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.

Persisting I

*Passed by the Art Elements Asian Gallery weeks ago with my parents and we discovered Norlie Meimban. Boy would I have loved to take home a piece or have something commissioned. Given his animation background, his style is a lovely mix of techniques and themes that give it a very postmodern look. Would love to meet him someday and see more of his work and how else it can evolve

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that centerpiece!

I’ve been so fixated on his series of unbroken motion depicting ideas of perhaps of a persisting self. I’ll always be curious about the temporal and the causal facets of continuity. Much to read on. Art that makes you think, a feast for the eyes, and food for thought, y’know 😊


Featured images: © Norlie Meimban

Tbh,

*Written, well tweeted lol, as I risked looking like an honest fool and this might be the only good thing that came out of it haha steps towards being less inhibited and hey maybe I’m back on the blog

There’s an honesty you owe others, yourself, and more importantly, the moments.

It gets tiring, having to tiptoe around a fear of being seen as weak, emotional, sentimental, soft, or sweet. It’s nice to be able to give people some kind of honesty that reveals parts of your most unapologetic self, along with your real thoughts and feelings. How else do we make more meaningful connections?

If something means what it does to you, let it be known, call, send an embarrassingly long message before things change and moments are gone.

I guess that’s how you do all that live and love thing a lot, and you owe it to yourself to do it ever so honestly and free of all your crippling fears.

We have no control of others’ choices but we can’t let that inhibit us from being ourselves. What they choose to do and how they react is a reflection of them and in no way related to what we truly think and feel about them, unconditionally and unafraid. It’s something to be able to look back with a smile about how we were fully there and alive, and human in our moments with others.

 

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.

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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.