Working with a group of eleven artists hailing from or focussing on the Philippines-a global locus of passage and flux - Motions of this Kind traverses the historical and contemporary forces that link this archipelago with other key spheres of social, political and economic power. It also seeks to determine the various "propositions and problems" emphasised by the latency of Newton's knowledge. Through placing the theme as both concept, reference, and argument, the project examines how time and contemporaneity move as turbulent eddies rather than smooth rivers, creating as Homi Bhabha termed it, "ambivalent [...] disjunctive temporalities". Time and space are drawn together into tidal currents that can both hasten and delay circulation, disrupt or enable new pathways to emerge.
The eleven artists featured in Motions of this Kind diagram the relationships of movement and the politics of speed from, within, and between these neighbouring shores. From Yason Banal's installation that literally slows down the Brunei Gallery WIFI to Jon Cuyson's exploration of Filipino migrant workers. From Lizza May David & Gabriel Rossell-Santillan's ocean-crossing search for the Bauhinia leaf to Cian Dayrit's counter-cartographic rotation of North and South axes. From Eisa Jocson's exploration of performed happiness in the international service industry to Michelles Dizon's trans-temporal study of reparation, restitution, and resistance. From Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho's fragmentary notes on queerness and Modernism, Catholicism and Communism to Kat Medina's play between concreteness and craftsmanship, the figurative and abstract. And finally Mark Salvatus' much-delayed reprisal of the 1910 Lucban Carnival. These works engage with a belatedness that asserts itself as a rich terrain, not a linear judgement. The hierarchy of before and after, the hegemony of master and slave, the strictures of cause and effect are openly refuted. In this line of resistance, the need to anchor a nation as one fixed thing is also rejected. The state of belatedness is a methodology in itself, a narrative of its own. Interrogating the puzzling gravitational pulls outside the eye of history, unchartered motions are uncovered, refiguring knowledge of neighbouring shores, a speculative mapping beyond the eye of the dominant record.
Dancing The Shrimp (whodoyouthinkyouare?)
Multivariable installation with found, borrowed and purchased objects, sculpture, sound, fabrics, drawings and texts
The attitude of bruteness moving against the depth and force of the ocean was initially captured in Jon Cuyson's Kerel (2015), a film proposal fragmented into overlapping forms and media that resurface Genet's and Fassbinder's Querelle from and into the body of a Filipino seafarer. The same torso reappears, multiplied and frozen in an archival image of Filipino immigrants in a fishing village in 19th century Louisiana. Two pictures reveal the skill and reflex of ordinary men's extremities: Kerel's hand with AK47 and the migrants' feet with shrimp shells. Both depiction and documentation of agility and adroitness form Jon Cuyson's ongoing study of (male) subjectivity in spaces and temporalities afforded to the postcolonial. The new scenography continues to render Dancing The Shrimp...as a transnational and modular tableaux through the paternal heritage of British military occupation in Manila.
In this new commission that appropriates the popular show Who Do You Think You Are?, Cuyson traces his filial links with an English military personnel, drafted in the Philippine capital, and later stationed in the neighbouring province of Pampanga where the artist grew up next to a (now repurposed) US military base along the contested West Philippine Sea. Dancing The Shrimp (whodoyouthinkyouare?) stages the artist's tactical test of paternity as assembly of "echoing references and correspondences" that visually renders objects into a biography of fictions and personification of histories. In circumventing genealogical investigation, the work smuggles a concurrent contaminant to the valorised conception of filial connection as a source of solidarity and history, and to the legacy of strength-associated with maleness-as a forefather of resistance and emancipation. This critico-fictional import twists into tangents of the postcolonial and the modern: a remix of audaciously camp male transitioning to figures and references capable of torturing old meanings and conceiving new narratives. - Renan Laru-an
MOTIONS OF THIS KIND
Propositions and Problems of Belatedness
Curated by Merv Espina, Renan Laru-an and Rafael Schacter
Lizza May David & Gabriel Rossell-Santillan
Cristina Juan & Delphine Mercier
Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho
12 April - 22 June 2019
The Brunei Gallery
School of Oriental & African Studies
University of London, Thornhaugh St Russell Square London WC1H 0XG