly mangrove restoration, and then clean a beach of plastic, finally converting our plastic collections into diesel, documenting the whole process.

Follow Arka Kinari's journey in photos and videos