Tad Ermitaño is a key figure in new media art in the Philippines and South East Asia, with a sphere of influence reaching as far back as the late 80s. Considered to be one of the pioneers of sound art in the country as well as an explorer of experimental film, his artistic practice has since grown into a remarkable assertion of technology to creative projects that could be described as an examination of the processes, senses and structures surrounding man’s relationship with machinery. His projects often involve the manipulation of aural and visual phenomena - something that the artist combines with an instinctive aesthetic understanding of how time-based elements interact with spatial structures.
Ermitaño expresses his fascination with sound through different technologies, from the use of mechanical instruments (Hasa, 2015), analog circuitry (Bell, 2011), to computer programming (Sammy and the Sandworms, 2013). There is also level of interactivity present in his works, giving way to a certain amount of versatility with the way they are presented and experienced. Twinning Machine (2012), for example, is a computer-augmented video installation that simultaneously takes in live feed from a camera, edits the footage and projects the processed images through a computer program the artist wrote.
His single-channel films are distinguished by a playfulness underpinned by a dreamlike logic. His videos include Selection 14344, Sausage, The Retrochronological Transfer of Information, and Hulikotekan v. 2.1, the last two of which have been screened at a number of international festivals, including the Yamagata International Film Festival, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival.
The artist’s creative sensibilities are reflections of his multidisciplinary educational and career background. Ermitaño was a tinkerer since childhood, a skill set nurtured while he was enrolled at the Philippine Science High School. Later on, he would study Biology at the University of Hiroshima in Japan and earn a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at the University of the Philippines. He trained in film and video at the Mowelfund Film Institute and in 1989 became a founding member of The Children of Cathode Ray, one of the first experimental sound art groups in the Philippines.
Tad Ermitaño was born in 1964 and currently resides in Metro Manila, Philippines. He has held solo and group exhibitions at notable institutions and galleries in Manila such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines (2009), Vargas Museum (2013), Ayala Museum (2013), Metropolitan Museum of Manila (2013), Ateneo Art Gallery (2012), Lopez Museum (2007,2012), 1335MABINI (2015) and Pablo Gallery (2011). He has also participated in numerous group shows in international spaces including the Singapore Art Museum (2013, 2014), National Visual Arts Gallery, Malaysia (2014), ADMU Gallery, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2014), Galeri Nasional, Indonesia (2013), Black Box Gallery, Malaysia (2013), Hong Kong Arts Centre (2009). In 2006, he represented the Philippines at the Ogaki Biennale 2006 New Media Festival and the Main Juried Exhibition of ISEA 2008. He is represented in the collection of the Ateneo Art Gallery at the Ateneo de Manila University. He currently designs and mixes sound for digital features and produces video for projection in a variety of stage/concert contexts. He has also collaborated with choreographers of Ballet Philippines in the creation of several video dance pieces.