Tutorial Synopsis

18 01 2011

I’ve just returned from a very fruitful tutorial with Mick and feel motivated to reign in all the potential ideas and imaginings I’ve been accumulating and to have them all work together towards a tight and focused project.  At the worst of times, I fear this is getting overly ambitious in the scope of my project but this is the plan anyways. That said, after today I feel a bit more assured that it possible 😉

Mainly, I gave Mick an intensive briefing on all the work I have done to date and more importantly, where I see the PhD project going. This is timely as I am due for a first term report. Things discussed include:

1. Recent work done at the Archivo General de Indias and the resulting online release of a portion of their digital archive.

2. My current exhibition at Propeller and how it connects to the project.

3. Where Pd fits into all this?

4. My work plan.

Although I’ve planned on developing a visual aesthetic influenced by my research, incorporating my research into the image-making had to be an organic, less calculated process. I knew I wanted to crop and montage in a style that was a connected progression from my past work but I could never have guessed as to how I would achieve this.

Serendipity had me going to Seville and chancing upon the 16th century images of the Philippines. It really all started from combining a family vacation with the possibility of interviewing Ocampo. The vacation happened but meeting Ocampo didn’t.

Luckily my time at the Archivo General de Indias proved to be very fruitful. After my time in Seville both in the archives and taking photographs of the old colonial buildings, I started the process of distilling my visual findings into the pieces that are now on exhibit in Toronto. The result was a pleasant change addition of what Mick refered to as ‘noise’ in my current work. This can probably be attributed to all the imperfections that I was exposed to when viewing the archived maps.  I like the resulting contrast as digitality can often come off as very slick and sterile. It works well on many levels as the ‘rougher’ imperfections to the work is consistent with the organic aesthetic coming from digital artists in the Philippines

(insert telegarden versus SABAW pics).

After our meeting I realized that I have to better consider where interactivity and moving image fit in all of this. Along these lines, Mick will be taking me through some Pure Data tutorials which will hopefully beef up some needed skills.



Work Plan

14 01 2011

Project Work Plan, Jan 2011

Group Show at Propeller Gallery

10 01 2011

It has truly been a busy time. I have been invited to do a group show at Toronto’s Propeller Gallery and I will be showing a few of my recent pieces inspired by my research in Seville. Please see below for my Artist’s Statement and a sample of the work that will be on display.

The pieces for exhibit at the Propeller’s Salon V Group Show are part of a larger series of work entitled Mapas y Planos (Maps and Plans) inspired by my research at Spanish colonial archives.

These pieces combine some of the first drawn maps of the Philippines from the Archivo General de Indias with images of current day Seville, Spain. Seville was the capital of the Spanish Colonial Empire when the Philippines was first formed in the sixteenth century. The archived images that I use date back to as early as 1555 and represent the first visual imaginings of South East Asia by the West. The process of making these works combines mixed media techniques of painting, photography, digital manipulation and printing.

La Catedral. 2011. Giclée on canvas. 34 x 22 inches.

El Alcazar. 2011. Giclée on canvas. 34 x 22 inches.

For more information one can visit Propeller’s website or my Facebook Event page.

Inspiring New Year!

3 01 2011

Just got back from a very fruitful time in Seville and a very recharging holiday season with family and friends in London.

Notable steps forward with the PhD project since the last update include excellent finds at the Archivo General de Indias. Although I did not get a chance to meet up with Manuel Ocampo this time around, I made major breakthroughs at the archives in Seville.

The Archivo General de Indias was established in Seville in 1785. It is the custodian of the archives produced by the institutions created  by the Spanish central administration for the government and administration for the Spanish territories created overseas
 It is a continental archive which sections occupy almost 49,000 sets of documents and 9 kilometres of shelves.

As to what can be referred to as a the chronological scope, there is more than four centuries shown in the pages of its documents : from 1492, when there was the first contact with the new world, until its independence in the first third of the nineteenth century. There are also fonds which are conserved that reach to the second third of the nineteenth century which concern the Philippine and Cuban Islands, as these were kept as provinces of Spain until 1898.

Lazaro, Pilar (2010). The General Archive of Indias. Secreteria General Tecnica: Ministerio de Cultura, Spain. p. 9.

I researched the entire Philippine  ‘Mapas y Planos’ collection of the Archives, 387 documents in all, and managed to get through a tenth of the general drawings. In all, I have looked at, and loosely catalogued over 500 documents from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. A majority of the archives consist of city and building plans of Manila and surrounding area. Also included in this collection are some early navigational maps by Spanish explorers and even some Chinese maps of the area. Other interesting images I have found include some drawing of the local people and visual interpretations of the oddities the Spanish seemingly encountered.

More importantly, I have started a working relationship with the Seville archive and as a result they have made more than 15% of their archived maps and images of the Philippines available online at: http://www.mcu.es/index.html. This could have proven  to be a complicated task of cutting through red tape with the Spain’s Ministry of Culture but I am indebted to the efforts of Senor Antonio Sanchez and Senora Reyez who’s help and guidance made it possible to navigate the extensive archives of Seville under the time constraints of my visit and have a good number of maps and illustrations of early Philippines available online.