Chamber of Public Secrets

Kamal Sabran

Ssegar Angin: The Healing Art Project uses sound and body movement to heal the internal psychic and spiritual body based on Malay traditional healing performances such as Main Puteri and Mak Yong. Traditional healing performances have existed in Malay culture for hundreds of years up to the present day, and include the use of sound/music, movements, and mantras to address different kinds of ailments. There are three elements in the Ssegar Angin performances – the music (soundscape by sound artist), body movements (choreography inspired by Main Puteri/Mak Yong), and Jjampi (mantras recited by bomoh). Ssegar Angin is a process of revitalizing the internal psychic and spiritual healing energy transpiring within the panggung, or stage, through sound and movement. It is an embodiment of the metaphysical relationship between creation and the Creator. The sounds of the instruments, movements and chanting activate the angin or semangat of the participants and makes them receptive to the performance stimuli, surrendering (serah diri) their physical and psychic self to reverberate the music, movements and the chanting and thus re-energize the angin.

On 22 and 23 April, Sabran presented the performance, Ssegar Angin: The Healing Art Project, in collaboration with Aida Redza.

Kamal Sabran is an artist based in Ipoh Perak. His work stands at the intersection of art, science and technology. His paintings, video art, short films, sound art, experimental music, performance art and electronic art installations have been shown at art spaces and festivals internationally. In search of ever widening means of artistic expression, Kamal constantly looks for collaborative opportunities with other artists, researchers and scientists.

His ability to evoke a poignant sense of place and time by the use of new media technology won him the ‘Best New Media Artist Award’ Young And Contemporary from the Malaysian National Art Gallery in 2004, Best NOKIA Music Video Director in 2006 as well as the ‘ASEAN New Media Artist Award’ from the Indonesian National Art Gallery in 2007. He was Artist-In-Residence at the National Space Agency, Malaysia in 2005. He is also the founder of an experimental music/ sound art collective known as “Space Gambus Experiment” performing a combination of electro-acoustic, experimental-improvised music.

Kamal is one of director in “15Malaysia” short film project by 15 Malaysian new wave film maker. The 80 minutes anthology version of the project made its world premier at the Pusan International Film Festival in October 2009 and has hitherto been invited to exhibit in the Golden Horse Film Festival Taipei, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and Rotterdam International Film Festival [European Premier]. He is currently a fellow of University Science Malaysia (USM), Penang.