Tripa de Gallina: Guts of Estuary

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18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia
20 May – 26 November 2023
Philippine Pavilion, Artiglierie in Arsenale, Venice, Italy

Tripa de Gallina: Guts of Estuary

Curators:
Sam Domingo and Ar. Choie Y. Funk

Exhibitors:
The Architecture Collective (TAC)
Bien Victor M. Alvarez
Matthew Jonathan S. Gan
Ar. Christian Lyle D. La Madrid
Noel Joseph Y. Narciso
Arnold A. Rañada

Collaborator:
Jose Antonio Garcia

In engagement with Barangays 739, 750, and 751 of Manila

Commissioner:
National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)
in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and
Office of Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda

Estuaries, or the estero, are supposedly the mouth of a river, where freshwater streams meet saltwater tides from the bay. Besides that, history has shown that humans and other non-human entities are in deep dialogue with these river mouths. There has been a natural tendency to seek the establishment of bustling communities along them that prevail through the years. In the case of the longest estuary in Metro Manila that flows to Manila Bay through the Pasig River, communities living alongside, specifically Barangays 739, 750, and 751, have enmeshed with their waterways. However, the enormous putrid muck amassed by the local people along Tripa de Gallina (Guts of the Rooster) impedes this perceived conversation. The estuary remains silent. The people are stuck. The kinships are now ultimately muddled. Just as murky as the waters are in the estuary, so are the relationships of the settlers. The experience of the pandemic cries out that this persistent complication is reticular. It necessitates a fleshing-out.

Tripa de Gallina: Guts of Estuary offers a diagnosis of the water’s condition and a prognosis of the people’s future. In a procedure of modular urban acupuncture materialized by a bamboo structure that serves as a place of gathering and investigation, the Pavilion inspects the estuary’s guts: a flawed ecology of humans, waters, and dregs. It serves as a buoy for this mesh to be carefully unraveled and sustainably mended through a gritty collaborative action among these entangled actants, in the name of resilience.

The project starts with the idea of a small-scale intervention as a way to mutate the larger urban context of the inhabitants. Along with experts in architecture, natural sciences, social sciences, and the government, the barangays (village units) have created a safe space to assess their situation and speculate on their future well-being. What is documented in the end is the collective proposition, an estuarine inventiveness.

The windows in the installation provide a screen on which moving archival materials play out, testifying to a tenacious urban struggle in history. The narrative leads to the center where an immersive audio-visual encounter with the estero lurks day and night. From the groundwork, a lively prospect of the state of the entire ecology is imagined through the structure’s ethnographic projections.

This platform wishes for a symbiotic recovery, instead of human superiority over other entities. It presupposes forsaking hostility and inviting hospitality. It welcomes an assemblage that is in good shape.