"Hidden: Absences and Presences" Essay Collection PremiersClare Counihan
Hidden traces the spectral absences and presences of diasporic subjects who haunt the inner and outer landscapes of the other places in which they find themselves.
LOS ANGELES, CA (January 14, 2015) -- The Center for Art and Thought (CA+T), a web-based arts and education nonprofit organization, is delighted to announce the premier of Hidden: Absences and Presences, a collection of original essays.
The concluding element of CA+T’s virtual exhibition Hidden, this essay collection brings together eight unique writers and one photographer to reflect on the aspects of their experiences, identities, and lives that are simultaneously absent and present in everyday life.
In “Cloth of Air: A Guide to the Philippines Overseas,” brother Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo documents sister Mae S. Aguinaldo’s project Wear of Needs, which in turn traces the absent present labor of Filipino Overseas Workers in “common and familiar” T-shirts and the Philippines’ complicated legacy of “resilience.” Ivan Emil Labayne’s “The Anti-Session” maps out the globalization of Baguio City’s premier street. In the rush towards modernity and a tourist economy, the narrator and his girlfriend still catch sight of Manong Harmonica, an artist and beggar unseen on the bustling sidewalk.
“Manifesto,” by Dana Fang, and “Mother Tongue,” by June Kim both examine the slippery elusiveness of language: its inability to capture the objects and feelings that are right there, its sliding away into the invisible crevices of misunderstanding that comprise the mirror smooth surface of speech and meaning. In “Getting There,” Dennis W. Leung follows those same cracks as they travel in “fistfuls of lard” from Hong Kong to California and back, in the painful visibility of standing in Angell Hall.
Juls Chang turns to the family, considering in “Five Words” what it means to be overlooked, neither beautiful enough to be the ideal daughter nor boy enough to be a son. She describes finding “the security to stand as [her] own witness” in a body that is only ever out of place among white lesbians who “only date White girls.” Adam Rabuy Crayne’s “‘That’: The Trauma of Honesty” explores the dilemma of keeping hidden “that” which prevents him from being a perfect son and grandson, only to realize everyone is hiding different things beneath The Sound of Music.
Melissa R. Sipin contributes two essays: “To Rewrite the Diasporic Body” and “A Bahrain Christmas: Lovers in a Desert across the World.” The first essay narrates the erasure and rewriting that constantly displace and strive to reassert the presence—the reality—of diasporic bodies in the lands of their arrival, while the “A Bahrain Christmas” narrates the surreal encounters of doubly, triply displaced Filipinos in a hotel at the edge of war. Together, these essays gesture towards the spectral absences and presences of diasporic subjects who haunt the inner and outer landscapes of the other places in which they find themselves.