Venice Biennale features Philippine pavilion lectures and screening of critically-acclaimed film “Bontoc eulogy”

Released August 22, 2018

Exhibiting Architecture: Display in the Age of the Postcolonial and Neoliberal
August 24, 2018, Friday
2:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Teatro alle Tese (end of Arsenale), Venice, Italy
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Venice, Italy – The Philippine Pavilion’s exhibition The City Who Had Two Navels curated by Edson Cabalfin will be mounting a half-day activity titled “Exhibiting Architecture: Display in the Age of the Postcolonial and Neoliberal.”

To be held on August 24, 2018, at the Teatro alle Tese in Arsenale in Venice, Italy, it features lectures, the film screening of the critically-acclaimed film Bontoc Eulogy directed by Marlon Fuentes, and a panel discussion. It will start from 2:30 pm until 6:00 pm.
In line with the realization of Freespace as a theme of the 16th Biennale Architettura curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, participating countries were encouraged to submit proposals for activities that fall under the Meetings on Architecture Program of La Biennale di Venezia. The La Biennale curators selected the Philippines’ proposal “Exhibiting Architecture” to be part of the Meetings on Architecture as it responds to “an opportunity to articulate diverse responses and interpretations of the Manifesto, while also providing a platform to hear from the many emerging and established voices presented in the Exhibition.”

Philippine Pavilion curator Edson Cabalfin’s lecture titled “Nation as Spectacle: Philippine Pavilions in International Expositions, 1887-1998” centers on the relationship between architectural representation and the idea of nation by investigating how the Philippines was represented in international expositions during the colonial and post-colonial periods. Spanning from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century.

Lisa Ito-Tapang is an independent curator, cultural worker and writer based in Manila. She will present her lecture titled “Spatial Reclamation as Resistance,” and screen the short video Occupy Pabahay: Bulacan and Maduw no Pagdutong. The lecture revisits and proceeds from filmic documentation of two sites of grassroots struggle in the Philippines: the urban poor’s occupation of idle public housing lots in Bulacan and the institution and defense of a rural school for the lumad indigenous peoples in Surigao del Sur. Presenting both structures as spaces inhabited and reclaimed by agencies of resistance, this segment reflects on its resonance across other historic actions across the archipelago and looks at the acts of occupation and rebuilding as strategies of emancipatory assertion.

Yason Banal, Philippine Pavilion artist will present snippets of various videos from YouTube deconstructing ‘architecture’ as an expanded and discursive field. The talk and screening attempt to engage in the thematic of the two navels of post colonialism and neoliberalism in the wider context of the Biennale’s theme of Freespace by exploring intersections and refractions of systems around architecture’s owned nuanced network, abstract mechanism, and stylistic effect, reading architecture not only as a built and visual environment but also as a conceptual design and a coded translation of power, identity, market and affect.

Film Screening
Marlon Fuentes’s Bontoc Eulogy will also be screened at the “Exhibiting Architecture.” The filmmaker will be in Venice to present his critically-acclaimed film about the Filipino experience in the 1904 World’s Fair, held in St. Louis, Missouri. The movie centers on the story about a Filipino’s search for his grandfather who was exhibited as an anthropological specimen at the World’s Fair. As a historical auto-ethnographic narrative and essay about colonialism and empire, the film poses fundamental questions about the truth claims of the documentary form and how representation of the ‘Other’ becomes part of our personal and collective memories.

Marlon Fuentes is an independent media artist working in film and photography. He is known in academic and cinema studies circles as the filmmaker who has successfully blended autoethnography and the historical essay as a distinct documentary approach. His work as a photographer and filmmaker has been shown and collected in major museums around the U.S. and abroad, such as: the Smithsonian’s National Gallery of American Art, the Library of Congress, the Corcoran Gallery, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Netherlands Film Museum.

Panel Discussion
At the end of the Philippine Pavilion event is a panel discussion with Cabalfin, Banal, Ito and Fuentes.

Admission to the lecture is free and is part of the ticket-purchase for the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, FREESPACE.

“Exhibiting Architecture : Display in the Age of the Postcolonial and Neoliberal” including the film screening of Bontoc Eulogy and selected video shorts will also be mounted at the Philippine Consulate Office in Milan, Italy, on August 25, 2018, at 2:00 – 5:00 pm and at Fava Church in Venice on August 26 at 7:00 pm.