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Dispatches Screening


The screening has ended.
Online from July 30 to August 13, 2020.

Works:

Tanya Villanueva, Ang Utopian Soldier
Dannielle Madrid, Panaglagip (In Memoriam)
Leslie de Chavez, Bangkulasi
Martin de Mesa, Madam Bwakeva is Venus: A Touch By Touch Performance
Alwin Reamillo, Un Aquaria Tadpola
Tekla Tamoria, AlterBibo
Sidney Valdez, Pangako
Timmy Harn, Ancan
Ralph Barrientos, My Corona Buddy

Together with Lost Frames, Pacific Crossings asked artists for a video work to share during the pandemic period. 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, the Lost Frames collective encourages individuals to share their works in person, setting a framework of screening and discussion that foregrounds artistic intention and reflection. The artists typically speak for the length of time it takes to replay their video (on silent), with audience questions that contribute feedback about each other’s methods.

This online screening program presents a virtual selection, with artists insights about their work in writing.

Also viewable on YouTube


ARTIST’S COMMENTS

 

Ralph Barrientos, My Corona Buddy

Duration: 1 min 12 sec

The surgical mask has become ubiquitous to everyday life in the current times. Even though so many people still resist it, the mask is both our friend and protector. Our ever present companion – especially more so if you’re living in a developing country where everything is repurposed and reused.

Even through a looming invisible threat, even through the pandemic fatigue, we as humans adapt. Life goes on and, in our own ways, we’ll still fly our own kites, carefree.

When everything is done, when we can finally go in public again and inhale the air deep into our diaphragm without getting paranoid of that itch in your throat, we’ll remember where our ride or die buddy most likely ended up.


Dannielle Madrid, Panaglagip (In Memoriam)

Duration: 8 min 26 sec

Adjustment has been a bit challenging since I moved back from the province to the city by the end of last year. And with the lockdown and stress brought upon by recent news, the fascist Philippine government’s failed response to the pandemic, and past experiences, I guess I had been able to keep my sanity through the support of my comrades and friends. I have also recently managed to move to a new place and try to live on my own after being adopted by my kind friends in their apartment during the lockdown. Beyond myself, I continue to realize that we can get through this crisis through our collective efforts.

I have chosen my most recent work Panaglagip (In Memoriam) to share with you a personal work of mine. Working with a media collective for labor rights and issues and sectoral organizations for farmers and workers, I have been creating documentaries and news reports about their issues for public information. This differs from my recent work as I explore in a non-narrative or experimental film, but not too far as fragments of my methods and framework are still applied in creating this work.

“Panaglagip” directly translates to “to remember” in Iloko, a filipino language commonly used in the northern part of the country. In this video, I tried to gather different footages, notes and drawings from notebooks and pictures of revolutionaries from the northern regions and presented them as personal memories. In my perception, although tagged as terrorists by the government, I see the New People’s Army as anonymous and mysterious “shadows” lurking in the forests, protecting and organizing the people’s government in communities and villages in the outskirts of provinces. With this anonymity, I ponder upon their everyday life camping out in mountains and meeting locals. Faceless in the footages I have gathered, I tried to present their identity through this personal yet collective memory of their way of life.

With the recent health, economic and political crisis in the Philippines I found these footage of revolutionaries practicing different fields in medicine (western and alternative), political, and cultural work beyond their military work which is mostly shown in corporate and state-owned media (either as false news or in a bad light). I reflect on these as an artist and activist as we continue to organize in the city, integrate with workers without health benefits and insurance, public utility drivers who have lost their only way of income, and those who are persecuted by the government for asserting their rights. I reflect on my life today, moving from one place to another finding a home or my own place in this evolving world. With these, I was deeply inspired to put together this film by an excerpt from the poet and revolutionary, Eman Lacaba:


We are tribeless and all tribes are ours.

We are homeless and all homes are ours.

We are nameless and all names are ours.

To the fascists we are the faceless enemy

Who come like thieves in the night, angels of death:

The ever moving, shining, secret eye of the storm.

The road less traveled by we’ve taken-

And that has made all the difference:

The barefoot army of the wilderness

We all should be in time. Awakened, the masses are Messiah.

Here among workers and peasants our lost

Generation has found its true, its only home.

— excerpt from An open letter to Filipino Artists, Eman Lacaba

 

Lastly, I offer this video, in memory of our fallen comrades who offered their lives for true freedom of the people.

 

Leslie de Chavez, Bangkulasi

Duration: 4 min 53 sec

On March 29, 2017, 14-armed men on motorcycles abducted a 19-year old young man tagged as a drug peddler in Barangay NBBS, Navotas City, Philippines. The armed group with the young man drove around the barangay and reached another area in the city known as ‘Bangkulasi.’ They then asked the young man to get off the motorcycle and run. He refused to run because couldn’t, even if he wanted to. The young man was born with bilateral club feet.

They asked him to sit down instead. Then, they shot him twice in the head. The mother, who is an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Kuwait begged her employer to allow her to return immediately to the Philippines. She was only granted permission days later after begging down on her knees and kiss her employer’s feet.

 

Timmy Harn, Ancan

Duration: 7 min 44 sec

A girl returns home to inherit the family heirloom that has been passed on Since the time of her ancestors. This heirloom will allow her to shape shift and have powers beyond her reach, this heirloom once she accepts will turn her into an Aswang.

Shot using a toy camera, the film is a collaboration with Ancàn, a brand that primarily produces women’s bags and accessories.

Ancàn is a Filipino term for clan which is often referred to a family with a long lineage.

Credits:

Filmed and edited by Timmy Harn
Words written by: Marija Vicente and Dolly Perino
Produced by: Ancàn

 

Martin de Mesa, Madam Bwakeva is Venus: A Touch By Touch Performance

Duration: 12 min 43 sec

This performative video is an experience to the world of my alter ego, Madam Bwakeva. The name Bwakeva is gibberish and her persona is what I dubbed as “The Karaoke Superstar”. Madam Bwakeva is my creative escapism, she does a specific type of performance that combines ritual and entertainment. This is a collaboration with two character musicians, Joee Mejias as Lady’s Joyce and Maan de Loyola as Bwakigo.

In this piece, I merged three performance footages on different scenarios. The first performance was filmed with a live audience, the second was performed for the camera, and the third was performed with a live audience and yet captured on a television screen.

This foregrounds Madam Bwakeva in outrageous costumes, performing seductive dance moves, karaoke sing along, speaking lines, bizarre actions, and spiritual chanting. In addition, it features a mash up of chosen pop songs (foreign and local) and voice dialogues from a Filipino movie.

Madam Bwakeva is Venus; A Touch by Touch Performance is simply all about being unsupressed and closer to the truth and power of one’s self. Conceptually, it also deals with escapism, disruption and chaos. As a whole, it confronts reality through artistic precariousness and challenges popular trends, limiting standards, and norms in today’s mainstream culture. Hence, it attempts to critique mainstream’s influential power and control over our collective consciousness on the this age of virtual world.

 

Alwin Reamillo, Un Aquaria Tadpola

Duration: 8 min 08 sec

Un Aquaria Tadpola is an experimental play originally written for the stage by Ric Galing II and was premiered at the Marietta Apartments, Ermita, Manila in March 1984.  SipatLawin was an artist collective composed of artist friends and pioneer graduates of the Philippine High School for the Arts, who have actively initiated experimental art projects between 1984-1985.

Concepts, methodologies and processes were developed collaboratively and collectively practiced by its expanded membership who also pursued their individual disciplines in the visual arts, music, theatre, film and related fields. After many years, the members’ paths crossed once again, but in an unforgiving situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a story about two characters: a goldfish and a tadpole, finding themselves confined in an aquarium. A re-telling of a story of conflict between the haves and the have-nots, the oppressor and the oppressed, the popular and the forgotten, the whole and the broken, and the complications of the global lockdown that makes us all vulnerable.

This experimental Covid-eo art project is a reflection of the realities of our world, the aquarium.

This SipatLawin Project was clandestinely shot for a period of 2 days, using mobile phone cams during the Enhanced Community Quarantine period in Manila. This co-video art project was collectively conceptualized, designed, edited and created via video conferencing and online platforms. SipatLawin Projects 20/20 is currently composed of Ricardo Galing. Jessie James Pastor, Jun Ureta Jr., Bong Antonio, Bong Rosario, Alan Hilario, Alwin Reamillo.

 

Tekla Tamoria, AlterBibo

Duration: 8 min 36 sec

Selfhood was never a concrete entity. It could fragment to an other/another. These fragments could disconnect and reconnect. They could be altered and abstracted into something aside from the self. It could be packaged as an entirely different individual.

AlterBibo is an artwork stitched together to display a mutable self. There were a few prerequisites to it. This wearable art made of tattered cloth had to conceal the self first as it revealed yet another performative ego. This created a rhizomatic divide between the performer and the other body it performed while still maintaining one tangible being.

In addition, the othered self needed the public other to perform. AlterBibo was presented opposite an audience in the streets, parks, and marketplaces to distinguish itself from the fragment called the norm. As AlterBibo danced through the public space, a shredded shaman amongst the plebians, it visually mapped the social convention.

This iteration of AlterBibo outside of Manila was uprooted from its previous locale. This digital age allows the self more leeway to fragment effortlessly in a placeless loop. Being repackaged as digital documentation slices another fragment of that fragment. The self could be copied, pasted, edited, and deleted.

Sidney Valdez, Pangako

Duration: 9 min 09 sec

How warm do you feel the connection with your loved ones thru video calls? How do you communicate your feelings via text message or chat? How well do you express if you’re happy or afraid thru social media? How do you render pain? How do you observe the ways in which humans express themselves on the internet? Or how do you feel when you see art not in person but thru online exhibitions? How do you condemn the atrocities happening inside and outside the country? Because of the pandemic, personal and intimate connections became limited, or should i say restricted. But because of months of lockdown, we became more connected to ourselves and empathetic to each one’s struggle.

“Pangako” is a video art project aiming to express, as gravely as possible, how i contemplate on existence (which i can only convey deeply in person) thru the filters of everyone’s cellphone screens.

The work Pangako (which translates to “Promise”) is about broken commitments, dedication to purpose, dreams, promise to self or someone of a future that because of an unnavoidable circumstance is no longer within reach. Pangako could also mean a curse or one’s desperate and final vow for redemption against the forces at will.

The video is comprised of everyday footage portraying life before, during and post lockdown and the ways in which we are directly affected by the old systems governing our means of living. The work is divided into 7 chapters.

All images are captured thru my cellphone which originally was just intended as a photo/video journal to be uploaded on social media thus, as it progressed into an art project, i decided to show it via Instagram Story – clip by clip, as raw as possible – and also to be able to make the audience feel that it is happening this instant moment. Because of cancelled shows and the unavailability of galleries, the idea was also to be able to present an artwork without the grandeurs of art as high culture and without the constraints of formal exhibition spaces as to adapt with the so called New Normal.

This is my 5th video art piece and my 1st online video show.

 

Tanya Villanueva, Ang Utopian Soldier, 2020

Duration: 7 min 38 sec

Compiled and re-edited my work from last year’s show at Vargas Museum, Variations of the Field.  The one shown in Vargas was a 40-minute clip of me posing as a faceless man in uniform, wandering around the Marcos-built Makiling Botanical Garden, standing and wandering around and also bedazzled with hand-stitched sequins scattered all around my uniform. The video had some texts appear on screen from time to time. Phrases that are iterations of the title of the whole installation (If you leave me, you will be gone.) Naka-format ung text na parang postcard note, and the video is also intended to be viewed with a gaze lang, no need na magbabad sa video. Texts include the following: “kung iiwan mo ako, mawawala ka,” “kung iiwan mo ako, mabuti naman,” “mawawala ka na.” Those are intentions and manifestations to really really make misogyny, patriarchy, imperialism, colonialism go away forever. Be it in the form of your dad, a boyfriend, a president, a stupid neighbor, america, china.

For Lost Frames’ prompt, I re-edited the video to make a short clip but I chose mostly bloopers and awkward shots to embody the seemingly endless cosplaying of abusive power as efficient caring bodies- specifically our stupid government and pulis force cosplaying as honorable public servants. Also pulis wearing nature-blending military uniforms in the city, which are laughably soooo rampant these days, plus Sinas parading his giant toy tank to harass neighborhoods ay talagang napaka-olats.

Instead of text, I am writing a letter addressed to the useless soldier on screen which I’ll be adding to the video later on as a voice over and as supporting subtext.  Also me in ill-fitting but bedazzled camouflage uniform looking stupid trying to blend in the botanical garden is my lazy effort to subvert internalized but not self-inflicted pain caused by the patriarchy. My clumsiness—although not intentional to the shoot—is intentional here for the video because i am tired and hurt. And this global gaslighting happening all around our world is painful and personally triggering. I am dreaming of an ideal soldier who does nothing but look after plants that do not need them. A soldier who loses their function and grasp of the world that had already moved on without them.