On Conflicts & Terrains


On Conflicts & Terrains is an exercise on depicting and describing a landscape — a configuration of natural formations and architecture where events unfold and experiences are lived. A landscape, or any space for that matter, does not exist a priori. Far from being a neutral or passive background, it is always formed and informed by ideologies regarding labor, jurisdiction, property, and sovereignty.

In line with this notion, the project problematizes the construction of a pictorial representation of the Philippines as a distinct historical situation and socio-political node within the wider neoliberal world. Three questions guide the rendering of this image. What is the framework determining the lay of the land? Where should the vantage be positioned? How are people shaped by its climate, textures, values and vice versa?

The work is an inventory of its documentations. There is an increasing abundance of these images as technologies improve and the crisis intensifies. For the artist, there is this drive to organize these discrete and disparate manifestations on a common plane (as they really are) in order to approximate a totalizing narrative. This constructed field’s vantage point is placed in a position where the fringes and tears of its shroud comes
fully into view. The frame that holds these images together could only reflect its mechanisms and consequences in actual lived experience. Despite how much the artist would want to create a seamless tableaux, there are still blind spots and incongruences. However, this should remind us that capitalism constantly works to atomize social relations and create contradictions. The field could only be precarious at best.

The landscape displays the immensity of the situation that we are in. It can easily be mistaken as a monument of resignation and hopelessness. For the artist, it is but a simple gesture of sending the audiences a postcard that invites everyone to head outside and immerse in the sites the view represents and collectively seize our capacity to transform the landscape.

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