Hallucinations of a Dumaguete Landing and House of Memory
looped two-monitors video installation for Place of Region in the Contemporary, UP Vargas Museum
Description of work:
Hallucinations of a Dumaguete Landing (after Paul Pfeiffer) is a video based on the image of a postcard of Thomasite missionaries landing on the shore of Dumaguete who later were part of the founding of Silliman University in 1901. I found the postcard, among the pile of archived documents about the Endhouse Art Center that once was part of Silliman University in the 90s.
The second video that dialogues with the first, entitled House of Memory, is based on a painting of the Endhouse Art Center, which was once the residence of Albert Faurot, an art collector and former professor at Silliman.
I play with the theme of the persistence of memory through repetition but such repetition don’t necessarily establish presence. Documents like the images in the two videos, can also function as a questioning of existence in a more instructive sense. No one speaks of the Endhouse gallery anymore as if it hasn’t existed in the history of artists in Dumaguete and Silliman University. In the same way, the history of the missionaries landing in Dumaguete, as documented in the postcard, is no longer spoken of in terms of problematizing the colonial history of the place. These two instances in the history of Dumaguete, particularly in Silliman University, seem to be disparate events, but they are interconnected as evidences of the short-sightedness of remembrances.
I treat the videos as my own personal reckoning of my formation as an artist–both a product of colonial American education, and of the group of dreamers that once gathered throughout the two-year existence of the Endhouse gallery in Silliman University.
Memory of Empire (work-in-progress 2017)
co-directed with Manuel Domes
Documentary Drama/ Duration: 01:30:00
Set against the backdrop of Mindanao conflict history interconnected with migration narratives from the Visayas, A Memory of Empire explores the epic life history of Norma Limoso, a 75 year old woman from Iloilo, Panay, Philippines. In 1960, Norma became part of the state-sponsored resettlement from Panay towards Mindanao, the then Muslim-dominated “land of promise” in the Southern Philippines. She and her companions settled in the former Empire Province of Cotabato, where traditional Muslim clans ruled over social and political life. At 23, Ms. Limoso married Datu “Boy” Dilangalen, a Muslim royal leader, without the approval of her Christian relatives in a Muslim rite deep in the mountains. Her husband would later on become influential in the founding of the Moro National Liberation Front, the first Muslim armed group openly rebelling against the rule of the Philippine central government.
The presence of Christian settlers, like Norma Limoso, was one of the key reasons for the rebels to take up arms. Ilonggos from Panay in particular have been associated with landgrabbing and violence perpetrated against Muslims by vigilante groups such as the ilaga. Ms Limoso gave birth to her first child in her hometown Iloilo, where she had relocated at the outbreak of the war. Believing her husband dead after an encounter with government soldiers, she later re-married. Years after, a knock on her door brought the Memory of Empire back into her life.
House in Pieces (work-in-progress 2017)
co-directed with Manuel Domes
Documentary Film/ Duration: 01:20:00
In May 2017, war broke out in Marawi City, Philippines. It resulted in the displacement of almost half a million people who mostly ended up in evacuation centers in Iligan City, a town away. Most of the evacuees are children and women.
In their first encounters with aid workers, the children evacuees drew shelters. A humanitarian group headed by Maranaos, saw the need to use culturally sensitive toys in their activities with children.
The cultural memory embodied in the puzzles links the story to the larger context of destruction and preservation of cultural heritage in the Marawi conflict.
The first puzzles were produced a few year ago, before the war broke out. Its creators in Davao City didn’t know then that they would eventually be used in the context of recovery from conflict.
The puzzles are now currently being turned over to Maranao woodcarvers from Marawi who will train selected internally displaced individuals from the evacuation centers in the production of more puzzles.
The film will then follows another narrative strand: that of Yusuph, a carpenter whose family is one of the internally displaced peoples from the siege, and his journey back to Marawi in efforts to attempt to rebuild his physical home.
Piecing together a puzzle is like piecing back together what was lost due to war.
(A 5-minute cut of the film is now available for screener purposes)
Paglubad (Unravel) (2017)
Narrative Short Film / Duration: 00:27:41 (click here for trailer)
Ligaya, a filmmaker, stays with her uncle Primo in Iloilo, to finish a documentary film about her roots. Motivated by the need to understand why her family in Cotabato resists her plan to marry her Muslim boyfriend Malik, Ligaya is determined to find answers from her uncle. Malik is an orphan whose parents were killed in a fire during one of the massacres perpetrated by the Christian militia known as the ilaga during the war in the 1970s in Central Mindanao.
Ligaya seeks to find answers from her uncle about his past life in Mindanao during the tumultuous 1970s. Armed with her camera, she doggedly observes her uncle doing his rituals, practicing arnis martial art movements, persistently pushing him to answer the questions about the past. Primo, on the other hand, resists Ligaya’s questions. When finally Primo agrees to a video recorded interview, Ligaya is faced with the weight of the wartime secret she unwittingly unravels.
Written and Directed by Jean Claire Dy, Cinematography and editing by Manuel Domes, Musical Score by John Diagoras of The Good Friday Experiment
Pagrara Sang Patipuron (2016)
Directed by Jean Claire Dy and Manuel Domes, “Pagrara Sang Patipuron” follows a group of Aeta women weaving artists in Nagpana, a sitio up in the mountains of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. The film explores their artistic processes and products, reflecting negotiations between tradition and modernity. The Aeta are considered the first inhabitants of the Philippine archipelago, but they are also one of the most marginalized indigenous peoples in the country.
The 20-minute documentary is brought to you by Stories Beyond.
Walay Naa Diri/ There is Nothing Here (2015)
Experimental Short Video/Duration: 00:08:15
An autobiographical video essay in four parts in the voice of a third-generation Filipino-Chinese about dealing with modern anxieties of having to have a sense of place, a definite national identity. It tries to explore the notions of race and identity by juxtaposing an assemblage of moving images culled from negotiating memories (going back and forth from Southern China, and the “motherland” Philippines), with a voiceover of an essay written about the lifelong journey of attempting to understand oneself vis-a-vis identity in the context of the layered post-colonial realities of being Filipino.
Playing with the nonfiction elements in video, this piece attempts to arrive at an inscription that’s neither concrete nor certain. It is a space between, a performance of the present, and the present-past.
Mentions: Young Critic’s Circle: Skily Labastilla’s Top Filipino Short Films of 2015; Pinoy Rebyu’s Top 20 Filipino Short Films of 2015; Senses of World Cinema 2015 Poll
In the end close of a long day when she said to herself time she stopped (2015)
Experimental Short Video/ Duration: 00:06:14
Inspired by Samuel Beckett’s monologue “Rockaby”, this video is a performance piece that explores the concept of female monitoring or self-talk –the internal dialogues we often do to ourselves which indicate that monitoring happens inside of us, but involves the perspectives of others we have imported into our own thinking. It is my self-interrogation of an existential dilemma: there is a fear of getting old and alone, yet there is also a felt liberation in being different, free, living a life of the mind. The struggle is to convince through self-talk as in repetition that time is a state of mind, subject to interpretation within the boundaries of what constitutes one’s space, one’s memories, one’s own identification.
Mentions: Senses of Cinema World Poll 2015
In the city in which I love you (2014)
Two-screen video projection, looped/ Duration: 00:03:41
Inspired by a line from Li Young Lee’s poem of a similar title, “In The City in Which I Love You” is a two-channel video piece that explores intimate poetic longing. It fixates on a memory of my last travel to the city of Edinburgh. Focusing on one conversation with a man who was leaving everything behind to live off-grid as a sort of narrative frame, the piece is my way of revisiting old love by re-entering the city, the city of memory composed of random raw moving images, where love is found somewhere in between the conversation about the city.
Singe-channel video projection/looped for Imagining Language Project (New York)
A video art projection piece that plays with the texts and audio extracted from human rights research and archival news reportage on the Davao Death Squad, mixed with a radio recording of Mayor Duterte’s popular statement regarding his links to the vigilante group.
After the Siege (2015)
work-in-progress/ Duration: 20:00:00
An experimental documentary video project that tells the restorative narrative of the communities affected after the Zamboanga Crisis, a battle that occurred between the Philippine government’s forces and a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front on September 9, 2013. The subjects are not just the “bakwits” or evacuees living in the Zamboanga sports complex after their houses were razed to the ground, but NGO workers, CSOs, and government officials as they try to remember the event. In the aftermath of a tragedy, people search for answers and ways to help. What kind of answers were people affected by the crisis, searching at that time? Were they able to find these answers? A few months after the crisis, Yolanda wreaked havoc in the Visayas and killed thousands. This tragedy unfortunately contributed to lesser external help trickling into Zamboanga, forcing its people to work together to restore their community. Two years after,this project tries to search for answers. What has happened to the internally displaced people of Zamboanga. How has the government and the entire community worked together to restore their community after the conflict that beset them. This documentary film will try to tell a story of hope. The film will resonate with audiences by making them feel connected to their communities. It hopes to be also a jump off point to creating a forum for discussion about conflict and the internally displaced, about what communities can accomplish (if any) by working together.
Migrante Filipina (2010)
webseries, micro-documentary profile/ Duration: 00:07:00
Migrante Filipina is not just a nonfiction webseries about Filipina women’s migrant narratives of nostalgia and diaspora, but more about human beings inherently being migratory subjects having the natural desire to move and get underway; taking risks, forming uncommon bonds, and dreaming of making it big while laughing along the way. It is about finding home in the most uncanny, sometimes cruel city as the Big Apple, while still facing the demands of having to look back and remember the home one has left behind.
Provides glimpses of the lives of these Filipino women—their exilic narratives, stories of love and betrayal, of defining identities, of the search for fulfillment, of creating interracial relationships, and everything in between.
Bodies in Labor (2012)
An ongoing multimedia documentary project capturing human bodies at work. How does one define labor? What is a working body? Is a body at rest still a working body? Or is the body in constant labor, whether in mobility or in stasis?
This is an exercise in exploring how one’s daily actions and habits shape the body and becomes a sort of physical code that tells in part that person’s history.
The Chidren’s Songs of Banao (2012)
An interactive multimedia documentary that tells stories of the children survivors of Ban-ao in Mindanao that was hit by the super typhoon Pablo in late 2012
PROJECTS IN MULTISENSORIAL SPACES
Sometimes we are slaves to our own bodies. The paradox is that we feel we own it, we can will it to do a lot of things, but at the same time, we are also slaves to it. Hence, this project is the beginning of a rumination into the phenomenology of the human body as it is, as it is experienced, as it is in space. On another level, it is also an exploration of our perceptive reactions to sound given the absence of the visual subject it refers to, and how we associate certain iconic objects as bird cages to other things other than metaphors of the body as receptacles of ourselves.
Pelagic Desires (2016)
soundscape and moving image installation/ work-in-progress
The project uses hydrophones to record the sound/audio created when Badjao swimmers free diver unter the sea. The audio will be composed and arranged as part of a sonic installation piece that might come with video and other forms of media.
Pugad (2015 and 2016)
interactive sound sculpture in collaboration with Filipino artist Peter Fatinalgo
The nest is made out of twigs, GI wires, found slippers, and cornstarch eggs. A motion sensor is built in it that when triggered plays the sound scape of bird calls recorded in Danjugan Island, a marine sanctuary and wildlife reserve that’s used as a model of conservation efforts in central Philippines.
The second iteration of this piece will be larger and an off-shoot and will be part of a solo exhibition of public art in 2017.
Liquid Limerence (2012)
multisensorial interactive installation/ New York
a multisensorial interactive installation that involves rubber toys inside an aquarium, motion sensors, and soundscape. Future documentation of an iteration of this piece will be posted soon.
A documentary photography essay about the slowly dying traditional art of paper cutting in South China. This essay was part of the exhibition: “Lareva and Other Stories” at the Conspiracy Garden Cafe , Philippines.
Inside Out (2013)
What’s outside of the body. The contradictions that manifest outside of the self in the pursuit of making a “better” self within society’s ideals. What defines the self are also objects that constraints the self. Imaging the body is both personal and political.
Training to Dive (2013)
A documentary photography about young kids in the Shantou Diving Center training at winter time to prepare for competitions in the summer.
Full Fathom Five (2009)
performance art documentation in New York
Rockaby Beauty (2008)
A performance art piece performed during the Performing Beckett Festival, celebration of his death centenary in 2008.
Mix of choreographed movement (Orissi, Pangalay, and Bharatanatyam), physical theater, and interactive media and sound piece. It is a feminist interpretation of Samuel Beckett’s monologue “Rockaby.”
“Chopsticks” (short story). Very Short Stories for Harried Readers. Manila: Milflores, 2008.
“Chopsticks” (short story). Philippines Free Press. November 11, 2007.
“Merdeka.” (prose poem). 365 days project. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2007.
“Myla Leguro” (profile). 1000 PeaceWomen Across the Globe. Pasig City: Anvil, 2006.
“Animating Grassroots Organizations for Political Participation: The PDC Experience of Barangays Calang Canas and Taberlongan, Maluso, Basilan Province.” Mainstreaming Political Participation in Marginal Communities. Davao City:GOP-UNMDP-3,2004. (monograph)
“Building Watchtowers: The Lanuza Bay Experience.” Reclaiming Public Life through Local Special Bodies: A Sourcebook on Enhancing Participation on Local Governance. Manila: CCJD and LGSP 2004. (sourcebook)
“Docile Bodies or Active Agents?: Study of the Representation of Filipinas in the Dating Website FilipinaCupid.com.”
“The Subversive Mr. Suabe: Representations and Constructions of Masculinity in Pinoy Rock Music.” Conference on Gender and Sexuality in Popular Culture, University of Kebangsaan Malaysia.
“Multiple Narrators, One Narrative: The Use of a Narrative Frame in an Interactive Multimedia Documentary.” First Conference on Communication Research in the Philippines. Davao City.
*several articles published in http://www.mindanews.com, Mindanao Times, Sunstar Sunday Magazine, Seventeen Magazine,Phils.,www.cyberdyaryo.com, Women’s Feature Service International
*several literary works published in the Philippine Free Press magazine and Sands and Coral Literary Journal.