LIVE TAKE FEED CONSOLE PLAY
Curated by Cocoy Lumbao, Jr.
Since the late 90’s, a number of art spaces, artists, and galleries have started to organize and feature shows that focused on a medium slowly gaining interest among artists. When the world of portable video cameras and digital filmmaking found their way into the artist’s studio, it became for some an indispensable tool for exploring visual expressions. Aside from the usual canvas, drawings, sculpture, and objects—the television set, VCR, cables, and closed circuit cameras suddenly became staple fixtures in some of the more notable and groundbreaking art exhibitions during that time.
Before the use of video technology has become almost second nature in most process- oriented projects involving research and documentation, there were a few exhibiting artists who saw it as a vital alternative to the confines of painting. They were a set of visual artists who took the risk—at that time—to explore a still fickle and modular technology that relied on analog machines and a complex mesh of wires and nodes. With it came a number of studio painters, sculptors, conceptual, and performance artists who didn’t see ‘video’ as just another way to explore cinema or film, but as another instrument not different from the scores of genres a paintbrush might allow. In other words–-it was a new path for creating something entirely new in the plastic arts. It was material to use–to find expression to the still inexpressible. The works, in the final analysis, were produced not as deviations from the conventions of moving-image practice but as affirmations to the world of material and visual exploration in the fine arts. These were not alternatives but necessities to the discipline of art.
It was in the year 2000 which saw a gallery piece done in video enter the frame of national recognition when Poklong Anading’s Line Drawing (first exhibited in West Gallery in 1998) won the Gawad CCP Award for experimental film/video. It was a first for such process- oriented work with a formalist and almost abstract quality. In the years that followed, festivals and other art happenings included other artists’ video that emerged out of the studio during that time with the likes of Gary-Ross Pastrana, Lena Cobangbang, Kaloy Olavides, and Cocoy Lumbao to name a few. Other sets of artists embraced video and filmic techniques by incorporating their own artistic practices with motion, like in MM Yu’s photography, Victor Balanon’s drawings, Rico Entico’s narratives, and Miggy Inumerable’s computer coding. Younger visual artists from multiple disciplines followed suit in exploring some of the inherent qualities of light, the screen, digital motion, algorithms, and simulation as seen in the works of Derek Tumala, Neo Maestro, James Clar, and Tatong Torres. While another, younger breed of artists with new works incorporating video continue to explore its intersectionality: sculpture, performance, and most recently–NFT’s as demonstrated in the works of Miguel Lorenzo Uy (NCR), Greys Compuesto (Cebu), and Mirjam Dalire (Davao).
Through this small selection of artists, different tendencies, sensibilities, strategies as well as affectations could be gleaned from works that represent the different forms the moving-image might take. Some highly derivative, some completely evolved, some distinctly expanding the idea of motion, while some—still devoted to the inherent qualities of video.
In gathering artists whose works span two decades of integrating video, film, and other digital technologies in their studio practice, the group exhibition, Live Take Feed Console Play, is an attempt to surveil how works on video and related formats have impacted the landscape of visual art in the Philippines, and how it could have created its own language to add to the whole taxonomy of moving-image practice across different disciplines.
1, 2023, Single-channel video, audio, server cabinet, holographic LED fan, active powered speakers, subwoofer
I see this work more of a site rather than an ‘object of art.’ I wanted to evoke this quality of hyperrealness by presenting it as a monolith within the space. Within the structure is a light that flashes rapidly. The flashes of light are camera flashes taken from their reflections on unpowered (black) screens. The sequence of the flashes is actually a cryptograph. Since the beginning of my artistic practice, I’ve been interested in the metaphor of light— how it makes us see and how it blinds us. This eventually evolved into exploring social phenomena like our relationship with technology, like how it evolves with us and how we evolve with it.