Saturday, March 21, 2015, 6 pm

March 21 to April 18, 2015

by: Cocoy Lumbao

The existence of vagabonds' homes within the city marks a break from the landscape. The sidewalk achieves renovation: a mattress, a pile of hollow blocks, a hammock, or the subtle layering of cardboard on an elevated walkway invade the streets not as vandalisms but as methods of home improvement.

Whether functional or aesthetic, the spontaneous conglomeration of these colorful and diverse components becomes a phenomenon of design with corresponding pictorial qualities, worthy to demand artistic evaluations. But it can also be argued that our encounters with these images -as a social phenomenon, more rooted in the unique, economic, and political landscape, where the arbitrariness of 'territory' have led informal settlers to evolve as 'mobile' units-would fit more into the classifications of reportage, of the journalistic, or as documented case studies.

In the case of photography, the works of artist, MM Yu, try to bridge this gap.

In her previous works, she presented pictures of both visually stimulating and culturally remarkable phenomena of city life-mounds of gravel and sand, the patchwork-like patterns of shanties, the abstraction achieved In a sea of trash. Her photographs are part documentation and part carefully sought compositions.

In photographing the makeshift homes that hound the streets of Manila, MM Yu employs the idea of the tableau. She picks out the opposite part of the sidewalk as her vantage point, assuming the role of an observer who has completely surrendered her attention against the diorama in front of her. The different components of these makeshift homes appear inside the frame as cohesive parts, eliminating any eroding effect that their sudden intervention might cause; wooden carts are parked motionless as if they were permanent fixtures along the street, while the peculiarities found in the picture are evened out by the somberness of the situation, as it touches briefly on the outcome of deprivation from one of human's basic needs.