Houston we have a problem

*Among the permanent and temporary pieces displayed at Aphro Living, these framed ones by the entrance has piqued my interest since I first visited the gallery and in subsequent visits. I do love me some spaceman art. Haha! If you do drop by, try the slide. 

Timeless art always possesses the possibility of being timely.

Back in 2014, Emmanuel Santos exhibited some of these pieces in Immanent Geographies, a collection of both topographic and social landscapes by various Filipino artists. This featured familiar locations with stark twists.

Second Earth imagines a hyperreality where an astronaut finds himself in local terrain, however displaced and even out of place in these spaces—of all spaces—but the outer.

I’m partial to astronomical subjects 👽🚀🛰 and postmodern contexts 🤓 yet there’s a grimness to these that make me a little uncomfy but I can’t ignore it.

There’s also a bit of Foucault’s heterotopia in his work, as the astronaut searches for his place in a world that’s comprised of nature, the virtual, and what’s in between. This is relevant in our tech age that propels itself into a progress that could spell self annihilation with no signs of slowing down.

But what of children that wish to stay grounded and mounted to preserving life on the blue green ball of life? Earth born and earth bound dreamers 🌏🌍🌎

In defense of the Alex Tizon article 

*I tweeted this discreetly after a blow up on social media from various parts of the world about the controversial long read. I noted there: article, because I intend to defend the article, not the things that happened in Alex Tizon’s piece for The Atlantic about his family’s secret

People demand truth but they blow up when it’s not to their liking, failing to recognize that the work was not a lie, in fact, a brave truth. It’s naive and idealistic to demand stories to paint black and white portraits of explicitly good and bad characters and behavior. Real life is a web of intersecting good and bad, where people, customs, mindsets, and the ways of the world, are allowed to change and grow. Scrutinizing and nitpicking issues from the place of privilege where one “knows better” is self righteousness guised as righteousness. People wanna intellectual-speak instead of opening up their hearts to a writer who poured his into this. Their bond, in spite of all that was wrong in their circumstance is more genuine than how subordinates anywhere in the world get treated. Note that you can hurt and walk all over people without having to break any laws or violate any basic rights. This was a lovingly written memoir of a family that captures the ff. very crucial phenomena in the human experience:

(1) There are remnants of servitude that haunt us as revamped forms of it still exist today.

(2) There is love in dark and difficult places.

We are all Alex Tizon when we are silent, but we can also be Alex Tizon when we choose to be kinder and softer.

23 things

*So I turned a year older and a lot’s happened within my birthday month surprisingly. None of which would be the older and wiser thing, but here’s some of things I sort of learned the hard way thanks to my stubbornness

family for life
At the end of any day, week with friends, phase of socializing, working for the money, or exploring the world, through good times and bad, family is a foundation for life. Family consists of the people you grow up and old with so you shouldn’t take any time you get with them for granted 💖

who cares tho
I’ve tried to be less over-think-y in much of what I do, instead of having to always tiptoe around my actions. As long as it makes me happy in the moment and I’m not hurting anybody, I think spontaneity bordering on impulse haha is where I thrive

do it yourself
If you want something done the way you want it to be done, best to do it yourself. I learned this throughout high school and college group works but this extends on to a lot of other things in life. You can’t just constantly rely on people or always trust people to do the right thing. You gotta oversee things so you either learn the way things work or improve or personalize them. I hear DIY everythings on the side are habits of highly environmental and healthy people on YouTube but I’m not that sort of person yet haha but same philosophy. You have control and access of what goes into the things you consume. But this is beginning to be a habit for me when it comes to most of my meals at home. I don’t pay huge prices for the overpriced food I used to order in restaurants but try to recreate them at home 🥑 This is probably going to extend into the home chores I used to depend on people for 🏡

no lurking
This is a habit some of my girlfriends and I had/have, gah. Lurking over people’s profiles is an Olympic waste of time because it doesn’t do good. It only feeds jealousy and insecurity. Instead of getting to focus on yourself or things you enjoy, you divert your attention to people that aren’t part of your life and that’s yuck

we’re all strangers
Boy do I love talking to strangers, at least the extroverted part of me. I like getting to know individuals especially from faraway parts of the world because I like learning about life in other places. And sometimes I pick up new things, but often I also pick up old things. Things that we all share as people, and this has kept my faith in humanity going. People are people, in spite of whatever cultural or societal differences we may have or how humans have been awfully depicted and terribly represented in media because of crappy governments. Herd mentality really gets the better of people, but otherwise, I’ve met some cool strangers that I’ll always remember although never get to develop deeper friendships and relationships with

health is wealth
I’m getting old and I’ll be graduating with a long string of bad habits from college that I’m more than happy to fight. After watching people in my family get older too, I’d like my family and the people nearest to me to be healthy and happy together

intellectual stimulation
I ought to only open tabs of articles, videos, that are for the most part intellectually stimulating. Apart from fashion or beauty blogs and channels, I find I feel more productive when I learn and absorb knowledge and none of those mind-numbingly shallow listicles. Though memes, gifs, and parody clips don’t hurt every now and then 💡

don’t chase people
I’ve been long accustomed to the coming and going of people in and out of my world, and while I’ve never made grand gestures to seek them out even as far as to sending messages lol, the pain of people leaving usually stays with me a good while and I used to let it affect me a lot. While it sounds bitter, I think you shouldn’t really save brain space and emotional energy on fellow humans that don’t give a rat’s ass about whether or not you got sick, you stayed up thinking of them, or you want them in your life. For as long as they don’t go out of their way for you, you shouldn’t even dedicate your precious time and heart to loving them from a distance when you could be creating other memories where you are now with what’s with you now

don’t slack
Do all things with focus, love, and passion. Divert your full attention to the task at hand, then it pays because I’ve  learned that things get done faster, checked off the list more, and giving quality usually means you get good quality in exchange

attraction is not the same as possession or appropriation
Just because you’re drawn to something, it doesn’t mean it’s for you, and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s good for you in the long run. This works for things and people alike. For that happy crush friend you had a couple of good memories with, for those clothes that look nice but you don’t really need or love, for the experiences you watch others have that seem great but aren’t really for you. There’s good in everything, even great, but you don’t have to claim everything that seems beautiful to you. I am learning to admire and appreciate them, without attempting to own them or keep them. This is part of my years-long exercise in letting go 🍂

the worst kinds of people don’t know they’re terrible people
We all don’t like a bitch but nobody likes bitches that act like saints. The worst types of people I’ve encountered are self-righteous, self-serving to a certain extent, and overall plastic people that love to play victim or have savior complexes. These are the most toxic types of people to have around because they assume to be doing everybody else a favor, instill their value out of insecurity, and make issues out of nothing. They’re also unhappy for you and themselves

don’t go with the flow
This goes for trends or whatever’s in or whatever everyone else seems to be doing. Keeping up with the Joneses is one sure fire way to lose your money and more importantly, your sense of identity

be self centered
Most people are inherently self centered and if done in a balanced healthy way, it’s actually a good thing. Do it FOR yourself because each person is responsible for his or her happiness and those who put the blame on life constantly or other people, need to grow out of that. It’s nothing personal, everything personal personal

natural is better
Inserting all save the earth rationales here. When I was younger I promised myself that I’d grow up to maybe get better at puttin g on makeup because I never really picked it up, but I realized that I’m more comfortable in literally my own skin. I also learned that processed foods are terrible so I’ve gotta avoid those to develop healthier eating habits

choose relevance
I’ve had the insane millennial type habit of scrolling through my feeds mindlessly on various apps just to stay updated with god knows what kind of news I’m picking up regarding other people’s lives. Fortunately, I’ve also gained another habit of watching the news more often so I’m becoming more aware of other things going on outside of social media

unplug
Being connected to the wifi doesn’t mean you’re making meaningful connections half the time. Like I said, I have the millennial habit of just refreshing timelines and scrolling for hours switching apps in an attempt to stay connected but I’m not really making much meaningful connections. I’d look at people’s stories, just tapping and swiping out of habit, and I didn’t really like what I was seeing either. I realized I ought to have better relationships with the things and people in my surroundings and not stay glued to my phone

make room
I’m a little bit of a hoarder under the bad assumption that if there’s space, you ought to fill it up. I’m also a little bit of a sentimental hoarder so I seem to just store everything with any memory attached to it. But after coming across a ton of videos about minimalism, I’ve learned that it’s going to be one heck of a challenge I’m willing to undertake, to delete and throw out the things that aren’t necessary or value adding to my happiness and overall wellbeing

labels are just labels
Stereotypes have a negative connotation to them because they’re used to generalize, like much of names, labels, and words, they’re just there for convenience. Don’t let the brands you ascribe yourself to or the labels people tag you with limit you to becoming whoever you want to be and doing all sorts of things, especially if it goes against what you’ve been typically tagged with or associated to. As I’ve learned in class, language both helps us and limits us

don’t confuse sentimentality with happiness
What had once made you happy is not the same as something that still makes you happy. While I’ve always been one to move along pretty quickly in my life from one thing to another, it’s a good reminder to keep. This bodes well with a minimalist mindset

you can’t have it all, but you can try it all then let life surprise you
There’s really no harm in trying things out. I learned that you can’t let your own fears, discomfort, or worst of all, laziness, keep you from getting actual things done. It pays to work hard because you’ll never be too disappointed in yourself and it can only get good to great from there

water is a universal salve
I used to not be able to drink over a regular sized bottle of water a day apart from whatever I drank to help swallow my meals. But after drinking more water became a daily habit for me, I’d easily be able to finish the suggested amount per day. Unless it was an especially hectic day and I didn’t have water at hand, then I’d feel the negative effects like body aches, headaches, joint stiffness wow I’m like an old person haha on the night of or the day after 💧

don’t stop dreaming
I can believe it’s incredibly easy to let go of all the things you’ve wanted to do in lieu of all the things you have to do and other realities that are pending and knocking on the door. But if you don’t get to feel rewarded by hobbies or passions, then that’s the route to becoming a really sad robot

seek beauty
Seek the nice things, whatever makes you feel glad to be in the universe and grateful to have life cause what else, really?

nmst

Run the mile

schtudThere’s an impossible list of things to do before the paper of papers is due. If not for a fear of being intellectually inadequate as in not smart enough, it’s an even greater test of my discipline and ability to stay focused. I can submit a mediocre thing, but I’m not sure if I want to.

For the longest time I’ve been told and it’s occurred to me as well that I’m unfit and it’s often felt I wasn’t cut out for this. I may have taken a zillion detours to the many things I’ve wanted to do most in college and even in philosophy, but here I am and there’s an opportunity to make a little dent in our theories of thought. And maybe I’ll surprise myself.

You can go the distance,
you can run the mile,
you can walk straight through hell with a smile

Eco-promise

*For my last general class which is also my last science class ever, I had to make a commitment to the environment. We were required to do one of those take a picture with a cardboard message thing, post it on social media, along with an explanation. Not a fan of that so I just kept it private on Facebook, haha then took a screenshot. To my surprise I ended up taking the project a little more seriously because this is one of the social/global issues/movements I feel more strongly about. (Thinking of making a separate post to share some of my favorite clips on the topic and another one to expound on this maybe) This was the rushed essay I typed on my phone so forgive the weird formal reflection tone and my philo professors had been talking bout Aristotle so much that day so he got squeezed into this.

Lately I’ve been realizing much of our crimes against the environment, big and small, as a group or even just as individuals, are done mostly out of bad habit. Aristotle did say that to know the good is to do the good and that’s how it is to be virtuous. It’s funny how we already know what’s good for the environment yet we still out of pure stubborn habit, continuously practice otherwise. Unlike responsibilities and obligations in school and work, correcting these bad environmental habits don’t necessarily have to mean boring scientific methods. Much of what I know about tiny concrete ways to save the environment today comes from social media actually. It’s taught me that a lot of the process has to do with small acts.

We don’t necessarily have to live in a bubble and produce 0 waste just to save the environment and reduce that size ozone layer carbon footprint. I think it’s all about continuously pursuing daily activities just with a few curves here and there in terms of our lifestyle. The way in which we go about things as normal as choosing what food to buy, what soap to use, where to throw the trash can make a great deal a difference if done in large and more regular quantities. Getting rid of bad environmental habits all boils down to daily choices.

If anything, so much of us are limited to old ways because we aren’t presented with choices or better alternatives. I’ve actually been pretty stoked about moving towards this direction. It’s a direction that lets me choose local, choose organic, choose homemade, and choose sustainable. I hope Manila becomes more and more open to these types of alternatives for the sake of everyone and everything. It’s a cycle after all.

When we choose local and organic, it becomes an act of support. There’s usually a group of people behind these, which we end up supporting, hence sustainability. We support the brilliant risk-takers that invested in the non mainstream for the bigger picture. We support indigenous tribes, we support jobs and similar environmentally aligned projects. We support an old culture and perhaps even this new one—of sustainable living.

I’m happy to have learned online that there are a lot of communities around the world with people who in their own creative and very personal ways have gone back to the land. Whatever that means. Whether it’s manually brewing locally grown coffee beans at home instead of drinking out of that plastic or paper take-out cup or going off the grid like Alexander Supertramp, living off flowers and poisonous plants, this lifestyle is open to everyone. We all use each others’ help, and so can the Earth.

Some celebrities like Jared Leto and thousands of photographers in Northern America and Europe travel on foot or bus to capture the beauty of natural parks and wildlife. I love people like Mark Ruffalo for other reasons including how he uses his influence and milks amount of celebrity to spread the word about the things he believes in. This promotes the beauty that might motivate others to maintain all these wonders or to even do as they have and see it for themselves. I’d like to see for myself. It’s a collective, beautiful effort to make these alternatives and opportunities available to everyone. I’m beginning to see it as less of an obligation to the Earth. I think there might be no better way to live than by being one with majestic city skycrapers in urban jungles and the unrivaled magic and mystery of mountains, and maybe the wolf pack howl from a safe distance.

ec

don’t mind the blurry camera, awful lighting, and the I’ve been awake for 48 hours-look haha I was rushing to finish this before Friday and it was a long two days

We ought to know where we stand… In a pretty blue green, getting real old kinda world. So heal. Make. Save. And when what’s already perfect in itself is standing right in front of you, take a pretty picture and leave it for someone else to discover. Do the good. ✌🏻

Mary Lou “Lion Heart” Retton

*Since it’s Olympic season, although it’s barely televised over here, I just wanted to share a wonderful moment that happened to me in the sea of Simone Biles news.

This is Mary Lou Retton. She’s an Olympic gold medalist in artistic gymnastics. 🏅 She’s an icon. My uncle says she was America’s darling. She changed the face of gymnastics becoming the first American woman to win individual gold, beating the Romanians, who together with the Soviets, had dominated the sport for decades back then. Moreover, I just think she has this bubbly, energetic personality that made everything she did absolutely captivating. It translated on the floor.

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Two nights ago I tweeted that 1984 was a golden year. And part of the reason I love 1984 so much is Mary Lou. Just look at her fire. 🔥 And to my amazement, she acknowledged the tweet! Her verified account. Just to make sure, I checked her likes and it’s not like she’s the type that goes around liking fan tweets, she mostly likes sports related announcements. Boy was I happy. I freaked out for a good 20 minutes. I really appreciate famous people that still acknowledge fans. It’s just a tiny effort on their part but it sure does brighten any fan’s day

I get so teary-eyed every time I watch this. Just listen to Bella Carolli energetically narrate history.

If it isn’t obvious, aside from tennis, artistic gymnastics is my favorite Olympic sport. Every four years, I look forward to seeing people achieve what looks like the impossible and I wish my folks enrolled me in gymnastics classes growing up. Hooray for small, strong people.

But there’s just something about gymnastics back in the day. It was a lot more about form, artistry, creativity, and grace. Today the athletes are inarguably pushed to physical limits, but it’s because the sport has centered on stunts and the difficulty of extreme flips and tricks. Props to Simone Biles for quite literally defying gravity and challenging physics. But I miss the performers. I think Mary Lou was one of the best performers out there and her perfect 10 athleticism that was no accident either. It was also just part of the technique that made up the rest of her show.

She’s such a hero not just because of her gold or perfect 10s but because of her fighting spirit. I just really look up to her flame. You can see it in her eyes and her candidness gives away her passion. Most of all you can see it in her smile.

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Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It’s our goal in life to find it and keep it lit.

—Mary Lou Retton

A Lone State

A year and a half ago I stumbled on what is still one of my favorite silent shorts and I’m revisiting it. If you watch it, you’ll find it isn’t so silent after all. The only words uttered in the voice message in the beginning leaves a painful spell that remains long after anything is ever said. It nudges most who are familiar with this kind of feeling, a feeling unsure of what it is and what it can be as it changes minute by minute. The film rests on these changing internal tides where accepted solitude is constant. Backed up by a new retro inspired score, my favorite specifically being Video Dreams by Haunt, it explores the varying emotional states of heartbreak that turns into a stabilizing peace. He doesn’t seem lonely to me, just alone and as is with having nowhere to be with nobody else. But I can sense his state of missing.

The frustrated com arts major in me would’ve liked to work on a project quite like this one. If not for the unique play on music, it was a treat to the eyes more than anything. Viktor Pakpour’s cinematography is subtle in his panorama but particular with his setting. His color choices almost look surreal in the day then alternates with a relatable rawness in the evening which wonderfully capture the boredom and beauty in “life goes on”.

It’s not romantic, it’s the anti-romantic but especially artistic take on the reality of solitude today. I do enjoy taking romantic trips to convenient stores on my own too, does that count? I don’t live in the US but if this looks nothing like the high soaring American dream, this might just be the high point of its opposite in fact. He’s lost and he doesn’t mind, and this looks to me and obviously Victor Pakpour as one of the nicer places to go missing. We live in a pressing time wherein so many of us are actually being missed and missing the other, but always surrounded by the wrong crowds among things.

The six and a half minute short is like a trip back in time to my favorite decade, the 80s with hints of the 90s. I’m almost jealous because it’s hard to find yourself comfortably alone in the cross between what we’re never sure is suburbia or a mega city anymore. This is an acceptable form of withdrawal he was almost forced into by his situation, and he’s taking it rather chill, rather well if I might add. He does it in style. It’s interesting to note that he never once brought out his phone to connect to the past or to the far off others unlike all proper young adults living out realities posted online or y’know, it didn’t happen. And it looks like he can’t be bothered to. This film reminds me of the times I found myself under one of the sky’s many pastel hues despite being remotely removed from the side of the world I’d rather be in, and for a minute I can’t be bothered to as well.