UP Vargas Museum

“Place of Region in the Contemporary” Initial project of the Philippine Contemporary Art Network (PCAN)

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Place of Region in the Contemporary
Initial project of the Philippine Contemporary Art Network (PCAN)
8 December 2017 – 27 January 2018
Opening Reception: 8 December (Friday) at 4pm
Vargas Museum, University of the Philippines

UP Vargas Museum opens Place of Region in the Contemporary, the first project of the Philippine Contemporary Art Network (PCAN) built through three nodes in a network: Knowledge Production and Circulation; Exhibition and Curatorial Analysis; Public Engagement and Artistic Formation. The project endeavors to activate a network to coordinate a range of interventions in contemporary art in the Philippines and to cast a sharper profile for it on an inter-local and trans-regional scale. It is keen to confront the requirements of research and discourse; curate art and subject the curatorial gesture to critique; and propose modes of catalyzing the public sphere of art and in the process harness the energies of its agents.

 

Patrick D. Flores, director of PCAN, introduces the project Place of Region in the Contemporary with an anthology of artist-curator Raymundo Albano’s texts, alongside his poetry and curatorial and graphic design. It addresses the concerns of Albano in the intersecting fields of the creative, the critical, the cultural, and the curatorial. It is to these that Albano speaks: the discourse and practice of art making and instilling it with presence in the world of ideas, exhibitions, and the particularities of lived life.

Roberto G. Paulino coordinates the Knowledge Production and Circulation component of PCAN. For Place of Region in the Contemporary, Paulino initiates an archival research on Philippine artists Jess Ayco (1916-1982), Santiago Bose (1949-2002), Abdulmari Imao (1936-2014), and Junyee (Luis Yee Jr) (born 1942). Born or based in the regions of Bacolod, Baguio, Jolo, and Los Baños, the artists represent the disparate conditions and production in Philippine modern and contemporary art.

The Exhibition and Curatorial Analysis node of PCAN is coordinated by Tessa Maria Guazon. An exhibition is presented to explore ideas of the region and the different “practices of placeness” in Philippine contemporary art by tracing numerous strains of place making in the works of artists from different localities across the Philippines. Collateral activities are organized with the exhibition, including a discussion platform to examine impulses underlying the curatorial —those that frame and activate localities in their assertion of claims to place against an overarching globality.

Within the frame of Public Engagement and Artistic Formation, coordinator Renan Laru-an outlines the ground for accumulating and reviewing resources (institutions/infrastructures) and references (actors/agents) for the research direction of PCAN. Initially, it elects three ecologies of practices: Los Baños through the Philippine High School for the Arts and the International Rice Research Institute; Siliman University as an interface to liberal (arts) education in Southern Philippines; Aga Khan Museum of Islamic Art at Mindanao State University through the journal archives of the Institute of Islamic Studies at University of the Philippines, Diliman.

Place of Region in the Contemporary was made possible by the guidance, vision, and logistical support of Senator Loren Legarda.

Latest activity announcements of PCAN’s Place of Region in the Contemporary will be posted on our official Facebook page: http://fb.me/vargasmuseum.upd. For more information, please contact Vargas Museum at (+632) 981-8500 loc. 4024 (UP trunkline), (+632) 928-1925 (telefax) or vargasmuseum@gmail.com. You may also check our website at http://vargasmuseum.upd.edu.ph, and Instagram and Twitter accounts.

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About Jorge B. Vargas Museum

It aims to preserve its collection donated by Jorge B. Vargas and conducts research, exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. The Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center houses a museum, archives, and library devoted to the Philippine history, art, and culture from the late 19th century until the post-war era. Its main beneficiaries are students, faculty, researchers and scholars of the Philippines and Asia.

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"Transpersonal, instructions" is an invitation to participants to experiment with the boundaries between accepted notions of authorship and audience expectation—to play with the performativity of their roles and rethink the various modes of attention they are setting up. Merlinda Bobis is featured in "Transpersonal, instructions" through her works "River, River" and "An Altar for the Desaparecidos." In the video, she performs a retrieval in her one-woman play which she adapted from her novel "Fish-Hair Woman" (2012) and performed in Australia, Philippines, Spain, US, Canada and Singapore (2009-2014). This short film is a document of the 2008 creative development of "River, River" towards a possible community play in collaboration with Filipino migrants in Campbelltown and the Illawarra (New South Wales, Australia) including the Bitabara family, and with filmmaker Virginia Hilyard, sound artist Jane Ulman, composer Sarah de Jong and the Campbelltown Arts Center. "River, River" is a story of mourning and remembering to restore the disappeared to their loved ones during a war that happened more than three decades ago. But this weeping-singing continues to this day and across geographies to retrieve all our beloved lost to war and armed conflict, to summary executions and extra-judicial killings, and to the mindless violation of the lives, well-being and dignity of humans and non-humans alike. We retrieve the bodies, we restore the river.
A few copies of TK Sabapathy's "Writing the Modern" are still available. To purchase, please contact Veronica at 928-1927 during office hours.
ADVISORY: The museum will be closed tomorrow, 16 January 2019, Wednesday, from 12 noon onwards for maintenance. Regular hours resume on Thursday.
"Transpersonal, instructions" is on view at the 1F and 3F Galleries until 1 February 2019. For group tour bookings, please contact vargasmuseum@gmail.com. "Transpersonal, instructions" is an evolving transnational research project that engages with public lectures, exhibition making, education, sonic scores and publishing in contemporary art. The exhibition arises from a series of public lectures at the ICA in London on the production of psychotechnologies, cyber addictions, material feminisms, citizenship and bioinsecurity. "Transpersonal, instructions" encourages a binding thread that resists and resets a world view on uneasiness. It is partly proposing a challenge to the current world order by providing a window into anthropological entanglements, for example those affecting indigenous lives. Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen are London-based artists working across objects, installation, and film. Their practice explores processes of production as cultural, social and political practices; following geological, geopolitical and biological strains within the manufactured landscape to create work that questions the context of its own becoming.
Elizabeth Povinelli of the Karrabing Film Collective gave the keynote address at the "Transpersonal>Postnormal Times", a symposium held on 15 December 2018. This program is the collateral activity of the exhibition "Transpersonal, instructions" which is on view at the Vargas Museum until 1 February 2019.
The Vargas Museum Permanent Art Collection at the 2F Main Gallery is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 9am-5pm. For group tour bookings, please send your inquiries to vargasmuseum@gmail.com.

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