Thank you for reaching out. Due to the current situation that we all find ourselves in, hearing from you from afar is such a welcome breath of COVID-free fresh air. It is interesting to note how distance is also relative nowadays. Whether we are a house apart or separated by oceans, technology can bring us together, however, the quarantine isolates us as well.
Taking the present circumstances into context, your work resonates as an allegory in many different levels. Various tales that weave concern, exasperation, anxiety, and despondency into one. Yet, there is expectation. One cannot discount the promise, although possibly bleak right now, there is courage and optimism, nonetheless.
Last March we all descended into the unknown. What now? The abrupt break from the routine we were all used to caught all of us off-guard. Then we realized that this pause could be seen as a way to realign and take stock of reality, to look beyond ourselves, to recognize our privilege for the benefit of others and more importantly, to do our fair share in correcting injustices inflicted by those in power (with the proper safety protocols in place of course).
Much like your dyeing method, this was the process we went through (and cyclically going through). You gathered what was available, subjected it to various components, peppered with unknown elements and waited with anticipation for the results. The trial and error scheme, while far from being fail-safe nor systematic, is both instinctive and intuitive. It is a response to the limitations and truths that imperil us. It surfaced the painstaking labor of the invisible. Dyeing has brought it to life.
Interestingly, how consumerism and commodification as an actuality is embroidered into the fabrics of our lives is a distinctive collage altogether. This manifests into your works both literally and figuratively. In this capitalist driven world, where every second is devoted to productivity and profit, its materiality gets harder and harder to ignore. The “work” and the “self” and its immediate gratification are not the only things that matter. Collective care and meaning must be at the forefront, most especially when distortions brought about by the neoliberal economy has been magnified.
In effect, I liken the idea of slumber to the state of irrationality, complacency, and satisfaction that the general 91% of the population consciously or unconsciously finds itself in. Ironic as it may be, given the blatant levels of incursion, poverty and assaults, apparently the populace is not “sleep deprived.” We must overcome this inertia; where the vision of proper education, equality, and justice for all comes into play. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, we can collectively wake up to begin imagining again and work towards its attainment.
I will leave you with this quote that I stumbled upon in the early days of isolation. As it sums up my feelings in reaction to the broad uncertainty and overall torpor it also is a rejoinder for your metaphorical call to action regarding our country’s listless forty winks:
“When we emerge out of our isolation, the world will be smaller and our horizons will be local. The priority will be solidarity and communion with the unemployed; everything else is unimportant but everything else will be secondary. May we emerge hungry for argument, conversation and debate. May our writing and art as more questions and won’t pretend to have all the answers.” – Christos Tsiolkas
May we all begin to dream again.
Roxas City, Capiz