Observatory Image

Apr 7 - Apr 28, 2014

Issay Rodriguez

Observatory is a backyard astronomy art project motivated and inspired by Dr. Dante L. Ambrosio’s contribution to the sky culture in the Philippines. It is an attempt to recognize star patterns and familiarize oneself with its indigenous names which are almost inaccessible, if not insignificant, to our generation’s contemporary realities.

Using a makeshift camping tent made of sleeping blankets pitched in our backyard for a few nights of skywatching, I wondered if aiming for accuracy ever dulled the experience of looking at the sky with the naked eye. Embodying the nature of an astronomer, I surveyed the skies for answers and pondered on how these things made sense to our my ancestors, as they called them after coconut trees, heroes, insects, fishes, goats and kamote crops. It simply amazed me how these names, that is part of our collective history, extends beyond our lifetimes.

These asterisms are what I attempt to capture in my illustrations and photographs. As they move across a limitless sky, I witness the stories and memories of our shared past.


Event Horizon Image

Event Horizon
Apr 7 - Apr 28, 2014

Rene Bituin

Event Horizon is a term in general relativity that describes the boundary, particularly of a black hole, where things that occur within cannot possibly affect an outside observer. I have used this as a metaphor for the absolute solitude that we, as individuals, must confront in our existence. Although our emotions, experiences and dispositions can be shared and transmuted to our immediate community, we are left to understand its effects solely from our own perspectives.

My visual elements are composed of created and geometrical forms paired with organic and natural structures. This contrast and correlation between the tangible and physical, and the infinities of ideal constructs are the subjects that have fascinated my attention.


Broke: Fog Image

Broke: Fog
Apr 7 - Apr 28, 2014

Broke asked a small group of designers and artists: What if Nordic designers like Alvar Aalto, Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen and their peers who all helped establish the Scandinavian Design aesthetic felt obliged to pay homage to their Viking past and labored to incorporate their motifs, myths, materials in their designs? Would the whole Scandinavian movement that we now know and appreciate have happened? Could the designs have reached their lasting and iconic status? Did the designers actually break free from tradition or did they just focus on certain aspects of their culture (i.e. rationality, craftsmanship, respect for material, et al.)? If so, could lessons about deviating from the norms of history be learned from this?

We ask these questions in an attempt to shed light on our own dilemma. Most conversations about Filipino design (and art for that matter) would still inevitably touch upon the issue of Filipino Identity, whether there is such a thing and on how we can actually define it.  An appeal to delve deep into what makes us unique as a people seems to curiously always fall back on the continuous use of indigenous fibers and materials, a celebration of folklore and other regional and tribal tales and motifs or a wholesale graphic cooptation of some abstract elements of nationhood, like our geographical map, flag and even our national heroes--solutions quite favored by governmental and corporate bodies bent on exuding a nationalistic aura. Most of the people that we talked to have at one point experienced being labeled as non-Filipino or too western oriented at the slightest deviation from this approach. Still, we can’t help but sense that this preferred modus compensates for a latent insecurity.

We do not propose to have the answers. This reimagined mid-century Scandi-Viking integration could very well be flat-out absurd as it collapses more than a thousand years of history. However, it can also result in some interesting pieces that could indeed point to the next trend in international design. Maybe this whole exercise would prove that we are actually ahead of our time. Who knows?


No Image