Litte Blue Window (2020)

There’s a scene from the novel Station Eleven when communication and broadcast systems slowly break down after an outbreak of a lethal flu strain spreads around the world, paving the collapse of modern civilization. This appears to be the point of no return, televisions and radios pick up nothing but static, cell signal disappears, the internet blinks out. With the absence of information and communication, the whole world eventually turns dark and is unable to recover.

 

This is the first thing that came to mind when everything came to a grinding halt and the world was thrown into lockdown. All of us marooned indoors in our own little spaces for an uncertain amount of time, relying on our screens to connect to the outside world. With so much time and uncertainty, the mind wanders, tries to make order of things, only to meander again. The truth is that these times we find ourselves in situations of which we have very little control.

The series consists of cyanotype prints produced in the confines of my apartment where there is very little natural light. One of the pieces in the show, 56 Days, is a grid of cyanotype prints of equal number. The negatives were created from screenshots of video noise lifted from the internet. Placed on a window of my apartment, a single print was exposed through the sunlight of each full day. The process was repeated 56 times, becoming a visual journal of Metro Manila’s enhanced community quarantine over 56 days. A corresponding piece, The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me Today, is another grid of the same number, that makes up a large image of the last beach I saw right before the lockdown — the last experience I have of the outdoors. It was a trip I had
taken to isolate myself from the city. I had intended to ‘maroon’ myself on an island, to temporarily sever ties to my old life. It is ironic to unknowingly come home anyway to some kind of dystopic version of that.

In making the work for this show, I keep going back and forth between those mental spaces. The struggle to stay in the obscure present, to be mindful, to observe, and to ruminate on a past that involved a life outdoors that is becoming more and more abstract. In the absence of certainty and accessibility, I have resorted to constructing and deconstructing spaces, making do with resources on hand, attempting to find order and rationality in both processes and images.