Monday, January 24, 2011


Poster design by Kreame Dans Isaac

Baguio City - the mountain city. The city the Americans built during WWII, and set up base there, simply because it was colder than Manila. More info here: Baguio wiki
This was the first BEDROOMLAB session that was outside Manila. With the help of AX(is) art project and Mark Zero of Expansions, we were able to set up a most interesting BEDROOMLAB session in the summer capital of the Philippines.

Here's the sunset view from the apartment we stayed in.

The venue called CLOCKWORK was a small pub that was inspired by Kubrick's The Clockwork Orange. Posters of the movie as well as other 60s Brit pop memorabilia adorned the walls of this bar. Baguio is known for the bohemian lifestyles of the artists who live there, and a mashup of cultural values both American, "Filipino", and inspirations from Cordillera ethnic culture.

Baguio city's bohemian characters

A month before the much awaited AX(is) art project festival also known as the Philippine international arts festival, BEDROOMLAB acted as a precursor, a preview of sorts of what's to come for the Baguio local art scene.
The lecturers were Baguio's local art heros: visual artists Kawayan De Guia, Chris Yniguez, and sound artist, composer and "shaman" Shant Verdun; with music producer Mark Zero and artist-curator Tengal Drilon from Manila. We also had a special guest, Indonesian film curator and visual artist, Elida Tamalagi who was visiting Baguio city who loved the city so much, she decided to stay indefinitely.

Chris Yniguez, who grew up in Los Angeles, presented an overview of his body of work in a slideshow with music from his drone rock band without talking. He subsequently talked during the Q and A from the audience about working a lot on themes of dislocation and displacement -- a factor that contributes to his divided identity, given Baguio city's strong American history.

Chris Yniguez

Introductions to Chris Yniguez

Elida showed her quirky yet thought-provoking work-in-progress that involved Snooky Serna (a former actress) and it's correlation to Snoopy (from The Peanuts), to herself as a traveler, to Indonesian politics as well as Philippines' mashup culture.
Elida trying to answer really difficult questions

 Shant Verdun's presentation involved was more like a deep listening session as his avant garde sonic creations were like made up sonic environments, a nod towards how we organize memory and how sound ecology is often an overlooked (or under-heard) field in contemporary life. As a contrast to life in the city, much of Shant's compositions were field recordings taken from discreet places inbetween city and nature.

On the left: Shant Verdun

Tengal introduced an installation currently under development called Situations of the Flesh, which "explored the body as a construction of forms of discourse, obligations and mechanisms of control. Presented there are methods, trends, acts of rebellion, mutations and images of humanity undergoing transformation." [Ref: interview on Business World]

One of the interesting discussions that were brought up was theorizing the difficulties on introducing a new vernacular such as new media art in developing countries, esp. in an art scene like Baguio who is deeply rooted in traditional arts. Tengal subsequently performed a Live Cinema project, "Treatment for Film in 9 Scenes" -- which was like fragmented cinema, an interactive audio-visual journey that breaks up narrative into small pieces, accompanied by precomposed sound that forced the audience to make sense of the work by creating their individualized narratives. Chris Yniguez took on the drumset and jammed with Tengal -- the result was better than anyone expected.

The driving force behind the upcoming festival, Mark Zero and Kawayan de Guia discussed their plans for AX(is) art project, (a highly awaited art festival in Baguio city celebrating it's 20th year after many years in haitus) which kept everyone eager.  The night ended with people dancing to music by Mark Zero, people getting continually drunk, but all good as the ending always was but a beginning. At least for those who managed to drive home safely.
From Tengal's "Never mind the Politics, Here are the Curators" presentation
Kawayan De Guia interacting with the copious text on screen
Elida posed the question: "what shouldn't we care about art with French postmodernist tendencies?"
The cool Kawayan De Guia always wears his sunglasses at night

Mark Zero and Kawayan De Guia discussing AX(is) festival plans
Armi Millare of UP DHARMA DOWN feeding vodka to a politically incorrect stuffed toy, a black native plush doll.

The rest of the activities were creating music at TRANSIT SPACE in Camp John Hay, an abandoned library turned artist studio of Chris Yniguez.

 We also managed to find hotsprings in this cold mountain range, a one hour jeepney ride from Baguio city to the small baranggay of Asin could be quite promising.

Mark Zero looking for a spot

(L-R) Mark Zero and Tengal on a bridge made out of copper wires
Left side: hot spring water comes out from the cracks on the rocks, right side: cold cold stream water
 Photo credits by: Kreame Dans Isaac, Sai Bautista, and Kawayan De Guia
Special thanks to Kawayan De Guia, CLOCKWORK cafe, Chris Ynigues, Mark Zero, Expansions and Caliph8 for designing this post-Bedroomlab poster (which was our tribute event to Trish Keenan who died the week before):