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Laboring at home and abroad

In Migrants for Export (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), sociologist Robyn Magalit Rodriguez defines the Philippines as a “labor brokerage state”: a country “which actively prepares, mobilizes, and regulates its citizens for migrant work abroad.” This orientation by the Philippines state fundamentally shapes the lives of Filipinos everywhere. At home, the state’s focus on exporting labor manifests in a failure to cultivate the domestic economy, rendering the lives of Filipinos in the Philippines precarious and monetarily impoverished. Abroad, the state’s willingness to facilitate Filipinos’ migrant work and simultaneous inability to guarantee any protections renders Filipinos globally dispersed and vulnerable, exposing Filipinos abroad to enormous exploitation and abuse.

Brown Chanel Handbag

Stephanie Syjuco

2006 - 2015 Photograph of crochet project Courtesy of the artist From "The Counterfeit Crochet Project (Critique of a Political Economy)

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Stephanie Syjuco

b. 1974
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Stephanie Syjuco creates large-scale spectacles of collected cultural objects, cumulative archives, and temporary vending installations, often with an active public component that invites viewers to directly participate as producers or distributors. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, her projects leverage open-source systems, shareware logic, and flows of capital, creating frictions between high ideals and everyday materials. This has included starting a global collaborative project with crochet crafters to counterfeit high-end consumer goods; presenting a parasitic art counterfeiting event, "COPYSTAND: An Autonomous Manufacturing Zone" for Frieze Projects, London (2009); and “Shadowshop,” an alternative vending outlet embedded at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art exploring the ways in which artists are navigating the production, consumption, and dissemination of their work (2010-11). A recent collaboration with the  FLACC Workplace for Visual Artists in Genk, Belgium, involved 3-D scanning of Belgian and Congolese antiquities to produce hybrid ceramic objects addressing the legacy of colonialism, empire, and trade routes.
 
Born in the Philippines, she received her M.F.A. from Stanford University and B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2014 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship Award and a 2009 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Museum of Modern Art PS1 In New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The 12th Havana Biennale, The Bucharest Biennale, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, ZKM Center for Art and Technology, Germany; Z33 Space for Contemporary Art, Belgium; Universal Studios Gallery Beijing; and the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, among others. She is an Assistant Professor in Sculpture at the University of California, Berkeley, and lives and works in San Francisco.

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  • Born: The Philippines
  • Based: San Francisco, CA, USA

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Coincidence and Consequence: Marianism and Mass Media in the Global Philippines

Deirdre De La Cruz

2009 Criticism 34 pages. Courtesy of the author. Cultural Anthropology 24.3 (2009): 455-488. Uncorrected page proofs.

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Deirdre De La Cruz

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Deirdre was born in Germany and has lived in Hawai’i, Seattle, and Manila. Her engagement with the Philippines and Filipino America has found a variety of expressions over the years, most recently as an Assistant Professor of Philippine Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she is currently based. In addition to Philippine history and cultures, her scholarly interests include theories of religion, histories and theories of the mass media, cultures of U.S. imperialism, and historical and ethnographic writing. Photograph by Bill Christian.

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  • Born: Germany
  • Based: Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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Daniel Miller

b. 1954

Daniel Miller was born in London in 1954. He is currently based at the Department of Anthropology with University College, London. He is the author or editor of thirty-five books dealing with different aspects of the anthropology of consumption, material culture and new media.

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Mirca Madianou

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Mirca Madianou is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester. From 2004 to 2011, she was Newton Trust Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College. She holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. She has published extensively on the social consequences of new media and mediation especially in relation to processes of migration, transnational relationships and networks. She is the author of Mediating the Nation: News, Audiences and the Politics of Identity (Routledge, 2005) and Migration and New Media (with Daniel Miller, Routledge, 2011) and co-editor of Ethics of Media (with Nick Couldry and Amit Pinchevski, 2013). Between 2007 and 2011, she was Principal Investigator on the Economic and Social Research Council-funded project "Migration, ICTS and transnational families," a comparative ethnographic study of Filipino and Caribbean transnational families and their uses of new communication technologies. She continues to work on Philippine migration and the role of digital media in transforming migrant networks.

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Dolce and Gabbana Handbag

Stephanie Syjuco

2006 - 2015 Photograph of crochet project Courtesy of the artist From "The Counterfeit Crochet Project (Critique of a Political Economy) Created by Diana, Portland, OR, (2007)

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Stephanie Syjuco

b. 1974
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Stephanie Syjuco creates large-scale spectacles of collected cultural objects, cumulative archives, and temporary vending installations, often with an active public component that invites viewers to directly participate as producers or distributors. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, her projects leverage open-source systems, shareware logic, and flows of capital, creating frictions between high ideals and everyday materials. This has included starting a global collaborative project with crochet crafters to counterfeit high-end consumer goods; presenting a parasitic art counterfeiting event, "COPYSTAND: An Autonomous Manufacturing Zone" for Frieze Projects, London (2009); and “Shadowshop,” an alternative vending outlet embedded at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art exploring the ways in which artists are navigating the production, consumption, and dissemination of their work (2010-11). A recent collaboration with the  FLACC Workplace for Visual Artists in Genk, Belgium, involved 3-D scanning of Belgian and Congolese antiquities to produce hybrid ceramic objects addressing the legacy of colonialism, empire, and trade routes.
 
Born in the Philippines, she received her M.F.A. from Stanford University and B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2014 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship Award and a 2009 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Museum of Modern Art PS1 In New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The 12th Havana Biennale, The Bucharest Biennale, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, ZKM Center for Art and Technology, Germany; Z33 Space for Contemporary Art, Belgium; Universal Studios Gallery Beijing; and the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, among others. She is an Assistant Professor in Sculpture at the University of California, Berkeley, and lives and works in San Francisco.

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  • Born: The Philippines
  • Based: San Francisco, CA, USA

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Downloadable PDF tip sheets on how to create counterfeit looks

Stephanie Syjuco

2006 - 2015 PDF document Photo by Otto von Busch Courtesy of the artist Counterfeiting workshops at Garanti Gallery, Istanbul, 2007 From "The Counterfeit Crochet Project (Critique of a Political Economy)"

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Stephanie Syjuco

b. 1974
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Stephanie Syjuco creates large-scale spectacles of collected cultural objects, cumulative archives, and temporary vending installations, often with an active public component that invites viewers to directly participate as producers or distributors. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, her projects leverage open-source systems, shareware logic, and flows of capital, creating frictions between high ideals and everyday materials. This has included starting a global collaborative project with crochet crafters to counterfeit high-end consumer goods; presenting a parasitic art counterfeiting event, "COPYSTAND: An Autonomous Manufacturing Zone" for Frieze Projects, London (2009); and “Shadowshop,” an alternative vending outlet embedded at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art exploring the ways in which artists are navigating the production, consumption, and dissemination of their work (2010-11). A recent collaboration with the  FLACC Workplace for Visual Artists in Genk, Belgium, involved 3-D scanning of Belgian and Congolese antiquities to produce hybrid ceramic objects addressing the legacy of colonialism, empire, and trade routes.
 
Born in the Philippines, she received her M.F.A. from Stanford University and B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2014 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship Award and a 2009 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Museum of Modern Art PS1 In New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The 12th Havana Biennale, The Bucharest Biennale, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, ZKM Center for Art and Technology, Germany; Z33 Space for Contemporary Art, Belgium; Universal Studios Gallery Beijing; and the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, among others. She is an Assistant Professor in Sculpture at the University of California, Berkeley, and lives and works in San Francisco.

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  • Born: The Philippines
  • Based: San Francisco, CA, USA

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Clement C. Camposano, Ph.D.

b. 1966

Dr. Clem Camposano was born in 1966 in Iloilo City, the Philippines. He is presently based in Manila. He earned his Ph D. in Philippine Studies (Anthropology, 2009) from the University of the Philippines, and his current research interest is in the anthropology of migration, with emphasis on the transnationalization of the contemporary Filipino household. He holds an M.A. in Political Science from the University of the Philippines - Diliman (1992) and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from the University of the Philippines - Visayas (1986). Dr. Camposano has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and has presented academic papers in international conferences. He sits in the board of the Philippine Anthropological Association and is an active member of the Philippine Studies Association. He is a senior faculty member at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) where he teaches courses in social science research and Philippine history and culture. Dr. Camposano began his academic career right after the EDSA Revolution with faculty appointments at the West Visayas State University in 1986 and subsequently at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas in 1997. A person of diverse interests, he is presently the Chairman of the Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy (PCCED), a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of citizenship and civic engagement among various sectors in Philippine society.

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  • Born: Iloilo City, Philippines
  • Based: Manila, Philippines

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ESCABECHE: Filipino Sweet and Sour

Mariano “Manny” Montelibano

2009 Documentary of Installation Artwork 4:30 min Video courtesy of Mariano G. Montelibano A short documentary of an installation of "Escabeche: Filipino Sweet & Sour"

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Mariano “Manny” Montelibano

Mariano “Manny” G. Montelibano III is a Visayan media artist who focuses his works on the psychology of current social, political, economic, and religious structures. In the Philippines, his works have been exhibited in the National Museum of the Filipino People, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Museo Iloilo, Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibit and Conference, Vargas Museum, Ateneo Art Gallery, Galleria Duemila, NOVA Gallery, Museo Negrense de La Salle, and Fort Santiago-Intramuros. He has also been part of exhibitions in Seoul, Korea; Hong Kong, Spain, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, and France.

He is a video and sound installation artist, film and stage director, editor, and technical specialist, and he teaches in the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City. Currently, he is affiliated with National Commission for Culture and the Arts of the Philippines, Black Artists in Asia Association, Crossing Negros Cultural Foundation Inc., Produksyon Tramontina Inc., Bacollywood Organization, and VIVA ExCon Org.

Manny is based in the south of the City of Bacolod, the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines.

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  • Born: The Philippines
  • Based: Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines

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Extracts

Michelle Dizon

2009 Two channel video installation on the production of gold in the Compostela Valley in the Philippines 8 minutes

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Michelle Dizon

b. 1977

Artist, filmmaker, and writer, Michelle Dizon, was born and raised in Los Angeles as part of the Philippine diaspora.  Her video installations, films, and writing focus on subjectivity as it intersects with the histories of colonialism and its legacies of immigration, diaspora, and globalization.  Currently, she is at work on a feature-film and large-scale installation entitled Perpetual Peace that addresses U.S. imperialism, militarization, globalization, and war in the Philippines.  She is also revising a book entitled Vision in Ruins that explores visuality in an era of neoliberal globalization.  

She has exhibited and lectured internationally at venues such as the Center for Feminist Studies in Zagreb, Croatia; Jeu de Paume in Paris, France; Caixaforum in Barcelona, Spain; Casa Asia in Madrid, Spain; Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark; Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manila, Philippines; Vargas Museum in Manila, Philippines; Para/Site Art Space in Hong Kong, China; Galleryloop in Seoul, Korea; Tate Modern in London, England; Human Rights Center in Berkeley, United States; CUE Art Foundation in New York, United States; Vox Populi in Philadelphia, United States; and Redcat Gallery in Los Angeles, United States. She has received fellowships from the Human Rights Center, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the University of California Initiative for Research in the Arts, and the Fulbright Association. 

Dizon is the incoming Co-Chair of the Visual Art Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she is Visiting Faculty in the Photography and Media Program at the California Institute of the Arts.  She earned an M.F.A. in Art with emphasis in Interdisciplinary Studio from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric with designated emphases in Film and Women, Gender, and Sexuality from the University of California, Berkeley.  She lives and works between Los Angeles, California and Davao City, Mindanao, The Philippines.

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

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Deirdre McKay

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Dr. McKay is a Senior Lecturer in Social Geography and Environmental Politics at Keele University. Previously she held appointments as a Postdoctoral Fellow and then Research Fellow in the School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University. McKay earned her B.A. (1st Hons) in Biology and Master's in Environmental Studies from Dalhousie University (Canada) and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of British Columbia. Dr. McKay's research draws on both social/cultural geography and social anthropology to explore people's place-based experiences of globalization and development. She is interested in the long-distance relations that connect outmigrants to their sending communities, changes in local livelihoods and the possibilities for locally sustainable, alternative economic development, and environmental degradation linked to migration. Dr. McKay does fieldwork in the global South and also with migrant communities from developing areas who have moved into the world's global cities. Much of her work has been conducted with people who originate in indigenous villages in the northern Philippines. Dr. McKay is the author of numerous articles, chapters, and edited collections. Her book, Global Filipinos: Migrants' Lives in the Virtual Village, was published in 2012 by Indiana University Press.

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  • Born: Halifax, Canada
  • Based: Keele, Staffordshire, England

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Robyn Magalit Rodriguez

b. 1973
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The daughter of Filipino immigrants, Robyn Magalit Rodriguez grew up in the Bay Area and attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she majored in sociology and took classes in Asian American Studies. Two professors, Diane Fujino and John Foran, were instrumental in her intellectual formation. They took time to mentor her, and their influence was key in opening up the possibility of going on to a doctoral program. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her first faculty position was at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Rodriguez is now Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis. Her book, Migrants for Export: How the Philippines Brokers Labor to the World (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), has recently won awards from the Association of American Geographers and the Association for Asian American Studies.

Her research focuses on the Philippines and labor migration. The Philippines is a particularly interesting site for understanding the issue because it is the number one labor exporting state in the world. There, the legacies of colonialism and neoliberal economic policy become fully articulated in a regime of “labor brokerage.” Fundamentally, her work is about the ways in which globalization and neoliberalism have reconfigured states and citizenship. Both in the Philippines and in New Jersey, her scholarship is driven by concerns about how the state and citizenship are shifting under these conditions, and Rodriguez asks what these policies mean for those who are defined as “foreign” or “other.” She also pays attention to migrant labor’s political transnationalisms, focusing on the ways in which migrant workers fight back or resist. She has been tracking the transnational Philippine migrant labor movement for a long time, and she continues to do so in San Francisco.

Rodriguez’s background in Asian American studies informs her actions as an activist. Asian American studies emerged out of student movements that were fundamentally rethinking access to education and raising questions about the politics of knowledge production: who is able to produce knowledge? for what purpose? Many of the demands for departments like Asian American studies were demands for education and scholarship that was relevant to communities that have been long left out of the university. She is very much inspired by that tradition. She uses the skills she has developed as a researcher to contribute to communities. For example, she is working on a participatory action research project for Filipino caregivers in the Bay Area. These caregivers face exploitation and abuse because they often work outside of institutions, in home settings. She was asked to be part of a process of helping to equip them with the tools to do some basic research about themselves. The research prompted the migrant workers to self-organize, and in December 2012, they formed Migrante Northern California. Scholars can and should engage with publics beyond the academy, and this is the kind of work that prompted her to go into the professorship to begin with. Indeed, alongside her scholarly work, Rodriguez has always worked an activist. She was the founding member of the League of Filipino Students, the Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines as well as the Collective for Critical Filipino/ Filipina Studies in the Bay Area. Being back in Northern California has allowed her to come full circle in many ways.

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  • Born: San Francisco, CA, USA
  • Based: Oakland, CA, USA

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