Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cityzening: Curatorial Note

Curatorial notes

We have called Project Glocal by many names: art project, multi-locale, cross-cultural, social experiment, cultural experiment, collaborative project, etc. After more than a year of brewing the idea, and some more months of producing public activities to provide the project a tangible entity, we came to believe that Project Glocal is an act of CIRCUMSTANCES ENGINEERING. As characters of city, we tried to engineer circumstances to enable us to get-in-touch, relate and engage; to plot our destinations or to trace our paths; to evaluate our pacing or simply to allow us to pace in whatever route we chose to be in and whatever mode we favour.


The Project started with an impression that we are doing a cartographer’s project, one of those projects that culminate with an exhibit of cityscapes as in skyscrapers, streets, traffic and more skyscrapers—thus, city as a physical entity.

Eventually, we came to realize that we operate in what Erik Swyngedouw calls a new urban multiplex which is “a fragmented kaleidoscope of apparently disjointed spaces and places, a collage and patchwork of images, signs, functions and activities that are nevertheless globally connected in myriad ways” (Swyngedouw, 1997).

We came to ponder that the city is a conglomerate of sort, which is not purely glass and concrete infrastructure. It is as much human, it is as much nostalgic, it is much melancholic, or absurd as any other platform. It is by far one of the most abstract inventions of modern history. And it is a fluid blueprint that could accommodate our ridiculous and/or brilliant ideas.


Gabriel Peluffo Linari, says that “artists in occasions form ephemeral groups that is dynamic, transformational (…), revealing evidence of society remnants, and where cultural complicities are shared” (in Mosquera, 2004). True enough our coming together for the purpose of this project was designed to be ephemeral; where the relationship terminates (or take on a new form) after the work has been done. However, our encounters online and as multidimensional humans weaved a relationship that enabled us to reveal our person, to recognize similarities and to ignore, justify or challenge differences and to some extent, to like each other. We have created a network or a congregation that is all fuelled up and gearing to churn and spew our hearts’ desires.


In view of the quilt-type characteristic of City and capitalizing on the ephemeral transformational characteristic of artists as a group, we decided to focus our gaze to city-dwellers/dwelling.

So in Project Glocal, the collaborating artists and myself, went ahead to engineer circumstances where we talk, walk, plan, argue, agree, relate, commit and act, together, with each other and other people we met while in, on the way in, or, on the way out of a city.

The What of the CITY?

In our collective sojourn, the city was defined as something more than a place or location. It is where the local and the global do exist, but do not matter. It is a dimension, an idea, an instance, an occasion and/or an event that exists in the everyday and the other days. It is not a boundary but the extent which cover preferences, choices, habits, actions and reactions. It is a system where hard and soft goods are traded with or against necessities or luxuries.

And it is through this system where the ability of man to reassign being is optimized. Reassigning being is not simply changing suit; it is the ability to adapt to change; it is the willingness to at least reflect and (eventually) adapt the new; by referencing or being mindful (at most times) to what was old, what was usual or what have been. In this spirit, the citizen or people who live in the city are reassigned as the cityzen or people who are cities. Cityzenship is what we experience or how we chose to experience what we are. And that we are cityzens by virtue of how we act on what we chose to act on.

Simply, Jan Suchacek (2008) defined the glocal to mean the human capability to overarch (at least mentally) the various territorial scales (local and global). CITYZEN is therefore a person of CEREBRAL KINAESTHESIA. Artists as citizens maybe technically subjected to zip codes and taxes; being a cityzen is not. The potential fluidity of cityzen is a condition that enables further opportunities for collaboration, inclusion, among others.

CITYZENING is the act of being a cityzen; and cityzenship is the inclusion in the process or series of cityzening. These are thoughts and actions of exercising the cerebral aerobics (to some extent acrobatics) that is vested on those who recognize it.