Da Capo (2022)
Installation, Audio Loop, Aluminum Plate, Contact Mic, Contact Speakers, Guitar Effects Pedals, Amplifier, Mixer, Turntable, Vinyl Record, Cables, Projector, Subwoofer, Bookshelf Speaker
Using outmoded audio and video systems, the main components of this sound installation consist of three live- performing looping/repetitive sound elements. First, is the sound of the blank end of a record playing, creating a sort of locked groove, running through a reverb pedal, consequently played through a subwoofer. Second, the sound of the motor of an empty projector running constantly. Third, the sound picked up from a makeshift Plate reverb, subjected to a series of delays, reverse delays, echoes, and repeats— an abstracted vocal recording of a female vocalist singing Nabasag Ang Banga (The Water Jug Broke), a song prominently used in the first Filipino feature length silent film called Dalagang Bukid (Country Maiden). The film was made in 1919 by director Jose Nepomuceno, a photographer turned film director who is considered as the father of Philippine Cinema. It is based on a zarzuela of the same title, a story about the archetypal character of a Filipina country maiden.
Dalagang Bukid marks the birth of Philippine Cinema. Unfortunately it is one of hundreds of films lost due to poor archiving and storage, destruction brought about by wars and colonization, our harsh tropical climate, and perhaps most importantly the Philippine’s culture of disengagement with our own history.
There is now very little physical evidence that this important point in our country’s timeline ever existed. In all probability no one alive today has seen it. There are few articles and reviews written about it from the press archives, a couple of film stills, and personal accounts found in interviews from people who were directly or indirectly involved with the film.
The piece tries to explore this idea of loss and memory through sound and repetition— an attempt to grasp and rebuild from little fragments— a sense of something that is integral and defining of our own identity that cannot be fully experienced again.