Batik has inaugurated as world’s intangible cultural heritage from Indonesia by UNESCO in 2009. This means a challenge for Indonesia to preserve and to extend the existence of batik among Indonesian communities and worldwide. There are many governmental and private institutions who explore to the furthest extention of batik or explore various things to enrich Indonesia’s batik motifs. Some institutions try to expand the distribution channels in new media of rare and near extinction batik, some explore visual elements based on popular icons, and some explore the application of technology and complicated mathematical calculations to formulate new batik compositions. Among various and explorative efforts to extend new frontier of batik, there is an essential question on batik. What is batik, exactly? Is it designing a batik pattern? Is it designing a module? What kind of composition can be called batik? What kind of production process can one be called batik? What is actually the fundamental of batik design?
According to Sewan Susanto, batik is an integrated system between production process on media, visual style or motifs, and exploration of composition which will manifest as fusion of visual style and media. Therefore, the combination between production technology or system with design pattern is a must to create a batik as a creative industry commodity. Production technology and system nowadays is only a matter of replacing the manual production process towards hi-tech production process and substitution of indigenous and natural material such as natural dye towards engineered materials. It is up to design of module and pattern as the only aspects of designing contemporary batik’s visual style. Thus, this is the fundamental idea of this collaborative action research project.
Zeolite is one of chemical fusion of minerals in a formof crystal and can be obtain through two ways, mining from natural resources and engineered on laboratories or chemical factories. The structure of zeolite crystal is a repetition of one or several modules, but the combination of two or three modules may create several different crystal structures. Until 2012, there are more than 200 variances of zeolite crystals. Zeolite crystal pattern has a close resemblance with batik pattern, and this is the fundamental aspect that stimulates this action research. It opens the possibility to design a contemporary batik module and pattern more than just an application of mathematical formula, but elaboration of basic modules which can be applied to press and printed batik as for example. The zeolite structure may work as one or more module for elaborating batik depending on which axis it projected (see figure 1). This research aims to develop a model in form of batik design as the experimentation of two system, zeolite crystal structure system and batik pattern system.
THEORY AND METHOD
This is an experimental action research to develop a model which works as miniature of natural system (zeolite crystal) as initial process. On the later process, it will become the feedback model for macro scale of contemporary new batik design. Based on primary assumption which batik and zeolite has close resemblance in its structural or pattern construction, morphological analysis is selected to create links and starting point of experiments as validation system on conceptual framework of the analysis results.
BATIK DESIGN SYSTEM
In batik design process, the most elaborated phase nowadays is on coloring, finishing, and especially ‘membatik’ process. This process is emphasizing in creating pattern of batik on fabric, whether it is press and print system, manually writing system, or one of the most recent development is through fractal design. This research elaborates the initial phase or the very beginning or the starting point of batik design process, the batik basic module design process.
ZEOLITE BATIK DESIGN METHOD
Zeolite batik design is heavily emphasize on designing the basic module process. From morphological analysis of batik, there is a system of production process on batik design as shown in figure 2. There are four phases in batik design system, basic module design technique, pattern visualization, production with media, and media output. All phases can be engineered through technology except but one, the basic module design techniques.
Almost all basic modules of batik are symbolization of an event or values. And translation of such basic modules are depicted as adaptation of natural environment or events with several visualization techniques such as adaptation or simplification, tracing, filling, visualization as it is, and many more. Basic module design of batik give opportunity on creating original yet contemporary basic modules of batik zeolite.
After deciding on basic module design experiment, the second requirement of batik essentials appears which is elaborating values. Elaborating values is not one of ‘membatik’ process, but it is the significance of batik as a cultural content, not just as creative industry commodities. Therefore, the researchers elaborate more on several zeolite crystals origins, market values, its rarity or special structural form it contains. The researchers then come up with MFI zeolite structure as the experiment object (figure 1). The MFI zeolite is one of a few natural zeolite that can be mined in Indonesia. The contemporary batik design process based on MFI zeolite crystal structure is done on several design elements as follows:
a. Line element. Line is one aspect of design elements which always being used in batik design. There are two applications of lines in batik design, graphical line and structural line. Graphical line is used to explore form and
b. Shape element. The unity among several lines and its composition forms several shapes, such as figurative-shape, simplify-shape, naturalistic-shape, and abstract-shape. Based on shape exploration on the MFI zeolite crystal structure, simplify-shapes and figurative-shapes with line element are more preferred because the shapes are still representing the unique structure of MFI zeolite crystal.
c. Color. The experiment of contemporary batik design based on zeolite crystal structures is not restricting the color choices, but the fabric coloring mode, system, and technique are. Therefore, the contemporary batik design experimentation process must adhere to the chosen fabric coloring mode, system, and technique for example: colet, sponge, or air brush coloring techniques will apply certain color chart and combination.
d. Texture. In manufacturing the fabric designed with batik, the texture creation can be formed through weaving process. The weaving texture is best applied through manual weaving process using manually weaving machine.