Archive for the ‘Filipino’ Category


Monday, July 26th, 2010

Heads up, FOMOBs*! Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. videos are now on Vimeo! (It’s like Youtube, but better, and without deranged stalker 12 year old trolls having comment wars).

I’d had the photo documentation of our work on Wofflehouse for a while, but had never gotten the video thing sorted. Eliza/Neneng, bless her soul, recently belled the cat and finally got a bunch of our video work from 1997-2005 online for your entertainment (and ours).


Here are a couple of choice pieces from notre oeuvre (give the Frankenstein one a few secs to get going):

Mail Order Bride of Frankenstein from Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. on Vimeo

Always A Bridesmaid Never a Bride™ INFOMERCIALS from Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. on Vimeo.

(*=Friends of Mail Order Brides.)

image making

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Over the past couple of weeks, I finally got around to adding a couple of ridiculous new image galleries to Wofflehouse, in the PHOTOS section. It’s a section of the website that I’ve semi-neglected, largely because it’s more for personal amusement, less for professional advancement. Also, I’ve increasingly used this blog, as well as my Facebook account, for sharing photos instead.

The galleries are both pretty deadpan:



Anyway, I got more pleasure than anticipated out of putting together these 2 series of photos, and plan on doing much more of this soon. I’ve been reflecting on  a few things, due to this.

First, I take for granted how integrated photography is into my life, and often forget that it is its own creative endeavor due to this. I took my first photography class at an art college in San Francisco when I was 15, and continued taking photo courses and educating myself about the history of photography throughout high school and college. I also worked in one-hour photo labs for ten years of my life. While I’ve rarely exhibited my photos, every Mail Order Brides/M.O.B. project was dependent on both Eliza’s and my photographic expertise. And somehow, I’ve still never taken my relationship to photographic image-making too seriously.

Second, something happened during the shift from film to digital. I stopped working at the photolab in 2000, which ended my many years of getting to purchase and print 35 mm film cheaply and easily. Also, this era was the beginning of the demise of many photolabs, due to increased consumer interest in digital. I had a beautiful Nikon SLR that suddenly stopped getting employed as regularly due to this. While I continued taking it on trips, it was far too bulky to justify carrying around for casual daily use. Also, I was unenthusiastic about compact snapshot cameras, disdaining them as something for amateurs. It wasn’t until I got my first little digital camera in 2005 that I could tote something with ease anywhere and everywhere, but this was still basically just a digital version of aforementioned-disdained-snappy cam. Given my latent photo-snob tendencies, I fell into my own trap for a little bit of not taking my own use of them as anything other than amateur, despite how many more images I was actually making. (And what’s wrong with amateur, anyway?)

Third, the digital camera thing has done a couple of things to image-making by both liberating it and cheapening it. Making a pile of photographic images is now next to free (unless you print it, which is done less and less): you’re only limited by the amount of memory your camera/card has. It also comes with the instant gratification of reviewing images on the display immediately after taking them. This is great, but has also led to a sort of bloated, un-edited glut of images. And it has removed the mystery, and delicious anticipation of what might lie on a roll of film. Anything truly special often gets lost in the shuffle, or not appreciated as much, as it once might have. (This is, of course, both good and bad, as it’s also weeded out the over-fetishization of actually-kind-of-mundane images.)

Fourth, I’ve had an often-difficult year creatively since the move, insofar as making other kinds of art (painting, drawing, video–the things I usually exhibit), and even blogging, at times. I’ve struggled with what to express, at times. But what I’ve only just realized is that I’ve been doing an extraordinary amount of photography instead, and its function has subtly shifted to become more diaristic and expressive. Also self-entertaining. It’s also very much used for “note-taking”: for quickly recording something that I may want to address in a different medium, later down the line. For the many moments where I’ve been at a loss for words, or been unable to figure out how to make a drawing of something I’ve been feeling, the camera has been my immediate, often taken-for-granted companion, instead.

In Bogliasco, I think I figured a bit of this out. My shutter-bugging got truly excessive there, given the circumstances. And the other Fellows trusted/tolerated the presence of my camera at every meal and outing: I became the de-facto embedded photojournalist for our group, and put together a big Flickr archiv of images- sort of a collective visual diary of our time there. In the prior couple of entries here on Wofflings, I also realized I was using the camera differently: not so much documenting the world-at-large, more using it to give a different visual voice to things I’d been really thinking about.

I woke up this morning, thinking about it, so I thought I’d write out a few thoughts before they evaporated. It’s not all so serious, of course: I think any woman driven to compulsively document porta-potties can’t really get too Susan Sontag about her photographic endeavors.

from kamuning to london

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Support Green Papaya Art Projects!
Buy one of these two amazing sets for a mere $30 USD, and send the crew from one of the best independent art spaces in the world from the PI to the UK!

(How genius is this design, BTW? The Philippine flag mash-up with the the Union Jack? FRESH.)

This, from the GPAP gang:




Minimum Yields Maximum!

Friday, February 19th, 2010
Ooh, if I could just teleport to LA for a few hours for this exhibition! Galleonista Gina Osterloh has organized a fantastic show featuring many members of our talented Manila/Cali barkada, as well as some other phenomenal suspects from other edges of the Pacific rim. The show opens this Saturday, February 20, 7-10 pm, at Monte Vista Projects.

Monte Vista is pleased to announce Minimum Yields Maximum, a group exhibition curated by LA-based artist Gina Osterloh, featuring work by artists from the Philippines, Vietnam, and Los Angeles. Along with the exhibition, Monte Vista will host a book release event for Sarita See’s (Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies, University of Michigan) new book The Decolonized Eye: Filipino American Art and Performance. All of the author proceeds will go to the environmental justice organization FACES (Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity).

The artists in Minimum Yields Maximum work through a conceptual lens that considers everyday materials, and often engages greater social inquiries—a type of art practice that is both wide-ranging and inclusive. Many of the artists from the Philippines have studied and/or collaborated with artist and teacher Roberto Chabet. Perhaps this exhibition is a reminder that the Philippines has never hailed a singular geographical identity. It is also an appeal to shift art history, to consider a conceptual and political art model that includes the Pacific Rim. Most importantly, as an artist, curator Osterloh has felt a strong resonance between the selected works from Manila and those from the United States. The works in this exhibition refuse to be easily identified or placed geographically. Instead, they build upon structures of loss, humor, rupture, trauma, and obliteration.

More information about the exhibition is at

philippine handicrafts around the world

Monday, February 15th, 2010

From Hawaii to Hong Kong to North Carolina to Florida to Italy, I love that I can find authentic regional seaside shell handicrafts (actually crafted in the P.I.), anywhere in the world. I’ve seen these exact same designs my entire life: I can picture them in every souvenir shop in Manila I’ve ever been in since I was small.

In the U.S., legally they have to leave a “Made in the Philippines” tag on the merch, but not in Italy, apparently…These, from a shop in the coastal town of Nervi.

Scavenging the Cultural Apocalypse

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Well, as long as we’re on the subject of creative exchange between the US and the Philippines, let’s take a second to embrace this event, which doesn’t involve any Michael Jackson DVD promotion. At least, I don’t think.

It’s happening this Saturday in Manila at Carlos Celdran’s beloved Living Room/Syquia Apts (ground zero for Galleon Trade 2007‘s shenanigans), involving some folks I absolutely adore and miss to pieces:

Music of the Lost Cities: Scavenging the Cultural Apocalypse

(A Networked Sound and Visual Jam)

FEB 6 — 20:00, Living Room, Syquia Apartments

“Lost Cities” is a psycho-geographical, mixed-media narrative that explores pre and post apocalyptic urban landscapes and architectural backdrops through imaginary characters named “the sub-colonials” who move, dance, and tread through these past, futurist, and surreal environments. Collaborators in the project, that involves interactive computer-generated sound and video, are Chris Brown (Sound) and Johanna Poethig (Visuals) from Oakland, California; and Tad Ermitaño (Visuals), Caliph8 (Sound) and Malek Lopez (Sound) from Manila.
They will present their work-in-progress and discuss its artistic intentions and technical implementation with the audience.

Presenting the Oakland-Manila Art Exchange:

Chris Brown, composer, pianist, and electronic musician, creates music for acoustic instruments with interactive electronics, for computer networks, and for improvising ensembles. Recent recordings of his music include “Boundary Layer”, a 3-CD box set of new and old computer network music by The Hub, on Tzadik, “Cutter Heads “, duets with Fred Frith on Intakt, “Talking Drum”, binaural recordings of interactive installations interleaved with environmental soundscapes on Sonore; and “Lava”, for brass percussion and electronics on Tzadik. He is also known for his recorded performances of music by Henry Cowell, Luc Ferrari, Jose Maceda, David Rosenboom, Larry Ochs, Wadada Leo Smith, and John Zorn. He has also performed and recorded extensively with The Hub, Anthony Braxton, Pauline Oliveros, Fred Frith, Rova Saxophon Quartet, Ikue Mori, Alvin Curran, William Winant, Glenn Spearman Double Trio, among others. In 2005 he created TeleSon, a composition for two ReacTable instruments performed in a joint concert between Ars Electronic in Linz, Austria and the International Computer Music Conference in Barcelona, Spain. He teaches electronic music and composition at Mills College in Oakland, where he is Co-Director of the Center for Contemporary Music (CCM).

Tad Ermitaño, media artist, writer and filmmaker. As far as the media art goes, he is interested in algorithmic/procedural editing and composition, new uses for the moving image and have been lately drifting into elementary robotics. His work “Quartet” was exhibited in the recently concluded International Symposium for Electronic Arts (ISEA) in Singapore.

Johanna Poethig, a visual, public and performance artist who has exhibited internationally and has been actively creating public art works, murals, paintings, sculpture and multimedia installations for over 20 years. She has worked in collaboration with other artists, architects, urban planners, design teams, arts commissions, specific communities and cultural groups. Poethig’s public art works intervene in the urban landscape, in neighborhoods, on freeways, in parks, hospitals, schools, homeless shelters, cultural centers, advertising venues and public buildings. She has received numerous commissions and awards for this work. Her paintings, sculpture and installations reflect her interest in satire, symbol, human nature, society and our consumerist culture. She has produced and participated in performance events that mix feminism, global politics, costume, props, cabaret, experimental music and video.

Malek Lopez, Berklee-trained virtuoso who is the principal composer for the band Drip, and half of the abrasive electronica duo Rubber Inc, who are responsible for establishing electronica in Manila. He is also a well-noted film composer.

Caliph8, beat smith, graffiti bomber and soothsayer. A lynch-pin of various groups and ensembles, he’s probably the most sought after sound manipulator in the Philippines. His output extends to more than just sniffing aerosol paint and flexing wrists with fat markers–he also creates visuals and projects them while manipulating audio and creates sound collage.

Feb. 6 — 8 PM

at the Living Room in Syquia Apts., MH del Pilar, Malate
Hosted by Living Room (Carlos Celdran) and SABAW Media Art Kitchen


The foulest stench is in the air, the funk of forty thousand years

Friday, February 5th, 2010

You know, when you extract song lyrics, they sometimes end up seeming almost…Shakespearean.
And speaking of tragedies, this travesty of choreography is just too much to bear.

Everyone’s a dance critic, I know, but I’m sorry: how many kinds of wrong can this be?

It’s well-known how obsessed I am with the Cebu Prisoners (aka the Dancing Inmates), and as far as I’m concerned, Byron Garcia is the Zhang Yimou of my imaginary Philippines Olympics Opening Ceremonies. But THIS wretchedness, wrought by an interloper, is just not making the cut with me.

Apparently, Michael Jackson was a fan of the dancing prisoners (as well he should have been). In the aftermath of his passing, and the posthumous release of the concert film “This Is It” in theaters and then DVD, Cebu prison program head Garcia was convinced to yield his reins to Michael Jackson’s primary choreographer Travis Payne, which in theory would be the logical conclusion and culmination of the Cebu Prisoners-Michael Jackson nexus. Perhaps symbolically it still is: incaracerated individuals with little to no personal agency dancing out pop imperialist promotional material….I really don’t know where this leaves notions of a prison-industrial complex. Maybe just prison complex.  Or complex prison choreography. Something.

There’s really just too much for me to write about the following, so here are my general first impressions:

  1. Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” in Halloween colors
  2. ultra-creepy military formations
  3. tight regimentation really ruins all the fun
  4. moves that might have been jazzy on a 98 lb weakling alone center stage do not have quite the same effect when employed by a handful of beefy american showboaters surrounded by hundreds of prisoners marching lock-step
  5. once again, filipinos become the backdrops for someone else’s fantasia
  6. lighting and video quality is better: I will concede only this
  7. the bizarro parading-about of a Martin Luther King placard in some sort of cross-promotion for civil liberties in prison could seem symbolically appropriate under certain circumstances, but here = wack and exploitative in the worst way
  8. sorry: orange pants only look good with orange shirts in this situation
  9. Unbelievably lame t-shirts promoting the the DVD release worse than prison uniforms
  10. white MJ rorschach blob on shirts looks like A, dead silverfish, B, texas longhorns logo, C, horsehead skull, D, all of the above
  11. disco moves could be put to far better use
  12. no zombies, nuns or trannies = lame
  13. “pubic triangle” formation of probably little relevance to either Jackson or the inmates
  14. a peace symbol formed by prisoners all shaking their fists in the air just seems plain wrong.
  15. What I really wanna know is: When’s the Wonder Girls DVD release going to happen?

“Some things in life they just don’t wanna see
But if Martin Luther was livin’
He wouldn’t let this beeeee….”


Sunday, December 20th, 2009

The year in review! OK, the past few months, anyway. Still have some leftovers to address here before a fresher batch of woffles can be served. While I haven’t been doing my usual writing about shows I’ve been in, this is not because I haven’t been showing in the past few months. I guess that I still equate the palpable “real-ness” of an exhibition with my ability to actually attend the exhibition’s opening reception, or see the show in person. Very quaintly analog of me.

Fight, No Flight at Manilatown Center, San Francisco

How perfect is it that I got to show some of the “Flor 1973-78” prints at the legendary International Hotel? Especially the poster below”¦I also had the pleasure of meeting my co-show-ers (is that a word?) Diana Diroy and Aisha Heredia in advance of the exhibition, which was still a treat.

This & That, Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco

Christine Wong Yap organized/curated an exhibition-within-an-exhibition for “Socially, Involved”, where she created an amazing international mail-art exchange project. I swear. That woman runs circles around me when it comes to being organized and thinking big. Anyway, I contributed the drawing below:

And then received this brilliant piece by Susan Chen after the exhibition ended:

Art On Market Street, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek

Finally! My parents went to an opening of mine without having to drive more than 10 minutes from home! This was a selection of posters from SFAC’s Market Street program over the past decade or so. The gallery couldn’t include everyone who participated, so I’m grateful to have been included. While the MOB‘s 1998 posters weren’t there, for example, my 2008 Flor posters were. SFAC reprinted a few of them, and hung them quite close to the entrance of the gallery, which was nice to hear.

Stick With the Enemy, Mo_Space, Manila

MM Yu, Poklong Anading and some of my other friends there organized a very democratic, open-invitation exhibition of sticker-based art. I sent in a few original drawings and paintings made directly on adhesive label sheets, and MM then made some of them into printed stickers from files I sent her. The top image was actually 4 stickers: I cleaned up the seams so that MM could print this one more easily. The pink-ish image at the throat is a silhouette of the Czech Republic.

As The Plot Thickens, Manila Contemporary, Makati, Philippines

It was a little touch-and-go with this show due to some shipping logistics, and I wasn’t entirely sure that it was going to happen until pretty close to the wire, but I’m so glad it did. Manila Contemporary is a gorgeous new venue, and Sidd Perez, the curator, was so fantastic and diligent. The show really came together beautifully in the end. It was an honor to get to show with Brenda Fajardo, RM de Leon, and Stefanus Surya Wirawan. I presented 5 new paintings from my new “MacArthur Nurse” series.
MN pushing
pearl det
as the plot tickens 015

So that’s it for the 2nd half of 2009…I’m looking forward to seeing what else comes up in 2010.
The great Samantha Chanse is coming to Prague in January, which seems like a great creative kick-off to the year. We’re both already conspiring on a collaborative piece we’ll do while she’s in town. No other major shows officially confirmed yet, but I’m really looking forward to the artist residency I’m undertaking at the Liguria Study Center in Italy in Feb-March, where I’ll be focusing on a new body of work: a teaser sketch for the impending ridiculousness here:

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

underwater overseas

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Ugh. I am NOT happy to be returning to Wofflings with more tragic news from the Philippines. Earlier this week, the Philippines was hit by Tropical Storm Ketsana (known locallly as Ondoy): the devastation is on par, and by most accounts, worse, than Hurricane Katrina (the only storm that most US folks know much of anything about), and is the worst flooding that the greater Manila area has seen in 40 years. Ketsana has moved on to wreak havoc in Vietnam, but now there’s another typhoon on its way into the region, so the Philippines and its neighbors are in for another brutal punishing.


Once again, I’m finding myself glued to Facebook and other more immediate streams of information, because the news has done a lousy job of covering these events sufficiently. It’s absolutely heart-breaking, seeing photos of areas I know well, that my friends and family live in, so surreally submerged, and seeing minute-by-minute updates of which friends on FB are coordinating relief efforts, who’s been trapped by the floods, who’s safe…it’s overwhelming, to say the least.

There is no Filipino community in Prague that’s coordinating relief shipments like other parts of Europe, so I’m not sure what I can do from here beside donate money. A number of my Pinoy artist friends and I are trying to figure out how best to help, either now or in the long term. In the meantime, folks abroad are donating to Philippine Red Cross and Unicef, sponsoring balikbayan boxes  of goods (thank you, LBC, for donating shipping), and scrambling to find ways to help from a distance.


It’s bad times all around in South East Asia and the Pacific right now: with the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Samoa and Indonesia juggling the lethal combination of typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis, I’d say make a donation to your favorite international aid agency, do a little praying (if that’s your thing), and find any way you can to contribute.

Here’s is Google’s page/map for updates on Philippines victims of Ketsana:

Here are 2 links for money donations:
Red Cross Philippines:
and clearly, there are many countries in need of immediate support, so donating to more than just the Philippines would be tremendously helpful right now.

Here’s a comprehensive, helpful Ondoy FAQ list from my friend Tengal’s blog:

Prague had a massive flood back in 2002: I know it was disastrous here, too, but none of the photos I’ve seen seem even remotely as devastating as what’s happening in Asia right now.



Thursday, August 6th, 2009

I should probably be posting about my experiences here in Prague, but right now I’m still reflecting on the last few days of media spectacle in Manila. For those of you who didn’t understand my cryptic “1933-2009″ photo post from yesterday, it was put up in honor of the passing and funeral of Corazon Aquino, former president of the Philippines (the “L” being the LABAN sign. Erm, not “Loser”.)
The significance she holds for so many Filipinos is more than I can capably explain in-depth, but here and here are a couple of quick links to more articles.  I can only say for myself that I grew up in the era where Ninoy (Cory’s husband) Aquino’s assassination, the ousting of the Marcoses, and Cory’s surreal, cinematic rise to the Philippine presidency were formative moments in Philippine history, and my childhood, and her death is something like the end of an era.
As with Michael Jackson (well, sort of), there are still some questionable aspects to Cory’s saga that not everyone can get behind, but it’s still been overwhelming, witnessing the incredible international outpouring of emotion for her passing, and how it seems to have galvanized people. (To what end, I know not.)

A friend of mine had posted a link to the GMA7 livestream of Mrs. Aquino’s memorial and funeral, and I didn’t realize upon clicking through on it how utterly sucked in I’d be. Seeing thousands of Filipinos lining the streets of Manila for hours, humbly paying their last tributes to a woman whom many still see as the last true conscience the Philippines had, was incredibly touching. There were also the layers, as iconic, historic images of Corazon Aquino galvanizing people to take to the streets played out one last time in her death.

Picture 2
Picture 25

I spent the next few days with the livestream on whenever I was on the computer: not even necessarily watching it, but just letting the ambient sounds of the viewing, wake and procession (street traffic, prayers, shuffling, music, speeches, cheers) from the nonstop broadcast play in the background. It was comforting, somehow: feeling connected to the moment, feeling connected to other Filipinos all around the world, as well.

New media theory-heads have already been furiously writing about it, I’m sure, but one of the most fascinating aspects of the livestream was its integration with other kinds of livefeed, related news and video, Facebook, and Twitter. It’s not as if other sites haven’t done this before, but in light of the Philippine diaspora, and Emily Ignacio’s writings on Filipinos and the internet, I feel like this takes on another couple of shades. And when I think of other masses-of-people, live-TV events I’ve watched (various Olympics, demonstrations, Diana’s funeral, Obama’s inauguration), they’ve always been accompanied by various types of canned professional commentary. The integration of Facebook and Twitter was phenomenal, seeing various peoples’ world-wide status updates and commentary roll in on the sidebars, while the unedited video of the slow procession, and the rituals in Manila Cathedral and the Memorial cemetery played on and on, inter-cut every once in a while with old footage of Mrs. Aquino’s triumphant moments and interviewed recollections.

Picture 5

Picture 9
Picture 47
Picture 17
Picture 22
Picture 28
Picture 24
This was a humongous spectacle, somehow reduced to a personal scale. While there are the generally amazing/creepy aspects of something so intimate as a family’s grief suddenly becoming the entire world’s real-time close-up, it seems that most people felt grateful for being able to share the moment, and share their emotions, too.  The whole thing was a massive, multi-day extravaganza: I’m still chewing on my experience of it critically, but sentimentally, I was absolutely absorbed by its poignancy.

Last summer, I was similarly compelled by the NY Times coverage of photographer Paul Fusco’s book RFK Funeral Train. Similarly, there’s something so affecting and tender and poignant about seeing throngs of people lining up to pay their respects. But there’s also something harder for me to put my finger on, which has more to do with the way in which these moments are documented.

When I was still working in one-hour photo labs as a college kid, I was always fascinated by the momentous (and not-so-momentous) events that people chose to photograph: the only time I ever remember someone bringing in massive amounts of incredibly intimate negatives to develop of a family funeral was a Filipino customer, though. Hm.

Come to think: there are these, from my own family archive.