Stasis & Mobility: Launch Speech

Last night (19 October 2018), Stasis & Mobility: Nasa Dugo Natin Yan?! (An Exhibit on Philippine Genetics and Culture) was launched.

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Opening Performance (Photo: Jose Wendell Capili)

The exhibit poses a general question: what is the role of culture and the environment in genetics? As I indicated in the program notes/exhibit catalog, this is not the first time the relationship between genetics and culture is put in the spotlight. Many have attempted to reflect on the question via discursive strategies. Others resolved the question by rendering the symbiotic necessity of one to the other. The exhibit contributes to the discussion by expanding the concept of genetics into the idea of stasis (equilibrium) and mobility (the ability to move freely) vis-a-vis the Philippine context. This idea is akin to metaphysicians explaining alterity and permanency: the self, as the individual ages, is changing; at the same time, it stays the same. The exhibit is a reflection of how the genetic make-up of the Filipino is both permanent and changing. In this regard, the biology of genetics is not absolute deterministic makeup but is actualized by a series of naturalizations.

The exhibit uses the following tropes in the expansion, problematization and reflection of genetics an culture: sciences, language, heritage, and citizenship.

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A digital art by Glendford Lumbao exhibitied in the Science Gallery (Photo: Stasis and Mobility)
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A study of the “Myth of the Peopling of the Philippines,” by Lumbao one important commissioned piece for the Science Gallery (Photo: Stasis and Mobility)
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“Nasa Dugo ba Natin Yan?” also by Lumbao is currently exhibited in the Science Gallery (Photo: Stasis and Mobility)
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Photo essays by Kevin Brandon Saure and Roger Federico, part of the Citizenship Gallery (Photo: Stasis and Mobility)
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Helix DNA or the Spitting DNA, an installation by Christine Axalan is also on display, part of the Science Gallery (Photo: Stasis and Mobility)
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Roger Federico’s photograph displayed at the “Diversity in/and Everyday Life” (Photo: Stasis and Mobility)
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Laot, Layag, an installation by Blaise Zamora, part of the Citizenship Gallery (Photo: Stasis and Mobility)
PAGE 23 PHOTO-8a Valderrama Antique Page Photo
One of the displayed figure in the Heritage Gallery (Photo: Stasis and Mobility)
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The Heritage Gallery (Photo: Stasis and Mobility)
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Still from the video animation/installation by Christian Bautista, the centerpiece of the Language Gallery (Photo: Stasis and Mobility)
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Still from the video animation/installation by Christian Bautista, the centerpiece of the Language Gallery (Photo: Stasis and Mobility)

As the head curator, I had to deliver a speech in the exhibition. Below is the speech from yesterday’s launching. The speech was delivered in Tagalog. A translation in English will be provided later:

Magandang gabi sa lahat. Sa ngalan ng aking mga kasamahan sa proyekto, nais kong iparating sa inyo ang aking taos pusong pasasalamat at kagalakan sapagkat pinagbigyan ninyo kami ngayong Biyernes upang inyong maging ka-date.

Ayon nga sa ating project brief, ang eksibisyon ay isang pagninilaynilay hinggil sa genetic-make up ng Filipino at kung paano ito mas mauunawaan bilang isang dinamikong stable at permanenteng lunan ng pagkatao sa kabila ng katotohanang hindi maitatanggi na patuloy ang pagbabago nito.

Gayundin ang genes – patuloy ang pag-iral mula pa sa ating mga ninuno hanggang sa sumunod na henerasyon. Subalit sa kabila nito – patuloy rin ang modipikasyon at pag-ayon sa bagong katawang tumanggap nito.

Hindi ko na po ipipilit pa ang usapin ng genetics dahil hindi po ako scientist. Kami po ay mula sa mundo ng sining, humanidades at agham panlipunan. Ang aming layunin ay maipakita na kagaya ng agham ng genetics, naniniwala kami na maaari nating maunawaan ang komplikadong naratibo ng genetics sa mga pinagnilayang modelo.

Kamukha ng agham ng genetics, patuloy rin ang aming pagtahak sa komplikadong mundo ng pagiging tao, pagpapakatao at pagsasakatawang tao. Hindi man magkahawig ang ating mga metodolohiya at epistemolohiyang pagdanas, sa huli, pareho naman ang ating destinasyon: ang makapag-ambag sa produksiyon ng kaalaman para sa ikabubuti ng sangkatauhan. Ayan, ang stasis and mobility!

Sa pagkakataong ito, nais kong pasalamatan si Chancellor Tan, si Dr. Anita Hardon ng Unibersidad ng Amsterdam, si Dr. Cecilia dela Paz ng Opisina para sa Pagpapasimuna ng Kultura at mga Sining at ng Bulwagan ng Dangal, ang University Theater sa pamumuno ni Prop. Josefina Estrella, at ang Opisina ng Impormasyon ng UP Diliman. Hindi maisasakatuparan ang pagiging “scientists” namin kung wala kayo.

Nais namin pasalamatan si Dr. Ernelea Cao, ang aming kakampi sa tuwing pinanghihinaan ng loob.

Nais ko ring ipakilala ang mga kasamahan nating “geneticists” ng proyekto:

Bryan Viray, Olivia Kristine Nieto at Jem Javier bilang mga katuwang na tagapamahala ng eksibit

Grey-An Keith Pascual at Davidson Oliveros, mga kawaksing tagapamahala ng eksibisyon

Arnel Paguyo, ang direktor panteknikal

Kevin Brandon Saure at Gillie May Salomon, mga tagapamahala ng produksiyon

Ang aming mga kabataang barangay: mga masisipag na Graduate Assistants at Student Assistants, John Leonard Gan, Roger Federico, Ian Ramirez, Raymond Doromal, Dolly Dodot at Kathleen Mack.

Ang mga konsultant sa mga mahahalagang salik ng agham panlipunan: Jefferson Mendez at Vincci Santiago.

Si Jefferson Villacruz, para sa layout at graphics
Chi Ibay bilang tagapamahala ng publikasyon
Ang mga editor: Mariamme Jadloc at Benito Sanvictores, jr.
Mga administratibong namamahala ng proyekto, Shirley Arandia at Pia Cala
Ang mga manunulat: Haidee Pineda, Anna Regidor at Bino Gamba Jr.

Mga kasamahan sa produksiyon:
Leonardo Reyes, Raul Camba, Bong Achico at Vangie Valenzuela

Pasasalamat rin sa mga staff ng Bulwagan ng dangal at mga karpentero sa pamumuno nila, Cris at Baby

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The core curatorial team with the artists. Kneeling (from L to R): R. Doromal, R. Federico, K.B. Saure, C. Bautista, K. Mack, I. Ramirez. Stadning (from L to R): D. Dolot, A. Paguyo, D. Oliveros, S.A. Tiatco, Chancellor Michael Lim Tan, Dr. Anita Hardon, L. Gan, G.A.K. Pascual, Christine Axalan, G. Lumbao, O.K. Nieto, and B. Zamaro. Not in Photo: G.M. Salomon and B.L. Viray

At ngayon naman, salubungan natin ang mga artista na nagpakilig sa ating mga isipan hinggil sa genetics: si Christine Axalan, Christian Bautista, Glendford Lumbao, Arnel Paguyo at Blaise Zamora.

A ritual-ceremony followed immediately after presenting the artists.

Visit us at Bulwagan ng Dangal. The exhibit runs until 16 November 2018.

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