Current Project to fund

Digital Dalang: Shadows Out of Time is an interactive Indonesian shadow puppet theatre that will debut at Burning Man 2018.

Ali Agus Ardie

Author: Ali Agus Ardie
Credits: Ali Agus Ardie

Ali Agus Ardie's artistic interests are as diverse as his multi-cultural upbringing. Born in California to an American-Iranian mother and a German-Indonesian father before he and his family packed up and moved to the island archipelago of Indonesia at the age of 7.

Moved by the beauty of Islamic architecture, Ali's childhood dream of becoming a Jim Henson Muppetteer was cast aside in the pursuit of designing Mosques but since he had a terrible hand for drawing he started building them out of Legos. His mother overjoyed with his newfound interest in religion decided to enroll him in after school Islamic studies. In actuallity, Ali had no interest in religion, but discovered during these studies that he had a talent for writing Arabic calligraphy and became obsessed with the mentally ambidextrous challenge of scripting ambigrams after being exposed to them after reading Angels & Demons. 

Ali's grandmother, a notable photographer and foremost expert in Indonesian textiles, exposed him to his first darkroom during middle school. It was during high school that Photoshop was becoming popular to create digital collage artworks and Ali saw a path to realize his creative concepts. The small international school he was currently attending had an arts program but no teacher learned in digital art techniques. The school allowed him to attend the course provided he could teach himself the digital art skills nessaray to pass the curiculum. Ali avidly studied Photoshop and Illustrator online and thus began his career in graphic design. 

After almost graduating from RMIT in Melbourne, Australia, Ali moved back to Indonesia and started freelancing graphic design jobs to get by. His passion for creating, making and love of puppetry never truly faded and in his freetime when he was not developing his DJ skills or producing music, he would create. He crafted everything from steampunk jewelery to found object animatronic robo arms. This lead him to be hired for an internationally sponsored short film The ABC's of death as the lead special effects supervisor.

In 2010 Ali found his spiritual home in Black Rock City as he attended his first Burn. It was here that his passion for creating and his love of his cultural heritage would lead him to one day bring an Indonesian inspired art project to the Playa. He has travelled the globe working in production on numerous festivals and after such circumstance landed him in Mexico for La Calaca Festival he found himself working under Chilean artist Tomas Burkey and annual art installation The Pyramid of the Dead for Dia de los Muertos. In 2017 The Pyramid of the Dead was awarded an Honoraria grant from Burning Man and Ali was asked to be the projects 2nd lead. Through toils and troubles of participating in such an undertaking, Ali learned the skills nessesary to make his dream a reality and after assembling a team of diverse craftsmen, builders, designers and programmers his project Digital Dalang was awarded its own Honararia grant from Burning Man this year for which he is currently seeking the final funding for.

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