topic

Colonial and imperial legacies

For the last five centuries, the Philippines has been a nexus of colonialism and neocolonialism, militarization, migration and globalization, and in obvious and subtle ways, the legacies of these colonial and imperial engagements reverberate through Filipinos’ daily lives.

 

The history of US imperialism especially looms large. For example, Filipinos have variously been classified as US citizens, as having a “special relationship” (and hence priority immigration status) with the US, and as being as “foreign” as other immigrants; they have transformed from imperial possessions to cheap guest labor to unwelcome intruder in response to changing US domestic and imperial policy. Meanwhile, the Philippine state, responding to neocolonial imperatives, has oriented its economic and social development programs towards supplying global demand for cheap, unskilled labor.

Lovely Pink: Ares, God of War

Wafaa Bilal

2015 Cold cast resin, enamel paint, nail polish and crude oil 14.25 x 4.75 x 4.75 inches Courtesy of Wafaa Bilal

contributor

X

Wafaa Bilal

b. 1966

Born in Iraq, Bilal emigrated to the U.S. in 1992, where he obtained a B.F.A. at the University of New Mexico and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2007, his interactive performance Domestic Tension gained critical acclaim when he spent a month living in a gallery under fire from a paintball gun. In 2008, his book Shoot an Iraqi was published by City Lights. Other projects include 3rdi (2010), in which a camera was surgically implanted to the back of his head, and and Counting (2010), for which his back was tattooed with a borderless map of Iraq and over 20,000 dots in UV ink representing civilian casualties from the Iraq War.

He currently lives and works as an Associate Arts Professor at New York University. His work is represented in major public collections, including Mathaf: the Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar; Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art (LACMA), California; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. He has served on the panels of the Tate Modern; Harvard University; Stanford University; Museum of Art and Design, NY; and the Global Art Forum, Qatar. His work has been reviewed in Art in America, The New York Times, ARTnews and The Wall Street Journal.

My work is informed by the experience of growing up and fleeing my homeland in Iraq as well as existing simultaneously between two worlds: the sphere of privilege and relative comfort in the U.S. and the zone of instability and conflict where my family remains in Iraq. These paradigms of conflict and comfort support an unstable binary that disconnects individuals from each other and desensitizes them to the struggles of others. Achieving a resolution between the two drives much of the impetus behind my work.

Thus I perceive the artist’s role as that of an initiator—one who establishes a platform of engagement between viewers who actively participate in the work and contribute collectively to its narrative. Since 2007, I have been crafting these platforms of engagement using network technologies, robotics, and mobile mapping to provoke dialogue on international politics and the effects of warfare on individuals and society.

In an increasingly interconnected world, my work emphasizes viewers who are empowered as autonomous participants and who shape the initiated platform into multiple branching and rhizomatic narratives. Each individual’s autonomous participation contributes to a more deeply personal encounter, whose experience re-engages their desensitized psyches with the realities of war.

In such a complex landscape of unmanned conflicts and rapidly shifting technological frameworks, the dichotomy of pure pleasure in aesthetics is a privilege difficult to justify. In my work, aesthetic pleasure instead operates as a strategy, enticing viewers to move closer, to engage within the platform, and to allow it to unfold with frisson and multidimensional tension. Ensnaring viewers within such tension activates the viewer’s agency further as a sense of micro-community begins to develop in response.

location

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  • Born: Iraq
  • Based: New York, NY, USA

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Lovely Pink: Hercules and Diomedes

Wafaa Bilal

2015 Cold cast resin, enamel paint, gold paint and crude oil 12.5 x 5 x 4 inches Courtesy of Wafaa Bilal

contributor

X

Wafaa Bilal

b. 1966

Born in Iraq, Bilal emigrated to the U.S. in 1992, where he obtained a B.F.A. at the University of New Mexico and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2007, his interactive performance Domestic Tension gained critical acclaim when he spent a month living in a gallery under fire from a paintball gun. In 2008, his book Shoot an Iraqi was published by City Lights. Other projects include 3rdi (2010), in which a camera was surgically implanted to the back of his head, and and Counting (2010), for which his back was tattooed with a borderless map of Iraq and over 20,000 dots in UV ink representing civilian casualties from the Iraq War.

He currently lives and works as an Associate Arts Professor at New York University. His work is represented in major public collections, including Mathaf: the Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar; Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art (LACMA), California; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. He has served on the panels of the Tate Modern; Harvard University; Stanford University; Museum of Art and Design, NY; and the Global Art Forum, Qatar. His work has been reviewed in Art in America, The New York Times, ARTnews and The Wall Street Journal.

My work is informed by the experience of growing up and fleeing my homeland in Iraq as well as existing simultaneously between two worlds: the sphere of privilege and relative comfort in the U.S. and the zone of instability and conflict where my family remains in Iraq. These paradigms of conflict and comfort support an unstable binary that disconnects individuals from each other and desensitizes them to the struggles of others. Achieving a resolution between the two drives much of the impetus behind my work.

Thus I perceive the artist’s role as that of an initiator—one who establishes a platform of engagement between viewers who actively participate in the work and contribute collectively to its narrative. Since 2007, I have been crafting these platforms of engagement using network technologies, robotics, and mobile mapping to provoke dialogue on international politics and the effects of warfare on individuals and society.

In an increasingly interconnected world, my work emphasizes viewers who are empowered as autonomous participants and who shape the initiated platform into multiple branching and rhizomatic narratives. Each individual’s autonomous participation contributes to a more deeply personal encounter, whose experience re-engages their desensitized psyches with the realities of war.

In such a complex landscape of unmanned conflicts and rapidly shifting technological frameworks, the dichotomy of pure pleasure in aesthetics is a privilege difficult to justify. In my work, aesthetic pleasure instead operates as a strategy, enticing viewers to move closer, to engage within the platform, and to allow it to unfold with frisson and multidimensional tension. Ensnaring viewers within such tension activates the viewer’s agency further as a sense of micro-community begins to develop in response.

location

X
  • Born: Iraq
  • Based: New York, NY, USA

comments

X

Lovely Pink: Victory of Samothrace

Wafaa Bilal

2015 Cold cast resin, enamel paint, shrink-wrap and crude oil 10.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches Courtesy of Wafaa Bilal

contributor

X

Wafaa Bilal

b. 1966

Born in Iraq, Bilal emigrated to the U.S. in 1992, where he obtained a B.F.A. at the University of New Mexico and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2007, his interactive performance Domestic Tension gained critical acclaim when he spent a month living in a gallery under fire from a paintball gun. In 2008, his book Shoot an Iraqi was published by City Lights. Other projects include 3rdi (2010), in which a camera was surgically implanted to the back of his head, and and Counting (2010), for which his back was tattooed with a borderless map of Iraq and over 20,000 dots in UV ink representing civilian casualties from the Iraq War.

He currently lives and works as an Associate Arts Professor at New York University. His work is represented in major public collections, including Mathaf: the Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar; Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art (LACMA), California; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. He has served on the panels of the Tate Modern; Harvard University; Stanford University; Museum of Art and Design, NY; and the Global Art Forum, Qatar. His work has been reviewed in Art in America, The New York Times, ARTnews and The Wall Street Journal.

My work is informed by the experience of growing up and fleeing my homeland in Iraq as well as existing simultaneously between two worlds: the sphere of privilege and relative comfort in the U.S. and the zone of instability and conflict where my family remains in Iraq. These paradigms of conflict and comfort support an unstable binary that disconnects individuals from each other and desensitizes them to the struggles of others. Achieving a resolution between the two drives much of the impetus behind my work.

Thus I perceive the artist’s role as that of an initiator—one who establishes a platform of engagement between viewers who actively participate in the work and contribute collectively to its narrative. Since 2007, I have been crafting these platforms of engagement using network technologies, robotics, and mobile mapping to provoke dialogue on international politics and the effects of warfare on individuals and society.

In an increasingly interconnected world, my work emphasizes viewers who are empowered as autonomous participants and who shape the initiated platform into multiple branching and rhizomatic narratives. Each individual’s autonomous participation contributes to a more deeply personal encounter, whose experience re-engages their desensitized psyches with the realities of war.

In such a complex landscape of unmanned conflicts and rapidly shifting technological frameworks, the dichotomy of pure pleasure in aesthetics is a privilege difficult to justify. In my work, aesthetic pleasure instead operates as a strategy, enticing viewers to move closer, to engage within the platform, and to allow it to unfold with frisson and multidimensional tension. Ensnaring viewers within such tension activates the viewer’s agency further as a sense of micro-community begins to develop in response.

location

X
  • Born: Iraq
  • Based: New York, NY, USA

comments

X

To My Unknown Daughter

Melissa R. Sipin

2016 Digital video recording Duration: 18m 46s Courtesy of the artist

contributor

X

Melissa R. Sipin

b. 1988
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Nicknamed "small but terrible" by her lola, MELISSA R. SIPIN was born and raised in Carson, CA. She co-edited Kuwento: Lost Things (Carayan Press 2014) and is Editor-in-Chief of TAYO Literary Magazine. Her work is in Prairie Schooner, Salon, Guernica Magazine, and Black Warrior Review, among others. Her fiction has won Glimmer Train's Fiction Open and the Washington Square Review's Flash Fiction Prize, as well as scholarships/fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Poets & Writers Inc., Kundiman, VONA/Voices Writers'
Workshop, Squaw Valley’s Community of Writers, and Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She was recently shortlisted for the 2017 Rona Jaffe Writer's Award. She is hard at work on a novel. More at msipin.com.

Here is an essay I wrote about the Pinay body: “To My Unknown Daughter,” which was published in Glimmer Train back in 2014. I thought reading this essay for CA+T’s “Talking Bodies” exhibit was appropriate but also star-aligning, because I wanted to do something more with it, something visual, something multimedia. I decided against using footage of me reading this essay, or any footage of me really, and instead used this vintage, archival footage of my family in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines, in 1967, during the Marcos regime. There’s so much lovely irony in this archival, fragmentary footage ... My father's in there with his older brothers; him the youngest, the most hungry. He’s about five years old, such a ripe and innocent age, a persona of my father I’ve never met or seen before, and he is seen riding a bike or longing for his eldest brother, my Uncle Dennis, the chosen patriarch of my family after my grandfather died. The men first seen in the beginning, in the first clip, is my Uncle Geony and my Uncle Eddie—both of whom fled to the East Coast right around the time my grandfather passed, almost in defiance, in irrelevance to my Uncle Dennis. All the kids dancing are my familia—my aunts, my uncles, my cousins, my bloodline.

Let me go deeper, and tell you the backstory behind the footage: my white uncle, who filmed this footage, met my Auntie Lodie near Clark Air Base (she was a prostitute), and they married; before he left for America (and subsequently took her, which allowed my whole family to immigrate), he would visit the family home in Manila and bring gifts, like this camera. In this essay, I talk a bit about how this complication, this nuance, this chance meeting between my white uncle and prostitute aunt is a consequence of U.S. Imperialism, and how all of this—this kind of colonial inheritance—affects the ways I write about the Pinay body. Although I wanted to film new material, these archival, old family videos made by my white uncle—who, ironically, is the only one archiving and recording our family histories, our family tree, and salvaging mementos from our past—obsessed me. This footage always damages me in a slow, pregnant way; it marks the infancy of my familia, it marks the moment when we were once together, before we broke apart. I decided to loop the video in hopes of producing a kind of fragmentary remembrance.

 

location

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  • Born: Torrance, CA
  • Based: Los Angeles, CA, USA

comments

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To My Unknown Daughter (screen capture)

Melissa R. Sipin

2016 Screen capture of video performance Courtesy of the artist

contributor

X

Melissa R. Sipin

b. 1988
image description
  • See All Works
  • facebook
  • visit website

Nicknamed "small but terrible" by her lola, MELISSA R. SIPIN was born and raised in Carson, CA. She co-edited Kuwento: Lost Things (Carayan Press 2014) and is Editor-in-Chief of TAYO Literary Magazine. Her work is in Prairie Schooner, Salon, Guernica Magazine, and Black Warrior Review, among others. Her fiction has won Glimmer Train's Fiction Open and the Washington Square Review's Flash Fiction Prize, as well as scholarships/fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Poets & Writers Inc., Kundiman, VONA/Voices Writers'
Workshop, Squaw Valley’s Community of Writers, and Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She was recently shortlisted for the 2017 Rona Jaffe Writer's Award. She is hard at work on a novel. More at msipin.com.

Here is an essay I wrote about the Pinay body: “To My Unknown Daughter,” which was published in Glimmer Train back in 2014. I thought reading this essay for CA+T’s “Talking Bodies” exhibit was appropriate but also star-aligning, because I wanted to do something more with it, something visual, something multimedia. I decided against using footage of me reading this essay, or any footage of me really, and instead used this vintage, archival footage of my family in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines, in 1967, during the Marcos regime. There’s so much lovely irony in this archival, fragmentary footage ... My father's in there with his older brothers; him the youngest, the most hungry. He’s about five years old, such a ripe and innocent age, a persona of my father I’ve never met or seen before, and he is seen riding a bike or longing for his eldest brother, my Uncle Dennis, the chosen patriarch of my family after my grandfather died. The men first seen in the beginning, in the first clip, is my Uncle Geony and my Uncle Eddie—both of whom fled to the East Coast right around the time my grandfather passed, almost in defiance, in irrelevance to my Uncle Dennis. All the kids dancing are my familia—my aunts, my uncles, my cousins, my bloodline.

Let me go deeper, and tell you the backstory behind the footage: my white uncle, who filmed this footage, met my Auntie Lodie near Clark Air Base (she was a prostitute), and they married; before he left for America (and subsequently took her, which allowed my whole family to immigrate), he would visit the family home in Manila and bring gifts, like this camera. In this essay, I talk a bit about how this complication, this nuance, this chance meeting between my white uncle and prostitute aunt is a consequence of U.S. Imperialism, and how all of this—this kind of colonial inheritance—affects the ways I write about the Pinay body. Although I wanted to film new material, these archival, old family videos made by my white uncle—who, ironically, is the only one archiving and recording our family histories, our family tree, and salvaging mementos from our past—obsessed me. This footage always damages me in a slow, pregnant way; it marks the infancy of my familia, it marks the moment when we were once together, before we broke apart. I decided to loop the video in hopes of producing a kind of fragmentary remembrance.

 

location

X
  • Born: Torrance, CA
  • Based: Los Angeles, CA, USA

comments

X

When The Saints Turned into Carnival Dancers

Angela Peñaredondo

2016 Digital video recording Duration: 3m 45s Courtesy of the artist

contributor

X

Angela Peñaredondo

b. 1979

Born in Iloilo City, Philippines, Angela Peñaredondo is a Pilipinx poet and artist (on other days, she identifies as a usual ghost, subdued comet, or part-time animal). Her first full-length book, All Things Lose Thousands of Times (Inlandia Institute, 2016) is the winner of the Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize. She is the author of a chapbook, Maroon (Jamii Publications, 2015). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in AAWW’s The Margins, Four Way Review, Cream City Review, Southern Humanities Review, South Dakota Review, Dusie and elsewhere. She is a VONA/Voices of our Nations Art fellow as well as a recipient of a University of California Institute for Research in the Arts Grant, the Gluck Program of the Arts Fellowship, Naropa University’s Zora Neal Hurston Award, Squaw Valley Writers Fellowship, and Fishtrap Fellowship. She has received scholarships from Tin House, Split This Rock, Dzanc Books' International Literary Program, and others.

location

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  • Born: Iloilo City, Philippines
  • Based: Southern California, CA, USA

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When the Saints Turned to Carnival Dancers (screen capture)

Angela Peñaredondo

2016 Screen capture of video performance Courtesy of the artist

contributor

X

Angela Peñaredondo

b. 1979

Born in Iloilo City, Philippines, Angela Peñaredondo is a Pilipinx poet and artist (on other days, she identifies as a usual ghost, subdued comet, or part-time animal). Her first full-length book, All Things Lose Thousands of Times (Inlandia Institute, 2016) is the winner of the Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize. She is the author of a chapbook, Maroon (Jamii Publications, 2015). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in AAWW’s The Margins, Four Way Review, Cream City Review, Southern Humanities Review, South Dakota Review, Dusie and elsewhere. She is a VONA/Voices of our Nations Art fellow as well as a recipient of a University of California Institute for Research in the Arts Grant, the Gluck Program of the Arts Fellowship, Naropa University’s Zora Neal Hurston Award, Squaw Valley Writers Fellowship, and Fishtrap Fellowship. She has received scholarships from Tin House, Split This Rock, Dzanc Books' International Literary Program, and others.

location

X
  • Born: Iloilo City, Philippines
  • Based: Southern California, CA, USA

comments

X

Before This Was Texas

Kimberly Alidio

2011 Digital video recording Duration: 1m 3s Courtesy of the artist Visual Arts Center (Austin, TX)

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Kimberly Alidio

b. 1971
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Kimberly Alidio is a high school teacher, a tenure-track dropout and the author of a poetry collection, After projects the resound (Black Radish, 2016) and a chapbook, solitude being alien (dancing girl press, 2013). Born in West Baltimore and raised in Baltimore County, Maryland, she lives in East Austin, Texas.

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  • Born: Baltimore, MD, USA
  • Based: Austin, TX, USA

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Before This Was Texas (screen capture)

Kimberly Alidio

2011 Screen capture of video performance Courtesy of the artist. Visual Arts Center (Austin, TX)

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Kimberly Alidio

b. 1971
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Kimberly Alidio is a high school teacher, a tenure-track dropout and the author of a poetry collection, After projects the resound (Black Radish, 2016) and a chapbook, solitude being alien (dancing girl press, 2013). Born in West Baltimore and raised in Baltimore County, Maryland, she lives in East Austin, Texas.

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  • Born: Baltimore, MD, USA
  • Based: Austin, TX, USA

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SHAPING AND EDGING

Kimberly Alidio

2015 Poetry Kimberly Alidio

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Kimberly Alidio

b. 1971
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Kimberly Alidio is a high school teacher, a tenure-track dropout and the author of a poetry collection, After projects the resound (Black Radish, 2016) and a chapbook, solitude being alien (dancing girl press, 2013). Born in West Baltimore and raised in Baltimore County, Maryland, she lives in East Austin, Texas.

location

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  • Born: Baltimore, MD, USA
  • Based: Austin, TX, USA

comments

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