Khairani Barokka

Khairani Barokka a.k.a Okka was born in Jakarta in 1985. A writer, poet and interdisciplinary artist, they currently live in London. They have presented work extensively in ten countries, and are the recipient of six residencies and multiple grants. They were an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow, and are a UNFPA Indonesian Young Leader Driving Social Change for arts practice and research. Okka is creator of works for the stage such as Eve and Mary Are Having Coffee, co-editor of HEAT: A Southeast Asian Urban Anthology (Fixi) and Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches), author-illustrator of Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis), and author of the poetry collection Rope (Nine Arches Press). They are a PhD by Practice researcher in Goldsmiths’ Visual Cultures Department in London.

Location: Prelude
Khairani Barokka Antivertikalnormatif 2017 Performance
Photo: CAC/Andrej Vasilenko



type in the cleopatra position. grocery shop while sitting on the shelves for long stretches of time.
arms out. consume and produce while jerking fooling them keeping them guessing, up, down,








[—break: singing “Nina Bobok”—]
Nina bobo oh nina bobo
kalau tidak bobo digigit nyamuk.
Marilah bobo oh nona manis,
kalau tidak bobo digigit nyamuk.


Nina bobo oh nina bobo
kalau tidak bobo digigit nyamuk.
Bobolah bobo adikku sayang,
kalau tidak bobo digigit nyamuk.


ii. take care of your body’s lithosphere today. take care of your covey of pulses today. be gentle with
the rooks in your skin today.


swim me in the merciful cay. kind me into the kettle of straits where fish trawl for seas. meet me in
beating tracts of tidal swamp, breathe.


aim me for the hardest rainforest, darkest so it can overgrowth. mold the roots of my tree-bed to
cushion the nerves. let my pain seep into forest underbelly. as nutrient, as quarks of energy, as bitter


feel the roots of this pain in a small child whose world refused to take notice of telltale signs. feel
the joy in a stretched-out frame perceiving roof, the whole of roof. the all of sky.


the world asks us to be upright. stand up straight. stand tall. podiums are built for standing folk, of a
certain height in particular. podiums are where height-filled, vertical bodies look down from, as
though we should claim our kernels of respect, our salaries in exchange for standing, or sitting, nine
to five.




[—break: “Indung Indung” lullaby—]
Indung indung kepala lindung,
hujan di udik disini mendung.
Anak siapa pakai kerudung
mata melirik kaki kesandung.