The Future of Indonesian Batik

Design Research, Design Writing
2017

This project pushed me to begin to broaden and challenge my perspectives of what I thought I already knew, by considering other people’s understanding through design writing. These sources used in the report come from design practitioners, academics, design writers and peers. Their understanding of the design process are gathered through both primary and secondary research methods, and presented in the form of a well detailed, insightful report.
The report focuses on a question I was really passionate about; how does technology threaten the traditional printing of batik? Batik is a traditional wax printing method that derives from Indonesian history and culture. I went through a variety of design-led research methods such as content analysis, interviews and mapping, to come to a conclusion that was ultimately unbiased and logical, but there was still an uncertainty to the topic’s future.
Printing process transitioned from the candle wax and dye to silk screening, to digital printing.
(Musa 2010)

Silk screening was rejected as it did not look “authentic”.
(Kaun 2007)

Modern batik is starting to make the traditional printing obsolete.(Lawrence 2002)

“Along with the old women the batik technique slowly dies”. (Taylor 1994)

Labourers are threatening the traditional arts and crafts with their reliance on machines that make art making more efficient. (McCabe 1917)
The growing demand for batik in the fashion industry really pushes designers to use the digital methods of creating batik to allow for control.
(Kaun 2007)

Many scientists have said to stop the traditional practice as it creates “batik wastewater”.
(Felaza & Priadi 2016)

“There is a more immediate danger of climate change and global warming, which is why it makes more sense to prioritise sustainability over culture”.  
(J, 2017)

“Rather than eradicating the process as a whole, we should be working on improving the environmental waste system of Indonesia instead”.
(Pavlovic, 2017)

An automatic electric batik stove reduces the use of LPG and kerosene gas.
(Syahputra 2016)
Through a practical experiment, the researcher found that using the digital process takes away the hand generated feel of traditional batik and is difficult to mimic the natural beauty of it.(Lawrence 2002)

“When recreating batik on a technological platform, making patterns thatnaturally come with the wax in batik pattern making is crucial, to make the pattern look a lot more genuine”.
(Liu 2015)

“The wax resist method IS the value of batik”.(Tedji 2017)

Women who rely on batik making have a strong sense of womanhood and self-confidence. (Wayhana 1994)

The Dutch civilisation paved the way for Batik to enter the international market as it contributed largely to the exporting industry.
(Stephenson 1993)