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 🌏🌍🌎

Advertisements

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

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. ✌🏻

A piece of vandalism ☮

 *I’m not huge on politics but I wish I knew more and I’d like to do my own part as a citizen not only of my country but the world. It’ll be my first time to vote this May and although I still don’t know who I’m going to vote for, I do know that every person counts. This goes past elections. A government is important but no government can fix us when we refuse to fix us. With all the crazy bad natural and unnatural tragedies going on and will be going on, in here and the world, this is my piece. I also watched Bb. Pilipinas last night and contrary to popular protest, I’m actually real happy my bet won. Yay Maxine Medina, she’s lovely! 👑 In a far away munchkin land, I might join a pageant and say something along these lines… 😛🤓

Found this written in permanent marker in an alley in Singapore, ironically but fittingly a country that considers even the tiniest acts of vandalism unlawful. Still a minimal yet relevant piece of vandalism. I’ve come across a number of (legal) street art in Singapore meant to promote their culture and lineage, usually portraits of old Singapore. This came as a surprise find on a perfectly crisp white building which I had already been excited about for the usual photo op.

But this familiar quote isn’t meant to empower our indifference or sense of entitlement. Anyone could easily feel so empowered, fueled by anger towards certain systems we’re bounded by just to start a revolution of some sort. People in large numbers especially tend to get swept away by the spirit of battle, they tend to forget what they’re fighting for in the first place. And how fights can go. There is a time and a place for fights, and more importantly action doesn’t always have to be synonymous to speed typing on comment sections of social media platforms and walking hand in hand with clenched fists on the road. 👊

Uncle Ben was on to something; with great power does come responsibility. Only we are responsible for what happens to ourselves and our world. No government or god or people we project god-like qualities to can save us. Only we can save ourselves. When heroes disappoint and they have precisely because more often than not, human beings aren’t meant to be put on pedestals, much less things we cannot see. We become our own heroes. We ought to stop waiting on each other.

Whether it’s politics, education, human rights, safer streets, world hunger, or saving the environment (heck we should all save the environment🌿🌳), just stand for something. Action may just mean putting one foot on the ground and turning the other way around. Clenched fists aren’t the only way to fight for something but with open palms and outstretched arms for more. Stand for something, online and in real life by your own means. 

Not caring is not cool. In a generation where we’ve all hurt each other and taught one another that not caring is ultimately the better and undoubtedly cooler way to go, we’re coming close to functioning like robots that operate on instinct and very little of heart. 🤖 Dig deep down and we all weep a little for the things that we have to admit are also bigger than us. I have days when I convince myself it’s better not to care, that way I won’t get hurt or be left disappointed. But these are times we ought to grow up to face the reality that we live in a breaking world that wasn’t always this way. It could be another way. Let’s grow up with child-like innocence and love once again as children of the earth.👶🌎💓 It’s okay to care, I think we all do.✌☮

[2:06]

Reading less than 140 word-poems on Twitter by people who are just as silent and loud about their thoughts and feelings. Anonymously honest. I feel a little less alone as people string up the words I will never find and I am subtweeting in my mind. 

Say what you feel

*So this weekend Kanye West (and Wiz Khalifa) stepped foot in the South East and made a whole lot of noise. I’m no fan but I do go online every now and then and I can’t un-see the massive explosion of posts. I came across his speech. 

So if I get in trouble for saying the truth, what’s gonna be said the rest of the time? And I had to fight every day of my life when the whole world turned against me for saying out loud what everyone else felt. But that’s the job of an artist – of a true artist – not to be controlled by the finances, not to be controlled by perception, but only to be controlled by their truth – what you see, what you feel, and say what you f**king feel.

—Kanye West

I feel better knowing for a minute that there’s another solid set of individuals that still believe in the honesty of art and saying what you feel.

Coincidentally whilst in the push and pull of my own madness and hard heart searching, with my beliefs all in question, I’ve also been thinking and feeling dumb and reckless every darn time. Okay, fine not every time.

So I was told…

I wouldn’t say that. Reckless maybe? But that’s a bad word to use. You don’t get bogged down by consequences and that’s a good thing. It makes you genuine. When it comes down to it, you don’t live by the standards of another.

—my supportive friends awyeah sorry for being a pain these days

But in this whole truth-telling business (and there’s more to it than just telling your truth but living up to it, yeah he said it SAYING WHAT YOU FEEL), another part of that reality is that you would totally feel like Kanye vs. world & Taylor except you ain’t all that gold & glory. It’s a lonely place to be. You go into these things all alone, with everyone telling you no, looking at you like you’re stupid, and watching your every move, knowing you’d already fall over your two feet even before making any mistakes. Then people boooo, your inner angels start booing at you too.

It’s nice to know however that there are people who’d give this a cheer. More power to people who make an art out of being honest. I guess you can call it honest living.

Featured image: A children’s book translation of Bound 2Gether © Zak Tebbal which I think is just genius