Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cityzening: We talk, we walk, we are cityzens!

Welcome message from Dayang

We talk, we walk, we are cityzens!

To the representative of the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in the Philippines,  colleagues, family and friends.  Thank you all for coming over this afternoon.

Before I begin, I would like to thank the Vargas Museum of the College of Arts and Letters for hosting Cityzening, the Singapore International Foundation-Project Glocal partner, the Asian Cultural Council for supporting the final leg of my research for this project, Tin-Aw Gallery and Artinformal for hosting our first two satellite shows, the UP Artists Circle for logistic support and my home unit, the U.P. Center for Ethnomusicology for so many things.

This afternoon, we are fortunate to be joined by at least 80% of the Project Glocal artists.  I would like to introduce Tang Kwok Hin, Urich Lau, Tang Ling Nah, The Black Baroque Committee, Vichaya Mukdamanee, Thosapol Boribon, Jittagarn Kaewtingkoy, Rutheirat Kumsrichan, Jaffa Lam, Tam Wai Ping, Francis Yu, Esther Yip Lai Man, Preeyachanok Ketsuwan, Irma Lacorte, Mark Salvatus, Mideo Cruz, Wesley Valenzuela and Anton del Castillo. Our artist assistants RG Salazar, Roan Opiso, Anjo Bolarda, Marcel Gaspar and JM Cabling. And our project assistant Philip Noveras and Mang Ed Carlos.

This exhibit that you are about to view is a product of an 18 month labor: tears, blood, sweat, bargaining, borrowing and begging.  I started this project with a deranged ego, that since I have multiple personalities, I would be able to multi-task mentally and physically.  And today, I close a chapter of this Project, with a depleted ego and an even more depleted bank account. I am an exhausted mortal. But an exhausted mortal with so much joy in her heart.

I am a permanent resident of the cultural world, by choice and default, and there is nothing more important for me than to learn and experience culture—my own and that of my neighbours—and I was able to achieve that by dragging along 28 other souls (at the very least), in this search of “knowing”.

Reflecting on how this project transpired is a difficult task.  It is almost impossible to give you an account or some sort of travelogue, in few minutes, that would actually make sense, because Project Glocal is not just this exhibit.  What I could share with you now are keywords that could very well represent the process that we have all engaged in.

  1. Circumstances engineering: Project Glocal, the mothership of Cityzening is a scheme to engineer circumstances for artists to engage, not necessarily for an exhibit, but to engage with each other as colleagues, or even better, as friends;
  2. Committed conversation: This is the pretense of this project. Committed conversation is talking to another person with the full intention of understanding them and allowing them to enter you comfort zone, to the point of agreeing to subject your agenda (in our case, art) with his. Conversation is easy. The commitment is a whole different story, because it requires us to invest, which brings me to the final point. 
  3. Investment: The artists, who are involved in this project, have invested their time, effort, money, patience, ears, kidney, lungs, and whatever else was required from them to enable us to make Project Glocal happen. At the same time, Project Glocal is an investment for us. Our bank book of relationships and experiences beefed up a plenty over the past months.
I cannot emphasize enough the fact that Project Glocal proved to be a real demanding work for all of us. However, as cityzens, we are filthy rich people. We are filthy from the toils of our labor; but richer than the Sultan of Brunei for the same reason that we are filthy.

On this note, I invite you all to Cityzening.
Again thank you for coming.