let me skip the fact that this artwork is old, i.e., this is the nth version of it that’s been exhibited. let me not do a review of the whole exhibit Kulo here, as i hope to still be able to do that with more time in my hands.
in fact, this i feel is more urgent. elsewhere i praise pinky webb. since two days ago, i have completely changed my mind about her.
by this fact: upon a complaint, and many others who agreed on her show exklusibong, explosibong, expose‘s FB page, she does two stories on mideo cruz‘s art installation “Poleteismo” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines gallery. the follow up story is what i get to see, where pinky reveals herself as the worse kind of media personality there is, doing a story on a creative work and in the process proving that she actually thinks little — if at all — of art and creativity.
i don’t care how many people complain about an artwork, and i get the capitalist intent of the media believing that sensationalism is a service to the public. but it should be the media’s responsibility to see an artwork and not miss the fact that it is an artwork. i’m the last person who will insist that we cannot be offended by art — even i have limitations. but at the very least a piece of art should be seen in its totality, not at all what pinky did here.
instead her camera focused on the christ’s face attached to which was a wooden penis; the drawing that likened him to micky mouse; the condoms hanging/attached to certain religious images. when faced with mideo, her question of him was to the effect: anong pumasok sa isip mo at nagawa mo ‘to?
obviously pinky was coming from a place of agreement with those who have complained about “Poleteismo;” obviously this was pinky revealing herself as the conservative that she is, as a media personality who is limited by her notion(s) of art, or lack of it; obviously pinky is a perfect example of objectivity proving itself only a stance that panders to the Pinoy church, noisy and controversial and powerful as it is.
because at the very least, pinky should’ve featured that work as a whole, that is a whole goddamn room, and not zero in on its parts as if that was the whole work. when i saw “Poleteismo” i did not quickly or easily associate it with religiosity, as i did with icons and institutions, belief systems and ideologies: imelda and ferdie, mickey mouse, robert jaworski, showbiz personalities, the university of the philippines, activism, slogans, chants, sex, and yes, Catholicism. the latter is not only one of many things here, it is crucial to see it as such because it’s the only way to experience the space (again, this was practically a whole room) and let its bombardment of images do what it must: startle you, disgust you, at the very least force you to see that this was not just about religiosity as it was about idolatry.
after which we might argue about what exactly this work questions, what it puts side by side with catholicism, what it says about the state of the nation since 2007 when a version of it was first installed. then let’s talk about whether we should take offense at all, given our catholicism, or whether or not this is the kind of catholicism that’s embroiled in all the other things we hold dear sinful and evil as they might be considered.
pinky herself performed the travesty and tragedy that this work critiques, and she has no idea. i’d be sad about it, were i not dismayed that she didn’t know better.
to have even walked through that space and spoken to the artist, all captured on the XXX camera, and then to have asked those questions, is a measure of pinky and no one else. my undergraduate students would’ve asked infinitely better questions of mideo and of CCP Visual Arts director karen ocampo-flores, who has said as much about the manner in which “Poleteismo” has been treated in parts versus in its entirety.
of course the latter is expected of the Pinoy Church, petty as they are, lost as they are in the changing — almost static — contemporary times. but to have the media, and popular media at that! failing to be critical precisely of the premises of this complaint against “Poleteismo,” failing to see the work and thinking ah, that complaint could be wrong, is just unforgivable. you know what else is a measure of bad journalism here? in the course of that segment, i did not hear pinky mention the title of the mideo’s work (though i might have missed it as i was getting more and more incensed by the minute). she also kept calling the work an “exhibit” — which it isn’t. she wouldn’t have had the right to talk about the exhibit as a whole either, i.e. Kulo itself, because she didn’t even mention the rest of those works. which is just irresponsible too, to have failed not just in seeing the entirety of “Poleteismo,” but also in placing it in the context of the bigger exhibit.
what pinky did was the height of sensationalist reportage, with the arts as sacrificial lamb, bringing on discussions on morality and money, the bane of the culture industry in this country. that segment on “Poleteismo” ends with pinky saying something to the effect that creative freedom must not impinge upon religious beliefs. oh but what to do with someone who did not even get into the creativity of something? what of someone who will fight for freedom of expression in the media, but will absolutely fail to get art productions? good lord (yes using his name in vain, so sue me).
of course i can hear the bottom line here: for pinky it’s that someone actually complained about that artwork and was offended, well let me throw this into the picture:
i am offended by this project of Sen. TG Guingona because it is an unnecessary use of taxpayers money, since the people he talked to for Design Para sa Lahat are rich people to begin with who do not need any financial support in doing what they already do and have the infrastructure for! i am disgusted and offended and angered by this, and i am complaining! and i want to put in the word konyo for more sensationalism.
sige nga, sinong makakagawa ng feature tungkol diyan?