30.4.19

MOTIONS OF THIS KIND: Propositions and Problems of Belatedness

In Sir Isaac Newton's treatise Philosophiae Mathematica (1687), there is a passage taken from the observations of voyager and astronomer Edmund Halley in which "Leuconia", the ancient Ptolemaic name of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, emerges: "There are two inlets to this port and the neighbouring channels,"writes Newton,"one from the seas of China, between the continent and the island of Leuconia; the other from the Indian sea, between the continent and the island of Borneo'. Laying out the foundations of modern science in his study of motion, universal gravitation, and planetary movement, Newton's imagistic and at times poetic description of the forces that affect us becomes strangely opaque, curiously indeterminate, when discussing the currents surrounding these distant seas. The Philippines is then passing through, appearing now in a universal law. Newton continues to describe the pull of gravity. He names the interferences of seas from India and China, the strange tide that "motions of this kind add together", yet leaves the final determination of these foreign tidal patterns to "observations on the neighbouring shores". Generating theses and experiments central to contemporary scientific thought, Newton remains stumped, bewildered by an unknowingness that only could be captured, intervened, named, and observed through the tidal motions around these distant waters. Centuries later, the Filipino scholar Ricardo Manapat uncovered this passage in his attempt to historicise the sciences and mathematics of the same group of islands that Newton refers to. For him, however, it acted as a visible vector, allowing not simply for an examination of the "rise and fall of tides" but the "historical ebb and flow of ideas" on the "side of the globe farthest from Newton". Taking Manapat's suggestion very seriously, Motions of this Kind will thus survey the time-lag towards which the lacuna in Newton's thesis alludes. The great scientist's insights into motion and gravity were also marked by a deep fissure regarding these faraway shores, sites outside the gravity, beyond the waves of his extraordinary expertise. 





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
Dimensions variable
2019

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

Yason Banal
Jon Cuyson
Lizza May David & Gabriel Rossell-Santillan
Cian Dayrit
Michelle Dizon
Eisa Jocson
Cristina Juan & Delphine Mercier
Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho
Kat Medina
Mark Salvatus

12 April - 22 June 2019
The Brunei Gallery 
School of Oriental & African Studies
University of London, Thornhaugh St Russell Square London WC1H 0XG



14.9.16

Collective Memory

Installation view
Untitled (Kerel's Self Portrait #53
Acrylic and medium on paper
29 1/2" X  43 1/2"
2016

Untitled (Happy Bandits #44)
Acrylic and medium on canvas, metal frame and light
Variable dimensions
2016

Untitled (Kerel's Self Portrait #53
Acrylic and medium on paper
29 1/2" x 43 1/2"
2016 














































Artery Art Space proudly presents “Collective Memory” from September 10 to October 1, 2016 featuring mixed media work and sculptural elements, embroidered textiles, paintings and works on paper, by Jon Cuyson, Arvin Flores, Kat Medina, and Tanya Villanueva. Reflecting on the shuffling diversity of aesthetic manner to plumb the range of subjects and interpretation, Collective Memory explores the notion of pastiche in artistic production to instigate genuine insights apart from formal parody, to become another space and tactic in developing alternate philosophies along with the formation of common cultural consciousness. 

Jon Cuyson creates a constellation of abstract tableux utilizing elements of modernism: its histories, its personalities, its frailties, and its styles, through borrowed forms from theater, readymade and personal objects that function allegorically. This mise-en-scene suggests a memory of modernism as a series of scripted gestures to be arranged, performed, and endlessly repeated. Presenting new figurative paintings using an expressionist trope, Arvin Flores portrays the iconic image of an idiosyncratic pop icon that continues to pervade the collective memory, turning media spectacle into a radical cultural performance that authenticates alienated reality with a passion for the aesthetic. Through a series of textile work called “Its Trash Until There’s a Minder”, Kat Medina embroiders text that suggestively correspond with random textile samples used for upholstery, nominally designating value back to ordinary material like subconscious truth brooding beneath the surface. In here she ponders on the words: “Jungle Fervor” (textile has animals and tribal patterns), “Steal Life” (a textile with pomegranates and leaves), “In the room” (the sample has a full-bodied elephant taking half of the composition), and, “Subtle Pressure” (Geometric pattern in rich and deep colors of green and red). Tanya Villanueva explores gesture and material with smudges and oozes of glittering membranes brandishing the walls like memorials to an ecstatic evening encounter. As part of her artistic process, Villanueva employs the method of embellishment and artificiality as a means of acting out her ideas about reality, edited memories and the discrepancies in between.




11.8.16

Dancing The Shrimp (The Tactical Improvisation of Postcolonial Space Mix)


The stage is set for scenes that rise above the surface,barely above the level. The ground circulates around the museum. In fact, the museum becomes it, surrounded by details of a moving theatre, or better still, aspects of design that make this theatre quite present though also quite elusive, dispersed like the semblance of sea around it.

The trace to history is sheer but salient. Filipino mariners in the nineteenth century jumped off the fabled Manila Galleon and settled in Saint Malo in the Louisiana bayou. This was the kernel of a community that in the 1930's morphed into the Manila Village in Barataria Bay in the Mississippi Delta by the Gulf of Mexico. From such a site came the Manila Men who took off the shells of shrimps by the nimble movement of their adroit feet, conjuring a kind of dance that is also intense, obsessive labor.


The exhibition speaks to this historical moment and restates it across a range of devices that transpose the said narrative or event and its effects. A beguiling scenography thus is created, animated by remixed music of ritual chant and electronic drone, sprawling painting, enigmatic text, costume, museum memorabilia and furniture, and the pervasive tint of blue from both fluorescent and decal. The artist performs diverse roles in making all this happen: researcher, production designer, creative director, music mixer, painter. In this heady ensemble, the tale of the Filipino seafarer named Kerel is inevitably evoked, a traveler across time zones, mired in the fine grain of work, in the silhouette of structure, in the world of water.


While the tangent of history is cast cogently, the mode of knowing is mythic, intuitive, aleatory. The body inhabits a space of fantasy, memory, and the very urgent experiment of figuring out a liquid present: the eye is fooled, the senses swim in various data (sand, mannequin, mirror), and the migrant in the museum finally faces and feels the artifice of relations, or those ties that put in place or shed those layers of self.



Dr. Patrick D. Flores

Curator
University of the Philippines
Vargas Museum



Untitled (I must admit, its getting better..)
Vinyl Decal on museum facade windows
Variable dimensions
2016







Untitled (The Village)
Site-Specific Installation
Acrylic on plywood and on museum column,sand and found museum detritus
Variable dimensions
2016
Untitled (My heart was cracked open many times, but left only the shadow of a scar as it healed)
Acrylic on canvas on plywood, metal hardware, crate, mannequin, wig, light, towel,vest, helmet,roller brush
Variable dimensions
2016
Installation View

 

Detail view
Untitled (You were my therapist back then, you know?)
Acrylic on canvas on plywood, metal, plinth, sewn fabrics, hangers,acrylic on sculpted foam,framed inkjet print,foam board, sand, Tilandsia,yoga mat
Variable dimensions
2016

Installation View




Untitled (Kerel's Self Portrait #8)
Acrylic and medium on paper
29 1/2" x 43 1/2"
2016





Untitled (And I know you're not that man,that mystical gypsy I sharpened my teeth on

and left there on the road)

Acrylic paint on plinths, acrylic on sculpted foam, metal, framed inkjet print, chair, 

borrowed museum artefacts such as wood cane,vase,book,ashtray,acrylic cases

Variable dimensions

2016
Detail view




Untitled (I was conceived when my father came home from sea...)
Acrylic on paper, acrylic on metal scaffold, platform
4 feet x 33 feet
2016

Detail view


Untitled (I want to get past the pain, but I never want to forget it..)
Acrylic on plywood, fabric curtains,curtain rods,sculpted foam,ladder, insulation tape,mirror, iTouch, speakers,2-minute looped sound piece
Variable dimensions
2016



Detail view

Installation View



Untitled (The dust of the enchanted miles sticks in my throat,muddy, and brings quiet to the rage)
Acrylic on canvas on plywood, hardware, sculpted foam, motor, sand, mannequin, gloves, dust mask,
sewn fabric , vest, lights, acrylic wall stickers
Variable dimensions
2016

Performance


Collaborative performance with Daloy Dance Company