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Thursday, 4 October 2012


Peminjam Cahaya (The Borrower of Light)
DVD, DVD player, LCD projector, screen, light bulb, traditional shadow puppets, with sound
2.5m x 3m x 2m(tall)
  • “MTV@Malay TV?” USM ABN-AMRO Arts & Cultural Center, Penang, 2006
  • “Oasis” Adiwarna Gallery, USM Penang, 2006 (2nd version)
  • “Siti Nurbaya – Warisan Seni Etnik & Tradisi”, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, 2004
  • “Gebang Seni” Yayasan Kesenian Perak, Ipoh 2003
  • “Of Shadows & Images” Malmo, Sweeden, 2003
  • “Of Shadows & Images” Barcelona, Spain, 2003
  • “Of Shadows & Images” Madrid, Spain, 2003

Created in collaboration with Wan Marina Asbak & Johan Othman 


This artwork is a result of a collaboration between Hasnul J Saidon, Johan Othman and Wan Marina Asbak.  The original DVD version was exhibited at Kuala Lumpur, Madrid and Barcelona in an exhibition called “Of Shadows & Images” (2003) organized by the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur.  The installation version (with a Wayang Kulit setting) was exhibited in an exhibition entitled “Pupusnya Siti Nurbaya” in 2004 at the National Art Gallery Kuala Lumpur. 

‘The Borrower of Light” (TBOL) is based on the concept of light and shadow.  The readings of light for this piece were inspired by several sources.  Amongst them are from the tradition of Wayang Kulit or puppet play, Al-Ghazali’s and Sufi’s explications of light, and comparative sources from quantum physics, cybernetic theory and media theory (including globalization and popular culture).  Several symbolisms were taken from the readings of light based on Buddhism, Zen and Taoism.  Summarily, the concept of light as espoused through this work stresses on the challenges face by humans at large in re-attaining higher humanity through they struggle to regain and return to their true spiritual nature (unconditional love and compassion)

The above-mentioned concept is delivered through an explorative video that emphasizes the use of several key audio-visual elements. Amongst them are tones and colors, textures, space, movements, tempos, rhythms, flow and keys.  These elements were composed to create an overall somber, nostalgic, melancholic, sad and gloomy mood.  This mood is counter-balanced by a chaotic interference full of confusion, information overload and rather cybernetic.  The main story is presented through a series of verbal monologues by a child, supplemented by motifs and symbols, Wayang Kulit and 3D animation characters, a martial artist and choreographed movements that serve as metaphors for supporting ideas on heritage, perception, objective and subjective realities, and the internal or spiritual war or conflicts.  All can be read as metaphors for already given or fixed cultural meanings (Malay-Islam) or as semiotic texts that are open for a variety of interpretations. 

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