Kurt D. Peterson & Ella Wijt

DOORWAYS OF MERCY // November 7 – December 7, 2020

These works and the patient process of their creation while in quarantine stand in quiet dedication to my sister, Lindsey. It was through conversation with her that we came upon the question, “How is it that we (re)learn empathy and compassion?” My sister has carried this question and lives it. It is by this thought that the exhibition’s guiding question found in the image below was born, and it is by this question that we have also guided Rumah Tangga throughout 2021. -KDP




Resonant bodies were made for children’s laughter, for moving themselves across an open field.

Here the smouldering hair of a fractured coconut is the burning hand of the moon of the midday sun. Seen it all, you moon. Come down creaturely and feed the puckering mouth. It sucks the question. Shrieking sky collapses through a burning tree. Salivates the answer through its gaping midday mouth. 

This silent boy has been following me all day. I gave him a balloon because his shirt matched mine, and mine the thread, and the thread the balloon. I cut the balloon in half and taught him screaming. He’s been following me all day. We took a photo together. Laughing boys behind us stretch out the sun as a bed cloth. The silent boy and I hold the mirrored expression of a storm.

Every day is windless for Blazing Tree. Countless suns give way to the wax and wane of a winking many moons but its heat and light remain the same. Blazing Tree beyond sense and speech. No memory of re-leaf.

The shirt, the thread, the balloon, the boy, countless plastic caps, and plastic scraps, and straws, every last one of them busy being vibrantly orange. Same the sun and the soccer ball spiralling.

Born green by the name Angsana, Blazing Tree bears the name Blood Tree, or Black Tree. Children race to it from across the field and call it That Tree. Old friends reunited remember it suddenly as Our Tree. Many minds in seated silence call it My Tree. 

Blazing Tree is awake with its wounds from which it pours out kino as a kind of salve. Sticky salve is a ready snare. We descended Blazing Tree with the lizard husk of its unwitting victim. We descended Blazing Tree with a mouthful. Puckered and shrieking, “God is a battered blood tree blazing! God is a blazing blood tree blooming!”

We descended Blazing Tree and wrapped our hand with a rubber hoof. 

Name: The Wiggling Wooden Wheel.

Name: Knuckles and Knees. 

Name: Creature-Like Creep. 

Name: Still Busy Being and The Violently Orange. 

Name: Wind Watching. 

Name: We Sit Silent. 

A fig of fallen string leaves we tied aloft in Blazing Tree’s branches as a kind of fluttering transfusion. A memory of a memory. Remember the wind, you burning bush! It whispers the name, “Angsana”. 

Kurt D. Peterson 2018


ANAMNESIS: From ancient Greek anámnēsis meaning “remembrance”, “reminiscence”, “memorial sacrifice”. In contemporary usage, the word refers to the case history of a medical or psychiatric patient. In Christianity, the term refers to the liturgical recitation of Christ’s Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension.

The word also applies to a common practice in traditional cultures throughout history wherein an individual suffering from some kind of affliction, whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, is given care through the oral recitation of a cosmology. That may be the cosmology of the origin of the World itself, the origin of the people to whom the individual belongs, or more specifically, the origin of that individual’s particular malady and its cure. These cosmologies come in the form of folk stories, and cures tend to be connected to Earth as well as divine sources. The work here, titled Anamnesis is also a folklore, a mythology, a cosmology in the form of an installation containing sculpture, drawing, writing, sound, and performance.

The concept of Anamnesis lies at the heart of giving care. This examination, diagnosis, and treatment of an affected individual can be applied equally to the affected members or components of a family, community, society, nation, culture, religion, or institution.

In this mirror I reflect upon the self most capable of doing good. In that moment my faults fall away and I can forgive myself. This mirror is everywhere.




In the shadow

___________________Body stretches, eyes unseen, skin colourless

A shelter for fallen leaves

______________________A sign of the radiant sun

A mark of presence__________________

A movement of time slowly passing

A heart is looking for its language, the shape that follows its presence, curves that fit perfectly in the gap of its cracks.

(Softness in dry, stiff condition, movement explaining an ability, translator of a shape trying to find its meaning.)

A night to hear its language. The sound it vibrates, the volume in the wind. The light within a body, shimmering.

Shifted belief, unknown present, leaving marks, marking an arrival.

Comfort is a process of unraveling violence in a form of a song.

Peace is the growth





Kurt D. Peterson & Ella Wijt in conversation with Ibrahim Soetomo about Doorways of Mercy.

———— All photo and video captured by Patar Pribadi ————–