A hundred times ajar is an unfinished catalog of debris of various sizes and material, often with layers of paint or fragments of tiles, found and collected during walks and tambay, around buildings and houses, in parking lots and backyards. They are never purposefully searched for; selection depends simply on whether I notice one with sufficient interest and if it is light enough to carry.
I am drawn to common rocks and debris because of how unspectacular they are, perceived as valueless and inert, common to the point of invisibility, but have potential to be loaded with meaning. They can be activated towards violence and destruction, or quietly occur as remnants of built and lived spaces.
What prods the inconsequential gesture of continuing and documenting this collection is how these objects trace and are traces of structures and spaces I cannot name or no longer exist. In keeping, recording, and presenting them, they operate as artifacts of the larger site that is Metro Manila where I have always lived but cannot claim as known, embracing how they do not provide substantial clues or carry any concrete meaning.
A Public Collection of the Hidden but Familiar:
Accidental Intersections of Aesthetics and the Everyday
Tropikalye exists to document overlooked and underrepresented Filipino cultures of the present day. These cultures are everything in between the realms of the indigenous and the socio-economic elite - a speculated post-folk gray area that evolved from a more homogenous and rural folk culture. Through its gathering and presentation of personal observations made about the community by the community, vernacular wisdom is not lost to the wind.
From a digital space, the Tropikalye online index is extended to a physical one through A Public Collection of the Hidden but Familiar. With the exhibition format’s narrative capacities, enhanced by the co-presence of object and visitor, a new curiosity about creativity in the margins of society is anticipated. Recognizing the potential contributions to wider cultural development, the project’s goal is to introduce ‘hidden but familiar’ ways of life into mainstream consciousness.
In its first staging, A Public Collection features work by Filipino artists taking cues from the vernacular landscape, providing an initial survey of what it means to live in tropical and postcolonial conditions.
A Public Collection of the Hidden but Familiar
Group exhibition curated by Nice Buenaventura / Tropikalye
Limbo, Makati City
19 January - 16 February 2019