Hans Richter

28 01 2010

I’ve just come across German Avant-Garde artist, Hans Richter (1888-1976). His film work with Viking Eggeling is of particular interest to me as his cinematic experimentations with sound and fragmented plains hold relevance in my own practice. To date, these are the earliest examples of this kind of work that I can find (1920s) and it is useful when contextualizing my visual aesthetic historiographically.

27 01 2010

Midpoint feedback

27 01 2010

Reviewing my notes and looking over the video of my MADA midpoint review I have been able to distill the critique into several key points.

First and foremost, further refinement is needed in the audio/visual.  I was well aware of this as I had spent most of my time working on contextualizing my work but still appreciated the fact that my peers were clear on specifying what aspects of the audio/visual did not work.  A common critique was that the work was hard to tolerate and overpowering at times.  Admittedly I am a little relieved that this was the initial reaction as I intended a reaction of ‘displacement’, but I did want a sense of ‘transition’ and eventual ‘integration’ to shortly work its way into the work. Obviously the initial uncomfortable reaction I intended was inadvertently too much and is something I will have to rethink.

I am relieved that no one picked apart my contextualization of the work and the core concepts of representing the community through a narrative that starts with displacement and transitions into integration, but I need to figure out a way to visualize this. I think I have to rethink the visual themes in the work and the pace I will introduce these themes to the viewer.

Other mention was made of the ambiguity of the piece.

“Are you trying to be specific to the Philippine community or just speaking generally to displacement?”

“…I don’t know if we would specifically think of the Philippines when looking at these images”

“maybe you could use stereotypical things, but it’s hard to give examples because I don’t really know Filipino stereotypes at all…”

All very good points. I do want this piece to be about the Philippine displacement and integration story but I do feel that this narrative has common ground between many diasporas so in truth, I don’t really mind this ambiguity. I am wrestling with the idea of what images make this piece explicitly Filipino. Is there a necessity for the artist to be educational in their work? Must my images teach others what is stereotypically Filipino? What right do I have to decide what is more Filipino than something else in the selection process and hierarchy of my images? Maybe through an absence of explanation the viewer will be forced to fill in the gap and learn more about the Philippine community. I think what is needed is a more engaging narrative of images. I feel the concept of the interactive heart rate was well received but am going to put more time and effort into refining the images and audio.

PhD Project Proposal

22 01 2010

Below is the Project Proposal that I have used for application to an MPhil/PhD programme at both Camberwell and Goldsmiths. The proposal represents a crafted plan that will continue the work that I am currently doing towards my MA. Aspects of my practice that I intend to develop vis-à-vis a post graduate degree include interactivity (regarding mobile devices), deepening my knowledge of the Philippines through visits and further contextualization of artists that have worked with themes of networks in both digital and identity art.

Rod Dioso: MPhil/PhD Project Proposal– 890 words (bibliography not included)

Title: Bridging Displacement: Digital Connections Between London’s Filipinos and the Philippines

Aims & Objectives: The primary aim of this project is to investigate the spaces that bridge the displacement between the Philippines and the Filipinos who have migrated to London through the creation of a self-generating real-time installation. The project will further develop my practice-based research around space and displacement. It will have as a foundation my Digital Art MA, which investigates the ways in which the Philippine diaspora are changing the urban landscape of London. For my MA work, I have utilized Arduino technology to create a collage that blends images of London streetscapes with advertisements from publications by Britain’s Filipino community, as well as images of Philippine products and specialty shops.  In my research of this community, I have found that the concept of home and acceptance was in constant emotional flux and so images in this project change in relation to the heartbeat of the viewer.  My proposed PhD project will continue this investigation into the relationships between the physical location of a diaspora and its concept of ‘home’ and how to represent this fluidity through interactive digital media.

To achieve this, I first intend to define multiple narratives within the Philippine community and the nature of each of their displacements. What are the age, gender and religious demographics of the population? Have there been any specific waves of immigration and if so, what are the reasons for these waves?

I then intend to locate the spaces where community members connect back home. Is home the Philippines, the nation, or is it the family they left behind? Do these bridges to home exist in physical locations or are they merely conceptual? How do these bridges hinder or contribute to integration?

Next I will analyse the nature and modes of exchange. What is being communicated and exchanged? Is it of a physical nature (ie. objects, bodies, food, money, etc.) or is it conceptual (ie. ideas, news, love, etc.)? What is the purpose of this bridge? Is it a communication that continues after each passing generation and how is it related to the concept of home? In what way can I best represent these connections in real-time using digital technology?

The Context: My research seeks to connect the theories of Philippine and Diaspora Studies with those of Digital Art. In particular my work has been influenced by Edward Said’s theories of Orientalism, Benito Vergara’s Marxist analysis of global Filipinos as well as Fredric Jameson’s theories of history, narrative and space.

My montage aesthetic is influenced by the ‘joiners’ of David Hockney and experimental films of Zbigniew Rybczynski but I am thematically linked to diaspora artists such as Coco Fusco who references ‘differential identities’ in her performance work.

While my art practice fits into the context of digital and new media theory, the work of Lev Manovich and other new media theorists lacks an analysis of race and hegemonic power. I hope to connect the two trains of thought in the theory of my PhD thesis, which will guide the practice-based component of the project.

Methodology: In the creation of this work I will consider a variety of physical and virtual spaces such as airports, post offices, money transfer institutions, travel agencies, Philippine specialty shops, newspaper circulations, adverts, websites, wikis, Facebook groups, emails, texts and twitters.  I will photograph, film, screen grab and record evidence of the ways that the Philippine community of London connects with home.  I will also interview individual community members in person and online to determine views on identity, nationalism, displacement and integration. Transnational and Philippine Studies theory will frame the questions I ask of the community and the data that I collect.

After this data collection, I intend to create a series of moving image installations through digital cropping, layering, morphing and animating techniques with Pure Data or Max/MSP.  Manovich’s theories of ‘spatial montage’ will be the basis of my construction of the installation.

The entire creative process will be documented in a blog, which will serve as a venue for recording my field research, displaying my experimentations and facilitating self-reflection throughout the project.

Work Plan: The project will consist of three stages. The first stage involves further study into theoretical context. I intend to find connections between transnational and digital art theory as well as deepen my knowledge of Philippine Studies and Tagalog (main dialect of the Philippines). Furthermore, I wish to expand my scholarship in film theory in respect to art installation.

Secondly, a data collection stage will involve the selection of relevant locations, virtual or physical, in the UK and in the Philippines. I will then determine the appropriate means to record information from these places and confirm ethical clearances to use this data in my project. Finally I will archive and organize all the data digitally for use in the generation of the work. Physical artifacts will either be photographed or scanned.

The final stage requires development of technical skills. I intend to increase and refine my knowledge of graphical programming languages in the Pure Data or Max/MSP environment in order to create audio-visual projections that are both interactive and self-generating.

Outcome: The realization of this project will be in the form of video installations that incorporate real-time imaging from locations in the UK and the Philippines.


Bhaba, Homi K. (1994). Location of Culture. New York: Routlege.

Fusco, Coco. (1995). English is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas. New York: The New Press.

Harvey, David. (2000). Spaces of Hope. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Jameson, Fredric. (1991). The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham: Duke University Press.

Lee, Rachel and Sau-ling Cynthia Wong (eds.). (2003). Asian.America.Net: Ethnicity, Nationalism and Cyberspace. New York and London: Routlege.

Lovejoy, Margot. (1992). Digital Currents: Art in the Electronic Age.  New York, London: Routledge.

Papastergiadis, Nikos. (2007). The Turbulence of Migration. Cambridge, Malden: Polity Press.

Manovich, Lev. (2001). The Language of New Media. Cambridge MA, London UK: The MIT Press.

McLuhan, Marshall. (1994). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Cambridge, London: MIT Press.

Murphie, Andrew & John Potts. (2003). Culture and Technology. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

San Juan Jr., Epifanio. (2004). Working Through the Contradictions: From Cultural Theory to Critical Practice.  Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press.

Vergara Jr., Benito M. (2008). Pinoy Capital. Temple University Press.

Review Piece, Untitled 1:00

21 01 2010

This work was an initial video ‘sketch’ of what I want the viewer to see once they place their hand on the heart rate monitor. The first few moments are meant to parallel the uncomfortable feelings of ‘displacement’ and will eventually move into ‘transition’ then ‘integration’.

When it rains it pours!

21 01 2010

This week has been unconceivably hectic and still, it’s not over. Above all in importance, my son (Julien) just turned one. By far, this is the accomplishment I am most proud of 😉

Academically this week, I had a my mid-point review through the MA Digital Art Course and I am  scheduled to have another mid-point review with the MA Transnational Art and Identity Course.  In the  MADA review I had my current project critiqued and for the TrAIN I will have to discuss a piece at the TATE Modern and how it relates to my current art practice. All very manageable stuff but I also ended up having an interview at Goldsmiths for possible entry into their MPhil/PhD in Computational Arts Course. There are a multitude of things I want to post right now, but I’m afraid I will just have to wait until all the dust settles.

I am absolutely spent but many goods things are a brewing.

Project Description/Summary and Focus Points for Peer-led Mid Point Review

15 01 2010

The aim of my project is to better understand the ways in which migration, immigration and movement of the Philippine diaspora are visually represented on London’s urban landscape and to show the fluidity of the physical spaces they occupy due to displacement. The process in which I have been working on this project is best illustrated when divided into 3 distinct areas: Contextualizing the Project,  Community Fieldwork and  Research & Development of Relevant Technologies.

1. Contextualization of the Project

As per my project work plan, a good part of my initial work has been spent finding the contextualizing my research within a theoretical and art practice framework. I felt by starting the project by finding out what other researchers and art practitioners have already done (and are doing)  would serve as a good framework for which to begin things. To date, major influences include Lev Manovich’s concept of space in regards to the human computer interface. Manovich analyzed the nature in which desktop windows, scrolling and hypertext effected the way in which we process and navigate information. He described one’s natural tendency to surf as a ‘spatial wandering’ that ignored time and narrative and prioritized the presence of space. Through the random flash of layered images controlled by a heartbeat interface, I hope to portray a similar notion of random space without narrative furthering a line of exploration into a visual aesthetic that is rooted in surrealist photomontage up to the contemporary collages by artists David Hockney and Zbigniew Rybczynski.

An example of Hockney's 'joiners'

How does this review piece reference the theories of Manovich and a montage aesthetic and in what ways can this be improved?

Is there a sense of random spaces that prelude a negation of any traditional narrative? Can you infer any narrative or time in the piece?

2. Community Fieldwork

Much of my fieldwork into the community has been done through image gathering and interviewing of the Filipino community of Earls Court. Unexpected difficulties occurred in finding my personal place in which I fit into this community and as such many images I have gathered have come to represent not only my interpretation of Filipinos in London but furthermore my own exploration of identity. This can clearly be seen in my affinity and fascination with the feral parakeets of South London.

What things come to mind when you think of Filipinos in London? Has the review piece changed or reiterated any of these thoughts?

In what ways could this piece be misleading or furthering existing stereotypes of South-east Asians in London? In what ways could this piece be educational?

3. Research and Development of Relevant Technologies

This area of the project has gone through the most change and experiment. I initially intended to explore lenticular technology to produce the illusion of further depth in moving images. Keeping my focus towards the aims of representing the Philippine diaspora I decided that it would be best to reference the dimensionality of this community’s displacement by focusing on the concept of home. This brought me to the heart rate… ‘Home is where the heart is.” Currently I am exploring the ways in which one can use the heart rate as a trigger to visual spaces. This is in line with Manovich’s ‘spatial wandering’ and talks to the random displacement and confusion that is felt by a diaspora community that lives in a single physical location (Earls Court) but contemplates two ‘homes’ (UK and the Philippines).

In what ways does the audio of the heart work/distract in regards to the themes discussed?

In what ways does the visual layout and pacing work? Where can you see improvement?