Himmel über them lonesome cities

Victor Balanon
Bea Camacho
Vermont Coronel Jr.
Tad Ermitaño
Nathalie Dagmang
Jonathan Olazo
Indy Paredes
Jose Luis Singson

Saturday, June 2, 2018, 6 pm

2 June to 30 June 2018

Can we feel at home in the city we live in? What is life in a metropolis like if a sense of home is scattered? The proximity of strangers. Aliens speaking in different, incomprehensible tongues. The omnipresence of cacophonic noise. The perennial traffic jams (distance measured in time instead of space), air pollution and road rage. Shopping malls as so called public spaces. How do we
navigate everyday urban life? How do we attempt to carve out a home we crave for? Do we have the luxury to entertain hope?

The first part of the exhibition title is an allusion to a movie by German director Wim Wenders, whose movie influenced movies made in the US and India, a building in Prague, a music video by R.E.M., etc., epitomizing contested & congested movements of people, goods and ideas across man-made borders into urban everyday life.

We take the ubiquitous and quotidian of everyday urban life for granted and Victor Balanon (b. 1972) aims to undermine the notion of our city as permanent by juxtaposing representations of natural ecologies, the built environment and one’s own personal space.

In the long-durational video performance (11 hours) Efface by Bea Camacho (b. 1983) the body slowly disappears in the architecture. This work deals with the tension between isolation and shaping one’s own environment. As in her other works, she deals with erasure, memory – of the body, the body in/as space, bodies glancing at bodies passing by –, and absence and presence.

Interstitial Extensions, a marker by Luigi Singson (b. 1985), speaks of the stories we tell. We tell stories about people – significant others, strangers and ghosts –, cities and building – buildings that temporarily offer a home; a home for beauty, love, debauchery as well as death looming around the corner.

For Jonathan Olazo (b. 1969), the city is home to both utopia and dystopia. His installation is a compilation of “abbreviated ideas, personal opinions, musings and meditations” on meddling a way through the dystopia that is our city to find a shelter from a storm, a shelter as a momentary utopia.

Vermont Coronel Jr. (b. 1985) utilizes the inevitable dust as a blessing-in disguise. In a metropolis like Manila, things are fairly quickly covered in dust. Remove an object from where it was resting and an imprint becomes visible – not for long though. In other words, from dust-to-dust.

In the work of Indy Paredes (b. 1988), Settle Dow, the impermanence of the familiar amounts to the uneasy sense that a solid foundation – both in a literal as well as a metaphorical sense – is at best a dream we dream when we’ve passed out on the couch after having binge watched our favorite Korean telenovela.

Nathalie Dagmang (b. 1993) deals with typhoons, floods and communities dealing with these, inundated homes and hope. For her, the soiled mattress is a symbol of home, comfort and rest but also its opposite.

The video installation Selection 14344 by Tad Ermitaño (b. 1964) sides with the female overseas workers on another shore, i.e. in HK. Every Sunday they carve out a piece from public-space-thatis-not-public to get together for an after mass picnic. Alienation and camaraderie go hand-in-hand in this work that makes exile and class spectacularly visible.

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