writings, projects and exhibitions of Clarissa Chikiamco

Thursday, July 14, 2011


For the past several weeks since coming home in early May from the Asia Young Artist Festival, I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on my projects and my curatorial direction. Looking at it in the long-term, I still have great flexibility and definitely there is quite a range of things I want to look at and explore. The advantages of being a young and independent include that greater flexibility to be experimental (of course, it depends how you define experimental as well) vs. the expectation in being older to have already narrowed to a field of specialization. If some artists are known for focusing on certain themes in their work, some curators are known for that as well. Although just like some artists and maybe even more so, curators can be site or situation-specific, thinking of exhibitions or projects based on the opportunity or commission or a certain context that they wish to respond to.

Actually, much of these thoughts have led me to do a lot of self-contemplating on curatorial identity (vs. artistic identity). And this probably got thrown into greater relief when I joined a performance art workshop by Mella Jaarsma in Manila Contemporary the other month. I was a non-artist among artists... but thrilled though to respond and think of my own hypothetical artworks (since for the workshop I was hypothetically an artist like them). As a curator and writer, I found it interesting, inspiring and especially insightful.

Related to that, I think around this time of the year is the time I need to start making decisions for projects next year - at least for those which need exhibition space in a gallery or a museum. I understand slots are filling up fast so I need to act quickly and get some proposals in too.

In other news, I have been devoting a lot of my time in the past month and a half to Japanese language classes. I have no plans to move to Japan but took the lessons because I simply wanted to continue from having learned Japanese during my 6-week trip there earlier this year. In some strange way, I felt some kind of ease with learning and speaking it and thought it was worth furthering it rather than letting it go. But because of the schedule, the minimum number of students required and the timing, I wound up being in a very intensive class. The hours in and outside of class spent studying, doing homework and writing clocks in to a minimum of 10 hours a week. On average I'd say it's more like 12. We also have midterms and finals which we need to pass to get to the next level. So it's been incredibly intense but also incredibly rewarding. My teacher who reads the journals she has us keep says I write well. But of course, to put it in context, I still have an elementary vocabulary and what I'm writing in my diary are things I did during the day and plans I have for the next week or next month. It's really limited but hey, I do try with what I know!

Tomorrow at the latest edition of Bedroomlab on Friday, 15 July, I will be presenting briefly on the End Frame 3 project. The event starts at 7 pm in Cafe Clay in Makati. This notice comes a bit late but do come if you can. The next End Frame 3 show, Sorry for the Inconvenience, a solo exhibition of Manny Montelibano, opens on 13 August, Saturday, 7 pm, at Gallery Nova.
For more information on Bedroomlab, go to http://bdrmlab.blogspot.com/.

On Monday evening at 6.30 pm, I will be at the Langgeng Art Foundation, Yogyakarta, Indonesia to present some videos and a short talk on Philippine video art. This is under the Video Voyage program of Video Vortex. For more details, click http://networkcultures.org/wpmu/videovortex/7-yogyakarta-2/workshops.

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