A short documentary about the forging of a Javanese Gamelan gong, highlighting the rhythmic nature of the methods employed by traditional gamelan makers, including the firing, moulding and tuning of a new bronze instrument. In 2016, the master gamelan maker, Pak Saroyo, was commissioned by the Irish World Academy of Music at the University of Limerick to make a full set of gamelan instruments. Filmed on located in Pak Saroyo’s forge in the Sukoharjo regency of Surakarta in Central Java, the documentary focusses on the making of one of the 40-plus instruments in the set, revealing the musical nature of the forging process, from the rhythmic beating of red-hot metal, to the dance-like quality of the gongsmiths, as they work in concert to bring a single gong to life. Filmed and edited by Maurice Gunning and produced by Mel Mercier.
Maurice Gunning is an Irish documentary film-maker and photographer. He was born in Limerick in 1978 and studied for his MFA in Documentary Photography at the University of Wales. He is the artist in residence at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. His documentary projects have brought him to many regions of the world, with support funding from the Irish Arts Council and Culture Ireland. ‘Gunning’s poetic, fragmentary style is perfectly suited to the kind of visual storytelling that draws on memory, text and longing to at once evoke the past and the present,’ The Guardian.