Fatima Lasay
Since the beginning
Works in Quezon City Philippines

Fatima Lasay (fats@up.edu.ph) is an artist, researcher and assistant professor of digital media and industrial design at the University of the Philippines. In 1995, she developed the University's first digital media art courses, Digital Media and Hypermedia. In 2000, 2001 and 2002 she organized the Digital Media Festival in Manila. Lasay has also curated a number of online exhibitions including "Geocentricity, The Earth as Center" (2001, fineArt forum Gallery and Leonardo Gallery), and has been featured by fineArt forum in "A Retrospective on the Digital Arts." She currently serves as corresponding editor (2002) for the Leonardo Electronic Almanac-fineArt forum, and art director for the President's Committee on Culture and the Arts at the University of the Philippines. Her homepage is: http://digitalmedia.upd.edu.ph/digiteer/
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Sangandaan '03 conference new reminder

Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2003 18:25:03 EST
From: hctoribio@aol.com
Subject: Sangandaan '03 conference new reminder

Happy New Everyone! 2003 is finally here and the SANGANDAAN international
conference and cultural festival is 7 months away. (yikes!)

The January 15 deadline for the submissions of proposals for papers for the
SANGANDAAN 2003 International Conference draws near. Below or attached is
the guidelines for those considering.

For those who have already submitted both proposal and c.v./bio, thank you
very much.

For those who submitted a proposal but not a brief bio or c.v., please tell
us a little bit about yourself and send to the reviewers listed in the
enclosed guidelines.

For those whose voices should be heard at this conference but have not
submitted a proposal and c.v., please send both. Remember the focus is on
the arts and media in relation to US-Philippine relations.

For everyone, the writers of selected proposals will be informed by the end
of January. Papers from the selected proposals are due May 15.

manigong bagong taon at kapayapaan,

Manila, Philippines


Confirmed keynote speaker: Dr. Lisa Lowe, University of California-San Diego

Confirmed plenary speakers: Dr. Reynaldo Ileto, National University of
Singapore, Dr. Resil Mojares, University of San Carlos, Cebu; Vangie Buell,
Filipino American National Historical Society-East Bay and more

Sangandaan 2003 is a cultural commemoration that highlights the arts and
media produced by Filipinos, Americans and Filipino-Americans in the course
of Philippine-US relations from 1899 to 2002. The cultural commemoration
be held in the Philippines on July 6-30, 2003 under the sponsorship of the
University of the Philippines, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and
San Francisco State University, in collaboration with numerous public and
private institutions in the Philippines such as the National Commission for
Culture and the Arts, the National Historical Institute, the National
Library, the National Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, Ateneo de Manila
University, and De La Salle University, and in the United States such as the
City College of San Francisco..

The Sangandaan 2003 activities will commence with the opening ceremonies at
the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Manila, followed by
an international conference at the University of the Philippines. Exhibits
and performances in the Quezon City area will complement the Conference in
the first week. The theatre productions, dance performances, concerts, film
and broadcast series, exhibits, literary events and culinary events in the
second week will be held in the Manila Bay area. The commemoration will
conclude with an outreach program.

The schedule is as follows:

July 6, 2003 Grand Opening
CCP, Manila
Key note speaker: Dr. Lisa Lowe, University of

July 7-11, 2000 Sangandaan 2003 International Conference (Quezon City)
University of the Philippines, Diliman,
Quezon City
(with the Ateneo de Manila University and De la Salle

July 12-19, 2003 Sangandaan 2003 Cultural Events (Manila)

July 20-31, 2003 Sangandaan 2003 Outreach Begins (Regions)
Baguio, Dagupan, Clark, Los Banos,
Legazpi, Iloilo,
Cebu, Tacloban, Bohol and

Sangandaan 2003 International Conference

Conference Goal

To commemorate one hundred years of Philippine-American relations, the
conference will confront, understand, and come to terms with the fact of
American colonization in order to hasten the processes of decolonization and
nation-building in the Philippines, on the one hand; and the creation of a
strong identity and galvanization of all Filipino-Americans into a dynamic
force in the United States, on the other.

Conference Objectives

Within the perspective of reflexivity for empowerment, Filipino, American
Filipino-American academics and cultural workers now come together to:

1. examine the arts and media produced by Filipinos, Americans, and
Filipino-Americans during the processes of colonization and decolonization
both in the Philippines and the United States in the last one hundred years;

2. explore the ways by which the arts and media produced by Filipinos and
Filipino-Americans can utilize the legacies of colonization so that Filipino
and Filipino-Americans can strengthen their own cultural identities and
thereby empower themselves as persons and as citizens of their respective

Conference Guidelines

1. The Conference will highlight the arts and media produced by Filipinos,
Americans and Filipino-Americans in connection with:

y the annexation of the Philippines, and Filipino resistance to American
occupation at the turn of the century;
y the Americanization of Filipino culture and the impact of Philippine
culture on the
American way of life;
y Filipino imitation, rejection, assimilation or transformation of elements
American culture during and after the American colonial period;
y the Filipino diaspora and the expression of rights of Filipinos and
in the US in the last century, and
y the continuing definition and affirmation of Filipino cultural identities
both in the
Philippines and in the United States.

2. Paper writers may come from different disciplines and may use varied
approaches for their study of arts, media or other cultural forms which may
include among others:

y the literary arts (oral and written, poetry or prose)
the performing arts (music, dance, theatre, or combinations thereof)
y the visual arts (indigenous and indigenized, traditional arts, plastic and
arts, photography, fashion)
y urban planning and public arts (monuments, historical markers, parks,
sites, streets, museums)
y architecture (domestic and public, vernacular and formal)
y print media (newspapers, magazines, journals, comics, and alternative
y radio (news programs, dramas, musical variety shows, special features)
y television (news, dramas, music and dance programs, talk shows,
documentaries, and other features)
y film and video (narrative, documentary, experimental, and others),
y culinary arts and
y multimedia arts

3. Papers may focus on single or comparative themes and may delve into
involving media and art works, artistic styles and movements, artists and
media persons, audiences, patronage, genre of arts and media, venues, media
or arts education, cultural heritage and conservation, cultural promotion,
media or arts institutions, media, arts and government, and other related

The NEW deadline for paper abstracts is January 15, 2003.

Writers of accepted abstracts will be notified by January 30, 2003. The
deadline for accepted papers is May 15, 2003. Please e-mail abstracts to:

Nicanor Tiongson, PhD Helen Toribio, MFA, MPA
Sangandaan 2003 Director Sangandaan 2003 Director
(Philippines) (US)
nicanor.tiongson@up.edu.ph htoribio@sfsu.edu

Priscelina Patajo-Legasto, PhD Cynthia Banzon-Bautista, PhD
Conference Coordinator Conference Co-Coordinator
priscelina.legasto@up.edu.ph dekano@kssp.upd.edu.ph

Papers shall be mailed to:

C/o UP System Information Office
Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs
Quezon Hall, UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City 1101

Registration Fees

All participants are requested to register for the Conference. The fees are
as follows:

y International participants (early registration by February 28) $150
(early registrants from the US and Canada will be eligible for discounted
y International participants (after February 28) $175
y International participants (day rate)
$ 75/day
y Local participants
y Local participants (individual sessions)

Fees will cover the costs of snacks, meals, papers, conference kit and
intracampus transportation.

US and Canada participants may make checks or money orders (in US dollars
only) out to Sangandaan 2003 and mail them with registration form to
Sangandaan 2003, SFSU College of Education, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San
Francisco California 94132.

All queries may be addressed to the Conference Secretariat in Manila at


Airfares, accommodations, and ground transportation available through Rajah
Tours International at <www.rajahtours.com>. Information contact Evelyn
Luluquisen at <clinton_park2002@yahoo.com>.

* Digiteer Art Tech Cult http://digitalmedia.upd.edu.ph/digiteer/
* Algorithmic Music http://www.mp3.com/fatimalasay
* Discussion Group send email to digiteer-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


Memory: Myanmar / Burma

Memory: Collaboration, Networking and Resource-Sharing: Myanmar
by Estelle Yaw (c) 2002

Collaboration, Networking and Resource-Sharing: Myanmar (CNR:M) was conceived as an open-ended project to assist Myanmar artists, deprived of resource, establish a contemporary art and culture centre in Myanmar. The event also served as a foundation for setting up a strong international network of artists, curators, writers and organisers interested in furthering independent art, collaborative structures, intercultural collaboration and socially engaged art. CNRM has immediate and longer-term components: an international symposium and 'Open Academy' workshops on collaboration, networking & resource sharing which was staged in June; and the longer-term project to establish an art center, to be managed by artists, with artists-in-residency programmmes for local and foreign artists. For Collaboration, Networking and Resource-Sharing: Myanmar, artists from Gangaw Village and Inya Artists groups, and other independent artists interested in modern and contemporary art, came together to form a new community, Ayeyarwady Art Assembly, to promote and advance modern and contemporary art in Myanmar. This new community includes artists from Yangon, Mandalay and various other regions of Myanmar.

"Artists are not necessarily intellectuals in a traditional or elitist sense. They do not claim for the sole authority to produce the worldview of a certain society. Instead, they claim for the autonomy of creative expression, trying to disseminate various discourses in the public sphere. Such a creative situation is a prerequisite for the building of a civil society. For the artist the creative activity is based on the interpretation of the actual context of the society she or he belongs to." This definition of the artist opened a very unusual occasion, a gathering of Burmese and international contemporary artists in the heart of Rangoon.

The symposium "Collaboration, Networking and Resource-Sharing: Myanmar", organized by IFIMA (International forum for Intermedia Art), was set up to provide information on resources and net working for contemporary artists in Burma. The long-term aim of the collaboration between IFIMA and Ayeyarwady Art Assembly (AAA) was for the artists grouped under the AAA to set up an independent contemporary art space in Burma. The symposium brought together Burmese artists and guests representing international cultural founders, curators, artists and people representing artists run spaces from Asia. It was a great opportunity to see the artists' current work and to exchange information about what is available to artists to help them work together and network.

Burma's ruling junta is infamous. Amnesty International has denounced it as having one of the worst record of human rights abuse. Aung San Suu Kyi, the peace Nobel Prize and leader of the opposition party National League for Democracy, has been in and out of house arrest. There are two million refugees, migrants and exiles in neighboring countries. Hence, contemporary art is not usually the first thing that springs to mind when one mentions Burma but even a dictatorship cannot completely control creative expression. Contemporary Burmese artists have conceptualized modern art according to both the Buddhist tradition, in which the artists see an abstract perception of the world, and in the traditional mythology and folklore, presented as a surrealist perception of the world. Under the British colony, academic art based on romantic and realistic styles was the only art accessible to the public and became the form accepted as Art. Modern art was introduced to Burma in the 50's .The term modern art was popularized then and several modern artists launched their careers during this decade. Since the military took power, it has favored traditional art, that is to say realistic art, as the medium to promote "Myanmar heritage, culture and values."

There are three formal art schools in Burma, one in Mandalay, one in Yangoon and the recently opened University of culture. The only style of art taught is realism. Some artists have exerted their own autonomy and branched out into contemporary art learning from books, being self-taught or teaching each other within The Gangaw Village created in 1979 and the Inya artist group. Both of the groups include artists working in a variety of personal styles and subjects expressing the artists' perception of their environment, domestic life, experiences and commitment to art through painting, sculpture, installation and performance. Rather than building a civil society, the most apparent wish is to survive as artists, to progress and represent their country. Being a contemporary artist in Burma is full of complications and dangers. Organizing a public exhibition is a lengthy process. The artists must describe explicitly the content of their work and apply to several government bodies to get an authorization. Once the work is hung up, inspectors come along and decide which piece can or cannot be shown. Oppressive regimes have a great fear of artists' production, and rightly so, the essence of it being individual expression, the anti thesis of oppression. On the other hand, artists working in realistic-romantic styles, produce unthreatening works exhibited in big commercial galleries, patroned by rich buyers. Money is so close to power.

The limitations of working under such a regime became obvious very quickly: the general censorship, the lack of communication through out the country, the impossibility to discuss cultural and national identity openly, to enquire about artists outside of Mandalay or Rangoon or the small number of women participants.

There are many more male contemporary artists in Burma than female contemporary artists. The system of masters passing on their skills may be partly responsible for this in Burma. On a wider scale, women's position in society is undermined and marginalized.

I will make a parallel between feminist art and the manifestation of the role of art in social change. The focus on female creativity has emerged from the wish to reclaim women's history and to resituate women within the history of cultural production and representation. Yako Wang, a Taiwanese artist, suggests that "the four major aspects of feminist art are: its concentration on things ignored by male artists, its view of the creative expression as an educative consciousness rising process, its highlighting of women's position and circumstances and its emphasis on the relationship between work, artist and society-through the work's purpose and meaning." Feel free to replace male by power and women by ...

Many topics introduced by the foreign speakers at the CNRS:M symposium were about the identity of the artist in post-colonial society. For example, Fatima Lassay, from The University of the Philippines explained, "Contemporary art draws from tradition and history, analyses it and pushes it forward. In order to do this we must re-examine our ethnic background and heritage. We have to recover our memory." Burma, a post-colonial country, is presently colonized by its own military. To initiate the recovery of Burma's memory is to question the Union of Myanmar. One piece if work, misread by the foreign guests, led to questions about ethnic discrimination. This issue is however to sensitive to be discussed.

Why bother with Art? It is not an income generating activity, but it is the food of the personal and collective mind. We are strange flowers; basic nutriments are not enough for our human brains in the long term. The understanding of the creative process is essential to the individual's growth and survival. It is a process used throughout human activities.

I see the work of art as the track shaped by paws, feet, the earth retaining the leaves and seeds fallen off surrounding trees, lost belongings, pieces of life; the track of culture and people's history. Luis Sepulveda, a Chilean writer and ex-political prisoner, writes on the ownership/trackings of a work of art, "If I was a sculptor and I was commissioned to make a statue of Alexander the Great, at its foot my name would come last. First would come the names of the Cavatori (marble miners) who had chosen, cut and brought down from the mountain the slab of marble. Then the names of the marble cutters who gave it form, followed by the names of the ones who prepared the lard, brought the rosemary, the names of the bakers and the names of the fresh Toscana wine grape pickers."

Art is the simultaneous expression of a community's self-realization. Art making springs from questioning what "I" am in relation to the world as it is, what is the relationship between the maker and the community and where does the community stand in relation to the wider world. The answer changes with the environment and it also can alter that environment. Through the Symposium, the Burmese artists had a rare chance to remind the wider world of their existence. Now they face the challenge to determine their relationship to their own community and environment. "Art is not a mirror to reflect reality but rather a hammer with which to shape it", wrote Bertold Brecht.

Estelle Yaw is a French artist and educator living in Thailand. She is involved in art projects with women and children from the migrant workers and refugee camps communities from Burma.



DMF2002 Artifact Reassembly thru New Media Art

DMF2002 Artifact Reassembly thru New Media Art
by Fatima Lasay (c) 2002

Manila, Philippines
In the contemporary arts where individualism is very strong, collaborative work is rare and very difficult because the artist has to tread that path wherein the self is relinquished for the benefit of the group - the self must be seen outside the individual. Isolation is also very strong in technology, the digital artist or technologist working in his or her little digital world believing that he or she is discovering the inner workings of the universe. But creativity does not flourish in a vacuum and discoveries are worth nothing if they are not made in a shared environment.

The series of Digital Media Festivals, or DMF, are efforts towards encouraging such a shared environment and promoting the value and beauty of collaborative work. DMF is an effort by students and faculty in both the Visual Communication and Studio Arts Departments of the University of the Philippines' College of Fine Arts. It is an effort by students in the VC36 (Hypermedia), FA100 (Intro to Computer Art and Design I) and SFA192X (Electronic Writing Workshop) digital media art electives and workshop classes. Early on, in the classrooms, young artists are encouraged to think critically and look at the significance of their arts education in relation with the various disciplines and in collaboration with people of various backgrounds.

In the first DMF in 2000, we enlisted the support and attracted the attention of professional digital artists and the graphic design industry. In the second DMF in 2001, we laid down an international network by collaborating and linking with international new media artists and new media events. With the attention of the industry fixed and the network in place, the third DMF can now begin the exciting task of connecting with the various disciplines often seen as outside of the arts. This year, DMF connects with archaeology and anthropology, collaborating with the Archaeological Studies Program through their deputy director, Dr Victor Paz. DMF also enlisted the curatorial and exhibitions design expertise of Noell El Farol and Roberto B. Feleo, both professors at the UP College of Fine Arts and professional artists known for their creative work in Archaeology and Anthropology of Art and Religion.

Hukay: Site and Situation
The idea to fuse new media with archaeology developed out of conversations with Noell El Farol in March 2002. I was interviewing Noell for an article in the Leonardo Electronic Almanac, and we touched on a project, entitled Hukay, that grew out of his fascination with archaeology.

The Filipino word 'hukay' means excavation, digging or pit. Figuratively, 'hukay' also refers to a burial excavation or a grave in the ground. Noell's work in archaeology through the UP Archaeological Studies Program reinforces skills and knowledge to pursue research in his Hukay installation work. Through the Program, Noell has been able to participate in actual diggings in prehistoric archaeological sites in the northern part of Luzon island, in Cagayan Valley, where the discovery of prehistoric remains is more evident. Noell's awareness of phenomena in the contemporary world and his subsequent ideas for Hukay were inspired by the discovery of burial grounds in two different locations and the processes by which these sites and artifacts were carefully investigated.

Noell's meaningful involvement in archaeology prompted me to invite him to interact with my students in FA100 (Intro to Computer Art and Design I) and help us investigate the relationships between archaeology and artistic practice. I asked Noell to direct an installation work for DMF that was based on his ideas for Hukay and, fortunately, he enthusiastically agreed.

For the DMF installation, Noell invited the students to the Archaeological Studies Program to discuss with Program deputy director Dr Victor Paz, some of the basic tenets of Archaeology. It was clarified how archaeology evolved from an amateur's pastime to an increasingly scientifically-based profession. Documentation of current archaeological work being conducted by the Program was presented by Dr Paz in order to illustrate the goals of archaeology in the study of social and cultural past.

In another meeting with students, this time with the intention to introduce the creative problem for the installation, Noell presented Site: Vessel done in the Seto, Japan. In the presentation, Noell explained his approach, aided by archaeological studies, in conceptualizing and constructing the installation.

Through Site: Vessel and Hukay, Noell articulated the framework of the creative problem the students would tackle for the DMF installation. The problem presented had reference to Site and Situation wherein naturally processed sites are influenced by cultural behavior (during human occupations), creating an ever-changing landscape that the investigator perceives at just one point in time. In order to find 'site' (and to understand how it functioned) it is necessary to infer or reconstruct changes in the landscape.

Significant to the investigation is a formulation of new body of knowledge: the site and situation yield layers of information that lay a foundation for the interpretation of meaningful phenomena. This allows us to make commentaries on our relationship with the appearances of the world, which are essentially non-corporeal and ethereal. (Every artifact has a life history that is unique in some respects, certain recurrent activities and processes cross-cut all life histories). In Site and Situation, students were asked to investigate, record, reconstruct and reassemble the relationship among the variables of these phenomena in a new media installation.

The students could begin by identifying a site and the nature of the cultural and non-cultural formation processes that created a given deposit or set of deposits. They would then 'map onto' cultural materials, the various contexts of cultural remains in artifacts and environmental systematic effects such as sediments and deposits. In the process, the students need to record both the tangible and intangible elements and other phenomena during the period of investigation using digital media technology.

To record the site and reconstruct or reassemble a 'sampling fraction' of cultural evidence, the students work in teams to interpret, record artifacts, and trace evidences for the occurrence of environmental disturbances. After the recording, the students will have to creatively present the evidences of material culture into the gallery space using digital and electronic media.

The site in question, the vast expanse of grass and trees surrounding the UP College of Fine Arts, was location of the UP College of Veterinary Medicine before 1991 and the location of the Animal Clinic until the present time. During the excavation of the area in preparation for the relocation of the College of Fine Arts, animal remains have been found. Historical use of the area includes animal burial, and the students will have to prove this through their recovery of archaeological evidence. And as in Hukay, the open site excavation WAS recorded and the recordings placed in a gallery space for documentation and presentation purposes. All related scientific documentation was made to probe the possibility of a cultural layer underneath.

Beyond material evidence, the incorporeal is also taken into account. Noell explains through Hukay how it is expected that part of what recording devices can achieve is the documentation of different living energies from the ground, within the surrounding, from above, and the intangible qualities produced by all living energies within the site. The presence of these elements will be experienced as substantial to the documentation of the 'sensed space.'

The Time Capsules Complementing or possibly contrasting the Site and Situation installation, are works by students enrolled in SFA192X (Electronic Writing Workshop) to be directed by Roberto B. Feleo. Prior to meeting with the students, Bob discussed the parameters of the installation works with Noell and myself. Strategies of creative problem solving activities for students were discussed, as well as the goals and objectives of the project.

In the course of the discussions, Bob problematized the application of the term 'relic' indicating that students should approach it with a level of intimacy by defining it within their own homes and past personal experiences. It became evident that there are two possible approaches to the use of 'relics' in the installation work: one that came from the participants in the installation (personal history), and another that came from the vicinity of the installation (site-specific history). Interactively, relics may also come from the viewers of the installation. Noell also pointed out the possibility of the relics placed in the installation being changed each day. In Site and Situation, relics and artifacts were used to provide the element of authenticity in presenting information.

In consideration of using animal burial ground, Bob recommended the holding of a ritual offering to ask permission to clear a part of the ground, citing an instance wherein one of his students fell ill after climbing a tree in the area during a kite-flying activity. Apparently, according to a consulted espiritista (spirit medium), the student disturbed a spirit inhabitant. Bob elaborated that such a ritual is a necessary part of the work because of the need to negotiate space, not only in the corporeal realm but in the incorporeal as well. Before the students started digging in selected sites around the College compounds, they offered food and wine. Permission to dig was granted when the offerings were found to have been disturbed the following day. Even with this offering, several students digging near the huge tree where a spirit is believed to dwell fell ill for several days and became well only after going to the site and asking to be left alone by the spirit.

Evidently, the collaboration with Bob in the DMF installation tunes participants into the fine and often hidden signal of being rooted in the Philippine and Asian culture. In the anthropology of the self, students are re-oriented from western mass media bombardment to their cultural background. Noell's approach through archaeology, has a similar impact, but with physicality, in the literal investigation of roots from beneath the ground. I think the DMF installation works also brought all the participants into closer contact with nature and the supernatural, and hopefully will impact all our future creative practices as part of a larger and deeper dimension that is more profound than we can ever believe or imagine.

Through discussions with students on several of his sculptural and installation works and their socio-historical commentary, Bob clarified relationships between anthropology of art, religion and contemporary artistic practice. Through Bob's guidance, students explored writing systems as cognitive artifacts and their projections into contemporary culture through a project entitled Time Capsules.

In Time Capsules, students were instructed to produce five digital and mixed-media images of their own material existence and a three-page description, produced digitally, of one of their classmates. The images and the descriptions would then be placed inside 'time capsules' and buried under the ground after the installation.

The use of the words 'material existence' implies (though not necessarily) a binary that there is a material and an immaterial aspect of human existence. By producing the five images, the students define their material existence which when unearthed become material evidences of their existence. Such material evidences could be remains of activities and therefore also evidences of human thought and behavior.

In assigning the creative problem, Bob also clarified that the three descriptions must not use alphabetic texts, that is, the descriptions or records must be able to express meaning without the necessity for linguistic value - they must not be meant to reproduce elements of spoken language. Signs and pictograms are examples, which may be figurative or nonfigurative images used and interpreted in relation to each other in a pictorial system of communication.

In the invention of new signs and icons, Bob's presentation of an anthropology of the self anticipates that the student would respond with creative solutions based on the national and personal experience. These images and descriptions will then be placed inside capsule-containers. Students are required to build them such that they withstand destruction by time and the natural elements. In Time Capsules, students are encouraged to be contemplative of visual language based on a specific audience's cultural milieu, and that in the evolution of sign systems into symbols, the national and personal experiences are taken into persistent awareness.

As new media technologies become important mediums and processes in artistic work, there is a need to perceive and wield them with a clarified understanding of how ideologies are carried by media and technological waves. Theories evolved from different disciplines now migrate into each other with increasing speed and acceptance as technology provides the interfaces for interdisciplinarity.

Through collaborative efforts, the basic tenets of traditional artistic methodology are taken into a critical dialogue with contemporary developments. The projects interactively developed for the DMF2002 present examples of ways by which students are encouraged to develop artistic concepts in view of the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of installation art, recognizing the need to network with people and study materials in fields often seen as outside of the arts.

The new media installation works served to transform the Corredor Gallery space and adjacent areas into cognate ritual spaces for connecting, the DMF theme 'pag-uugnay', the past with the future. The theme, 'Iugnay' (to connect), is in cadence with the vision to connect with fields often seen as outside the arts. The vision is to recognize young student artists as creative partners of the technological forces that will push the country towards progress. DMF looks at art as research and development, anticipating a shift from a culture of political nationalism to creative research, as young creative minds are acknowledged important forces in the larger nationwide development plan that can transform the way people think about the arts. Technological development is not only about machines - it's also about creativity, an enlarged understanding of cultures, and communicating.

In Site and Situation, digital and electronic media are used alongside the analog in the effort to order and describe past events and to explain the meanings of those events from within and outside of the matrix of archaeological material. Significantly, authenticity is articulated in the methodologies of interpreting excavated site and situation into a given interior space. In the archaeological concern of studying the past, forward-thinking developments are invigorated in documentation and recording technologies and techniques, especially for interpreting meaning of artifacts and reassembly work for broader access and future use.

In Time Capsules, the process of offering and disembodying the self is symbolically enacted in an entombment of the material remains of personal activity and appearances as they are reflected in technological means of visual representation. At the prime of their lives, students commit themselves to the future in the symbolic burial of their time capsules.

Just as human cognition is inferred from lithic industries, human evolution became linked with cultural and technological evolution in what is seen as a biocultural feedback system. In a highly mediated culture, artists now need to be aware of what accounts for stability and patterns of change in society. In the process of artifact reassembly, contemporaneity may be established between separate deposits. In the collaborative efforts of three artists from various specializations and their students for the conceptualization and construction of new media installation work, past and future are transgressed, with a fine sensitivity to geographic location and national and personal identity. Reassembly becomes a recalibration of the artist's orientation of participating in the life and evolution of society.

Putting it all together
When I sat down with the students and with Noell and Bob in the gallery to discuss the installation works, it was time to put the collaboration mindset into actual practice. Everything had to come together: Bob's Time Capsules and Noell's Hukay: Site and Situation. What would follow were three straight days of hard work building the two installations as one, working with earth, bone artifacts, video and computers.

Bob conceived of putting the students' time capsules into a layer of earth suspended above the ground. The idea was to simulate ground strata and engage gallery viewers into the process of digging out the time capsules from under ground to open them and inspect the contents. The suspension consisted of welded wire stretched with steel frames and hung from the gallery ceiling. The students hollowed out areas on the surface of the welded wire to serve as containers for each of their time capsules. The surface was then covered with chip board and garden soil. The area beneath the suspended layer was also covered with soil. Gloves were placed near the time capsules for gallery viewers to use when they want to pull the time capsules out of the earth and investigate the contents.

Noell's situation was a bit more complicated since the students had organized themselves into three separate archaeological excavation groups and have conceived their own means of presenting archaeological recording into the gallery space. All the students were also already very tired after several days of digging for various bone and other artifacts around the College grounds. Fortunately, we all still had our sense of humor and invigorated each other in the midst of hard work by seeing the fun in all the work that we were doing.

The three groups presented various means of reassembling their archaeological diggings into the gallery. The first group had an interactive Flash movie showing their finds in the ten layers of their excavation site; the ten layers were also represented in ten large plastic bags of various objects found in the site together with the appropriate bagging slips. They also had a second Flash movie showing animal anatomy and photographs. The bones that they excavated were to be placed on a table together with gloves and a brush that gallery viewers may use to inspect the artifacts. I advised the group to use a large television monitor and a video camera pointed to the table of artifacts from the opposite side of the gallery. Gallery viewers inspecting the artifacts on the table would not know that their actions are being projected on the monitor across the gallery. At the far end of the gallery, I placed a 6" transit, a surveyor's telescope, where gallery viewers can peek into to see an extreme close-up of the television monitor.

The second group suspended their artifacts inside glass bottles to be placed on shelves. Beneath the shelves was a low table showing the floor plan of the Printmaking building beside which they made the excavation. Also on the table was a small box of soil from the site and a pot of plant also taken from the site. Appropriate archaeological labels accompanied all the artifacts that were found. I asked the students to produce as part of the presentation a Director movie showing the site and the artifacts recovered, and the simulated sound of digging produced digitally using Sonic Foundry's Acid software.

The third group placed their finds in a wood and glass medicine cabinet. They documented their diggings using slide transparencies and for the presentation I advised them to produce a digital video using the slide images.

The challenge was to put the works and ideas of the three groups together into a single installation together with Bob's time capsules. Noell's idea was to turn the gallery into a prop site of the College of Fine Arts, placing a ladder and meter stick on the wall of the gallery indicating that as one enters the gallery, one goes under ground. Noell also reconstructed an archaeological site with the appropriate grids inside the gallery. There we placed the third group's medicine cabinet and video work.

Two months before DMF, Bob and I had spent a whole afternoon cleaning up horse bones kept in one of the workshop buildings of the College. The bones were excavated from the College grounds several years ago. We placed the bones in a large box as a birthday present for Noell. It was such a funny situation that became useful when we decided to use the bones for the DMF installation.

Noell thought of suspending the horse vertebras in the middle of the gallery, somehow connecting Bob's Time Capsules, which was installed near the gallery entrance, to the Hukay installation. Noell decided to place other parts of the horse in a large glass cabinet with their appropriate archaeological labels. This cabinet was placed at the far end of the gallery.

On the last day of set-up, I brought two box frames which I figured Noell would find useful. I instructed one of my students, Rogelio Santos Jr., to work with Noell to produce artifact boxes that will be placed on the wall outside the gallery and serve as sign bearers for DMF. The completed work consisted of water, a glass bottle, dry leaves, stones, wood shavings and prints of the DMF invitation on acetate.

In the gallery, track lights were adjusted which was crucial in the installation. The night before opening day, I could see how all the hard work slowly brought the entire installation together. I advised the students to have a good night's rest and to come early for the opening ceremonies.

Opening Day
A few hours before the formal opening, we had set-up the webcam and the video camera and the Real Server for live webcast. As usual, DMF partnered with the UP Computer Center (UPCC) for the Internet connection and the streaming video. We've worked with UPCC's Roel Ocampo and Rodino Uy for the last two DMFs so we pretty much knew how to set these up easily. I've always seen the close partnership with the UPCC as an important factor in the success of DMF and in bringing DMF to more people across the globe.

Also, Bob decided to install one of his works in the gallery to complete the installation. His work, a huge anthill constructed out of sawdust and white glue, provided the supernatural element in the installation, an element experience by the students during the course of excavation work. The anthill is often referred to as a 'nuno sa punso' or 'goblin (old man) of the anthill." In Philippine culture it is believed that before one passes by such an anthill, one must pay respect or express what is called 'pasintabi' or 'beg leave first before doing something.' Many gallery viewers recognized the anthill and some actually conducted the 'pasintabi' as they passed across it.

For a short programme before the formal opening, I selected six students representing the three digital media art classes to talk about the works in the physical and online exhibitions. From the SFA192X workshop class, Ruth Santiago and Olive Lopez discussed Time Capsules. Both Ruth and Olive are third year painting major students at the College. Both also are enrolled in Fine Arts as their second degree, Olive having a degree in Statistics and Ruth in Business Administration.

To talk about Hukay: Site and Situation, I selected Carlito Amalla and Catherine Lasam from the FA100 class. Catherine is a fourth year painting major and a talented young artist who has participated in group exhibitions, conducted art workshops, and was one of ten students representing the Philippines in the 'Save the Coral Reef' watercolor painting contest in Japan. Carlito is a fourth year sculpture major, an ethnic Manobo from Agusan del Norte province, and has been awarded to be UP International Cultural Ambassador of Goodwill from USA and Canada. Carlito also offered a babaylan (spirit medium) song entitled 'Ritwal' with Esther Ruth Niduaza at the start of the programme.

To discuss the on-line works, I selected two Michaels from the VC36 class: Michael 'Mickey' Acevedo and Michael 'Migs' Sagcal. Both Mickey and Migs are graduating visual communication students majoring in Advertising. Mickey had spent eight years in the seminary, a graduate of Philosophy, and would have been ordained a priest this year if he had stayed on. Migs is a talented young artist with various interests and influences from ancient and modern art, philosophical theories, political strategies, to physics and various forms of lifestyles.

The programme was a wonderful opportunity for students to share ideas and experiences in working on DMF. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was headed by guest of honor Emerlinda Roman, chancellor of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, the Dean of the College, Virginia B. Dandan, and National Artist for Music Dr Jose Maceda. I saw it as a blessing that Dr Maceda, who is also director of the Ethnomusicology Center, was able to join us on opening day. The 85-year old National Artist and pioneering music scholar, who especially enjoyed the babaylan song offering, has collaborated with visual artists before and has crossed disciplinary boundaries and the various art forms. The students recognized Dr Maceda's presence in the opening ceremonies as a blessing as well and perhaps they would see in him the inspiration to pursue their artistic endeavors with the same enduring openness and enthusiasm.

We invited many people from various disciplines to join us on opening day and I would absolutely wish that next DMF they would be with us. I think it's important for people to not only see works in an exhibition but get in touch physically, intellectually and emotionally with those who were involved in conceiving and building the work. Early Monday morning, some four days after opening day, Net25 TV dropped by to feature the event in a new television program. This was the opportunity to let more people know about DMF. I gathered the students into the gallery to be interviewed about their work and everyone had a wonderful time. The Net25 crew also enjoyed the visit, learning so much about new art forms with the students.

We extended the DMF exhibition for another two weeks since more people wanted to see the works. The ladder in the exhibition kept appearing and disappearing as it was being used in maintenance work around the College. Grass has started to grow in the installation and Noell joked that in a few more weeks we'd have an ecosystem in the gallery.

DMF2002 On-line
Along with the physical gallery installation are the DMF Online Galleries (address and link below). The DMF website also features full documentation of the installation work as well as a webcam and live streaming video.

There are many important exhibitions on-line. Two exhibitions, Action as Symbol and Sacrificial Spaces present works produced by students as part of two different projects organized by German artist Wilfried Agricola de Cologne. I conceived of using Mudras, symbolic hand gestures, as themes for student works to be submitted to Agricola's theme of 'violence,' an on-line counterpart to the Tabor Festival in Czech Republic. For Agricola's call for works in 'Fundamental Patterns Peripheral Basics,' I instructed the students to work with the concept of the mandala and tantra as sacrifical spaces.

Another exhibition, Resurrection, present works produced by students in the new digital art workshop Electronic Writing as Visual Form (SFA192X). This project is in collaboration with various mail artists from around the world who sent in work that explored the theme 'Dead on Arrival.' Mail artist Honoria and her students from the University of Texas submitted a number of works for the project. Resurrection is the last of a series of works produced in a class project entitled The Written Image: Magic and Empowerment. The project looks into extinct writing systems as cognitive artifacts. Here, students use extinct Philippine writing systems in consideration of their protective and talismanic functions. Of course, students begin by understanding the history and significance of the scripts in Philippine culture, in particular, the ancient Tagalog language syllabary, baybayin. The students use baybayin, now available as fonts for computers, and create a charm that will bring the dead back to life.

A fourth exhibition, The Hidden War, present works made by students in the Hypermedia (Advanced Graphics Workshop) elective class and appear as 'pop-up ads' in the DMF website. Works in The Hidden War were also made as entries to a project, The Banner Art Collective, organized by American literary artist and English professor Brandon Barr. The Hidden War is the first part of a larger web-based work entitled Re-Imagining the Center that we hope to launch for next year's DMF.

Contemplating DMF2002 Some people ask me why this year's DMF was smaller than last year's - that is, we had none of the video screenings, artists' talks and workshops. I discussed with them the strategy DMF employs given the limited budget, that is, to let each event build up towards a long-term goal and not merely duplicate each other. I also explain that DMF2002 is indeed not bigger than last year but rather 'deeper.'

After DMF2002, I look back and think we've pulled off another 'miraculous event.' Sometimes I also wonder if I'm being too hard on the students considering that these are only elective and workshop subjects and that we have less than a semester to put such a huge event together. I do also wear myself out after each DMF event, and I often find myself saying "I'm not doing this again." People ask me, "what motivates you?" and I realize it's the young artists who are in the digital media classes I handle every semester. Even if we ever had a huge budget, DMF wouldn't be possible without the talent, determination, hard work and enthusiasm of our students.

We've done extensive documentation of DMF2002, with the digital documentation team of VC36 students Archie Yumul, Sabrina de Leon and Merwin de Mesa. Now we're doing a lot of post-event analysis and documentation. All this, hopefully, will go to a web-based and an interactive CD-ROM version of the installation to be launched next year. After working in physical space in DMF2002, I'm interested in how we may translate the installation experience to a portable virtual space. As I've often looked at new media through the conceptual eyes of myths and their meanings, I'm interested in how access to reality is conducted when sensible form and immaterial nuances are addressed by our design of electronic interfaces. Dr Eufracio Abaya, director of the Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts, expressed interest in the availability of such a CD-ROM, something that he said would be useful for Museology studies that they will be conducting next semester.

There are lots of possibilities after DMF2002 and we all learned a lot of new things. I personally want DMF2002 to show people how digital and analog media are interrelated and how disciplines cross in the arts. I think DMF2002 let people see technology in a more sensitive and inviting form, and at the same time let the digital purists see the expanse of analog forms under the new light of possibilities with new technologies. DMF2002 also exposed the field of the arts to the other disciplines, and have allowed those in other disciplines see the role of creative expression in their lives. With this thought, we do look forward again to DMF2003.

DMF2002 receives assistance from the Office of the Chancellor, University of the Philippines, Diliman, and the UP College of Fine Arts. DMF2002 also acknowledges the support of the UP Archaeological Studies Program, the UP Computer Center, the Office of the Campus Architect, and the UP College of Veterinary Medicine.

For more information, users can access the online galleries at: http://digitalmedia.upd.edu.ph



Opening Day Photos, Videos DMF 2002

Digital Media Festival 2002
Manila, Philippines

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was headed by guest-of-honor Chancellor Emerlinda
Roman, assisted by UPCFA Dean Virginia B. Dandan and National Artist for Music
and Director of the Ethnomusicology Center Dr. Jose Maceda.

Opening Day Photos
by Archie Yumul

Opening Day Photos
by Sabrina de Leon

Set-up photos
Hukay: Site and Situation Installation

Set-up photos
Time Capsules

Webcam and Video
by Vincent Samson

Meeting at the Electronic Interface: Artifact Reassembly through New Media Art


DMF2002 live webcast - Manila, Philippines

DMF2002 live webcast
Manila, Philippines
October 3, 2002 11:30AM (GMT+0800)