Part of our Triangulations series, Dispatches From Manila asks artists and curators from the region to ‘check-in’, offering perspectives or creative projects that they have been occupied with during the recent months. At the time of writing, Metro Manila (the National Capital Region, made up of 16 individual cities) had been in lockdown since early March 2020, when measures to restrict movement were taken to prevent the spread of disease. With the COVID-19 crisis unfolding among its citizens, governing officials have used the pandemic as a pretense to impose military and police enforcement around the NCR, inciting fear through forms of restriction that echo previous eras of forced civic containment under Martial Law.
Resistant voices among artists in the community, balanced with considerations of safety circulate messages of critique, humourous resistance, and creative forms of virtual comfort. Dispatches asks members of the Manila community to share their perspectives. Drawn from three separate corners, the trail of connections reveals a rhizomatic network of solidarity and support. The program unfolds in three parts:
Dispatches, a screening program with Lost Frames (online JULY 30 – AUG 13)
Artists: Alwin Reamillo, Danielle Madrid, Leslie DeChavez, Martin DeMesa, Sidney Valdez, Tanya Villanueva, Timmy Harn, Tekla Temoria, Ralph Barrientos
This program of shorts, selected by the community open call process of Lost Frames Collective offers artist’s recent works and perspectives.
Remaining anonymous for reasons of safety, this story contribution by an unnamed artist looks at the spectral life lives under a militarized state. Pulling from live experiences, both remembered and imagined, the narrative is a dark account of the extreme force that state-sanctioned terror exerts on the minds and lived realities of its citizens.
Following up on their visit of one year prior, this interview asks Load Na Dito to elaborate on how they manage to survive and thrive in circumstances that limit mobility and freedoms of speech.
Pacific Crossings: Triangulations
Borrowing a term from both navigation and research methods in social science that employ multiple points of view, Triangulationsoffers three online propositions with artists and curators in Hong Kong, Beijing and Manila, encompassing shared concerns germane to the pandemic and locational contexts. Produced as part of Pacific Crossings in partnership with Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Nanaimo Art Gallery, and Richmond Art Gallery, Triangulations is a coordinated effort to bring forward distinct perspectives from different regions through digital means to support empathy and to cultivate shared understandings about what the future may hold for the arts sector and for the public.
Lost Frames is a community-based initiative for viewing artists’ moving image in the Philippines, organized by a small group of artists in Manila who show short experimental video works. As an in-person event, Lost Frames encourages individuals to share their works and to talk about each other’s methods and ideas with regards to video as a medium. This online screening program presents a selection of artists’ moving images from the Philippines that have been included in past programs.
A previous participant in Pacific Crossings projects, Load na Dito is a mobile art site that explores creative energies generated and circulated through interactions of individuals, objects, images and ideas. It creates spatio-temporal situations that address issues of participation and problematize the potential of collective production. Load na Dito was initiated by Mayumi Hirano and Mark Salvatus in 2016.
Remaining anonymous for reasons of safety, an Unnamed Artist lives and works on the archipelago known as the Philippines where they regularly contribute to events and activities as an independent artist.