Category Archives: arteng biswal

Saturday ∗ 08 Jul 2017

Political insidiousness, public complicity

Boses ng Masa is deceptively simple and painfully familiar, which is what’s both good and bad about it: the discussion is worth having, but you can see that ending from a mile away. It’s not that you’ve seen this before, as it is that you have lived it.

MMFF, transparency, big words

The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) is all of six months away, and here we are already talking with such passion about what the film industry needs and what the audiences deserve, quality versus commercial, small film producers versus big production companies, new versus old, change change change. There is very little that we know so far, probably owing to what recently resigned MMFF Execom Member Roland Tolentino has said is a “confidentiality clause” on their work with MMFF. What… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 16 Jun 2017

Death of culture (3): Lizaso’s vision for stagnation

The shameless conservatism in Nick Lizaso’s press release about his plans and vision for the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), is ironic when one considers that we have a President who questions Catholicism and dogmatism time and again, and who insists on his freedom of speech – if not his freedom to offend – over and over. President Duterte unilaterally installed Lizaso as CCP head. But even the President himself would not pass the rules and regulations that Lizaso… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 12 Jun 2017

Death of culture (2): Cultish leadership for CCP

President Duterte’s installation of Nick Lizaso as head of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is painfully ironic – if not dangerously so. On the one hand, it is clear that this President doesn’t care much about culture, so one wonders why he would appoint any of his men to these cultural leadership positions. On the other, one can see this as a statement in itself about what Duterte thinks about culture: anyone can lead it, never mind that… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 09 Jun 2017

Lizaso at CCP: Death of culture (1)

The problems of the sectors of arts and culture in this country are multifarious, and there is no doubt that any of us cultural workers who are at the bottom of the totem pole can only believe in the possibilities of change, and look forward to it, too. Many of us try and work towards that change, but if cultural work is your bread and butter – and you’re not one of the lucky ones who comes from privilege to… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 23 Dec 2016

Film, art in a time of change

AFTER a good seven years of doing the arts and culture beat, writing reviews, doing cultural assessments, I have surprised even myself that my interest seems to have dwindled. It’s not that nothing’s going on, as it all just seems secondary to the state of the nation, the urgencies of which cannot be overstated at this point in time. When you don’t have a government that delivers credible information, and no opposition that provides an alternative ideological viewpoint, and all… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 13 Sep 2016

Dear President Duterte,

The details are scant, but there is an agenda to be presented to you based on a National Development Meeting for the Arts Summit that happened on September 5. Sadly, if those kinds of exclusive, by-invitation only meetings continue, then this agenda cannot even begin to represent the arts and culture sectors it promises to speak for. As a private endeavor by Njel De Mesa, there’s no way to insist that he open up the summit to all cultural workers;… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 28 Jan 2016

Ai Weiwei, beyond Western claims

Though it was apt to kick-off a year with the promise of writing more about art, and hopefully more about art outside of this country (haha!), with the first Ai Weiwei exhibit in China, something that I happened upon when I was there in September, and rebelling against the very fixed and strict schedule set for the media group I was with. So I got in a cab and asked in my Chinese-English (which is really just English with a… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 25 Jan 2016

Blaspheming against the bul-ol

There is no looking at Ronald Ventura’s work without having in the back of my head that $1.1M dollar record-breaking sale at the 2011 Sotheby’s auction. In 2012 it seems he’s also had a good run at art auctions such as the Christie’s auction in Hong Kong last last year, which shouldn’t be a surprise really. Between the interest in Southeast Asian art and 2011’s record-breaking sale, it would seem strange if Ventura were not to ride that wave. It… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 08 Jun 2015

on Rai Cruz’s Urban Modifications

NOTE: Urban Modifications is on exhibit at Vinyl on Vinyl at The Collective in Malugay. Seize The Daze Photography has always been embroiled in the question of impropriety: what is it that you seize, that you catch in a frozen frame, other than what is expected, if not what is obvious?

Saturday ∗ 21 Mar 2015

competition* #WomensMonth2015 #IAmNotMyShoes

Here’s to the friendship that could have been ours: wife of my lover, lover of my husband, lover of my lover. For women at both ends are always rivals: smiling for points at a beauty contest, icing the cake at a cooking competition, sprinting for the gold as they race to a man’s heart.

Monday ∗ 16 Mar 2015

relationships and freedom* #WomensMonth2015 #IAmNotMyShoes

I. You are the earth and all that earth implies: The gravity that ballasts me in space, The air I breathe, the land that stills my cries For food and shelter against devouring days. You are the earth whose orbit marks my way And sets my north and south, my east and west, You are the final elemental clay The driven heart must turn to for its rest.

Thursday ∗ 12 Mar 2015

the violence of words* #WomensMonth2015 #IAmNotMyShoes

Ginahasa ako ng mga salita, Paulit-ulit, Paulit-ulit, Hanggang magutay ang diwa. Buntis ang alaala Sa mga alimura, Pasa-pasa ang puso’t Lama’y salanta. — Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, 1992.

Friday ∗ 23 Jan 2015

The end of the (art) affair*

My tendency in the past four years that I’ve been writing about and reviewing local art has been to be kind. I stopped reviewing art I didn’t like unless my editors assigned it to me; I would look at art events and could not but appreciate the effort that organizers put into it, even when it was clear to me that celebrating local art in this way is the height of superficiality. Artists earn money in these events, after all,… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 26 Nov 2014

the last of kolchor for 2014

the days have been long, though filled with too many things happening, and certainly even more happening in the shadows, beyond public scrutiny: this is the Philippines after all. so first a list, because there is also quite a lot of work to do, but also there is so much to talk about, and i feel like the three people who read this blog (haha!) might be wondering where i am, why so silent. well here i am. 

Wednesday ∗ 08 Oct 2014

The National Historical Omission!

The mess that is the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is something that’s become obvious not so much because of its involvement in Paoay Church renovations, or questionable engagements with heritage site reconstructions, but more because there seems to be no effort at all on its part to be more transparent about its projects, ones that the National Commission for Culture and the Arts has no choice but give it some money for. And this is the thing: we’re talking millions in… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 04 Oct 2014

the Marcoses’ embarrassment of riches

It is always with a heavy heart — yes medyo OA — that I read / listen to discourse about the Marcos’s wealth of art and clothes and shoes, the ones that history tells us we have paid for, but which is handled with nary care or creativity by the powers-that-be as we get these back from the Marcoses. 

Monday ∗ 09 Jun 2014

notes on Gawad Buhay, democratization, and the anxiety of smallness

this year was the first time i even cared enough to go to Gawad Buhay, and that is really because of a good three things: my love for Tuxqs Rutaquio, my love of Layeta Bucoy, and my new-found discovery of and respect for the kind of hard work that Tanghalang Pilipino’s Actors Company stands for. which is of course to wear my heart on my sleeve (obvious ba), and really to point at some of my good ol’ biases, the… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 06 Apr 2014

rising to the occasion: on “Cock” and the text as king

My refusal to compare foreign texts with local ones is based on the notion of independence. That is, I’d rather grant a local work with as much individuality as possible, and save it from what — to me — would be a false because unfair comparison with foreign work that I (on most counts) would not have seen anyway. I imagine I can be criticized for having such tunnel vision, or allowing local theater such leeway when critiquing its adaptations.… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 30 Mar 2014

12 Pinay celebrities to be thankful for

It was difficult to celebrate Women’s Month at a time when the Pinay remains under attack, even when she’d like to think otherwise. To me it happens on the level of a beauty industry that has standardized what it is we mean by beautiful, as it does happen on the level of a Catholic Church that continues to take a stand against the Reproductive Health Law, after we have fought for it for 14 years. Scientific and common sense would… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 08 Feb 2014

the anxiety of rain: on Rak Of Aegis

It was difficult to imagine a musical that could use Aegis’s diverse discography, one that spans 15 years of the band’s existence, and seven albums. From posters and press releases it was clear that PETA’s Rak Of Aegis was using the song “Basang-basa sa Ulan” as center, with the obvious premise of … uh … rain to tell what would be a painfully contemporary story for nation. It was difficult to be optimistic, but it sure was easy to get… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 28 Jan 2014

some waiting required: on “Wait Until Dark”

the thing with expectation is that it can be your undoing. for watching theater, i refuse to listen to the soundtrack of a musicale, or to read the script (when available) of a play, lest i start singing (or saying those lines) out loud while sitting as audience. sometimes though, the poster, the press release, is all one needs to build excitement. that is true for Repertory Philippines’ Wait After Dark. sold as a suspense thriller, one could also only be excited… Continue reading »

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