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Three Things No. 3

I KNOW I KEEP SAYING THIS BUT I SHOULD DO THIS MORE OFTEN. Ahem.

(Three Things is mainly a post of things I have been enjoying for an unspecified amount of time. I enjoy many things and I know that I should be writing these things down. For my daughter, Posterity? For the sake of oversharing? Who knows, but here it is.)

Television

It’s not a secret that I watch a lot of television, but over the course of the past couple of weeks, I’ve finished entire series of things. I can’t say that I am unsure how, because I know exactly how, lol. But just to highlight a few that I can fully recommend with my whole heart: The Good Wife (particularly series three to five), The Good FightCRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND!, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (particularly the last three episodes, and particularly if you take into account that the last batch of episodes was a continuation of “part one” of the first series), and Fleabag. Also been enjoying a bunch of other shows, but… I like to pretend that I watch a reasonable amount of T.V. Also, it’s kind of insane how the last show I mentioned on here is probably Homecoming, which I watched forever ago, but yes. These are gr8.

I am wondering if I should just keep writing about T.V., because I watch entirely too much of it and don’t update quite as often as I’d like, and like I said, I love T.V., and I want other people to quit judging the medium, because it is such an amazing vehicle for telling stories.

Casting mountains

I’ve been using a non-toxic resin to make some mountains — kind of like translating my paintings into a miniature field. Expanding the landscape into a different dimension, so to speak.

I’ve been enjoying it a lot, but I’ve also hit a wall, because I’d like to scale it up, but haven’t had much luck with the logistics of it.

Film photography

I’ve been doing a bit of photographing again, because I missed doing it. I admit that I’m a bit stuck with what to take pictures of, lol. I have just been sitting at home, going to work or the studio, and even though it’s sunny at this very moment, the grey atmosphere has been rather uninspiring.



Honourable mention: Fried Food

I’ve been eating french fries, fried chicken, and donuts the whole of last weekend. It wasn’t very smart, so it’s only an honourable mention. I’ve also been trying to cook a bit more and be more mindful about what I eat. It’s because I have gotten rather round, but also because I know I’m not taking care of myself very well.

Which is a bit unacceptable for someone in their thirties… but here we are. Here’s to trying, anyway. I’ve been doing a bit of yoga and small exercises. I think I owe it to myself to try.

Detours with Laura and Pearlie + Betty Tompkins’ “Fuck Paintings, Etc.”

Pearlie visited Laura a week or so ago, and I tagged along with them one day to see a show by Betty Tompkins, which we thought was in Soho, but was actually waaaaay up north (by Archway at J Hammond Projects, which is at The Bomb Factory, which is close to CSM’s other campus). Although it was quite a bit of distance away from where we had decided to have lunch (Chinatown, of course), we made the trek anyway, because why not?

“Fuck Paintings, Etc.” is a collection of new work by Betty Tompkins whose projects seem to have resonated with recent developments such as #MeToo (covered here by Elephant, and here by Artsy). Pairing close-cropped images of genitalia, some in the act of fucking, and others superimposed with text which is often taken from contributions of actual statements or gleaned from news headlines.

(For some reason, the lighting reacted really bizarrely with my phone and Pearlie’s, both Androids.)

I think it’s pretty obvious that my favourites are the ones with the text, though there is something intriguing and, dare I say, attractive about the large-scale ones. The cropping is such a conservative use of space, but maintains a gracefulness about it, if that makes sense. I need to think about this some more, because I think it’s a bit easy to cop out and there are obvious ways to read the show, but also those readings are often uninteresting, so… uh, stay tuned???

From Archway, we ended up by Southbank at the Hayward for Diane Arbus! Alas, no pictures were allowed to be taken. So, uh… we went ham outside.

I will say, though, that Diane Arbus made me feel very encouraged to capture things on film, so to speak. Even just taking photos of your phone. It’s a kind of bearing witness, you know?

(This was in the ladies’ bathroom at the Hayward.)

Here’s a photo from a book that was out there. I think that’s a good note to end on.

Hello, hello, hello

Let me begin by saying that this platform is not that ideal for the “pick up where we left off” sort of outlook in life. If it were ideal, I’d either have left out a lot of details in my sort of sordid life (a joke) or I’d have a lot of catching up to do. And retroactively trying to remember your emotional state after you’ve been through a flurry of emotions is, similarly, not very ideal. I’d like to not go back to feeling like fucking shit, thank you very much.

In any case, here I am, trying to make the same excuse of absence sound like something else. I’ve been writing on the Internet since 2002, when I was a freshman in high school. I did it because my best friend, Isa, did it, though of course her journal came with a format and a vision and a voice. All I did was post quiz results and moan about school. I didn’t really know how to talk to people back then, and even though I am better at human interaction these days (or so I’d like to think), there is still that comfort of just sort of talking to yourself with the vague idea that someone out there is paying attention.

So, to recap: I am on my last year at uni, working on a practice-led project, which is just a funny way of saying that I’m incorporating my research directly into the new work I produce. The text component of this option is much shorter and uncomfortably inward-looking, and I am a little bit sorry about the number of words for research and theory that I’m relinquishing, but also, I did go back to school for this marriage of theory and praxis, and as is established by this little nothing of a space on the internet, words can exist basically anywhere, so… here we are.

This morning, I went to a tutorial with the most helpful tutor I have, and even though it was brief, I’m approaching this with more clarity than I’ve had in the past two months or so. I’ve written a bunch of words and researched and read, but I realised that there was a disconnect with the work. The good thing is that we can start again.

I’ve been a bit hazy-headed lately, which I’d like to chalk up to SSRI withdrawals. It’s always helpful to have something to blame for your bad behaviour (again, a joke), but this time around, I had to go chase down some medication I desperately needed for about a week and a half, so that was fun. The problem with housing in London is that it’s expensive and uncertain, and in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve lived in three places, and it didn’t occur to me to check with the first address. It was there but I didn’t have access to it, but that story is boring.

Just to reassure whoever is reading this, I am O.K. However—

My last move was not particularly pleasant, in the sense that I moved from something sort of awful, with manipulative and opportunistic people, into a house and situation that I am cautiously optimistic about, so I suppose that is already one good thing.

Another good thing is that the studio I’ve been renting out (and making things in) is beside a nice pub, where they have quite a good selection of beer — with great prices for take away — although the food is not particularly amazing. Let it be said that I am sick of toasties.

But I do feel quite lucky to have chanced upon this studio, which has all the space I need and is quite cheap (please adjust standards for geography), and again, as I’ve mentioned, is right beside a pub. However, there are rumours of its demolition, so, lol. I don’t know. I’m staying put until I have to leave, basically. 

I’ve also made a friend at the studio. Partly because I locked myself out one time, and then partly because she locked herself out another time. The good thing about that ordeal is that I met said friend, Minyoung, and another good thing about that same ordeal is that I can be sure of the security of the actual warehouse.

The studio is also close to the London Centre for Book Arts, which is a place where I am trying to learn how to use their machines for making books. I’ve always said that that was what I wanted to so with my life: make books. And that a dream of mine is to own a small press. I realised that that didn’t have to mean actually owning a printing press, not really, so let’s see if this roundabout route is a step towards somewhere. But, even if it’s not, that’s okay, too.

Ryan Villamael’s “A Paradise Lost” — Silverlens Galleries

I meant to write about this beautiful show by Ryan back when a) I was still in Manila, and b) you could still catch the show in person. However, we all know that I have issues with time and timing, so I suppose this is just a way of looking back at something that I have encountered that is also something that I have yet to let go of.

Anyway—

Ryan Villamael’s A Paradise Lost is quiet and desolate, and in that desolation, it is also deceptively sparse. Most of the gallery’s massive space is occupied by the makeshift horizon his scrolls of white paper (marked with incisions that recall his more flora-oriented work) make — which according to the notes spans almost 20 meters — and tapers off into a stretch of sand, a man-made island held together by desire and longing. Called “Terrain, After,” the central piece of the show filled me with a very quiet and disconsolate feeling; almost as though there is a desperate attempt at creating a space, a paradise, though not quite being able to. It’s not eerie or unsettling, just kind of a resigned sadness that thrives on relentless dedication in the face of what could be a pointless, infinite pursuit.

With a careful selection of work, Villamael plays with subtlety, relying on the inherent meaning and power of each work to speak volumes, rather than showing off technical skill (which, of course he has in spades) or colour or complexity or quantity and scale. Instead, he falls into the comfort of the shapes and figures that he’s used before and revisits them to say something new.

There are hand-cut images of foliage — made from blueprints of dream houses — contained in houses made of glass and wood, and within these cases, they are delicately preserved, dreams held in stasis and kept as totems. Titled “K.S.A.” and “Hoya” — named after places quite far apart from each other — they hint at distance, and even more so, how intimately tied we can be to the places we inhabit and occupy.

“10°81°75” is a stainless steel piece of die cut maps which, layered over one another, create a new location — a triangulation of a place in which the occupants of all three maps exist together. It is a manifestation of a dream, made real and tangible, and in a way, they become present to the touch, but in another more meaningful manner, the dream is declared even further away.

Still in line with his preoccupations with geography and Philippine history, particularly the elements that constitute these aspects of our lives as we know it, Villamael through A Paradise Lost draws attention to the importance of location to a body and vice versa. Our personal roots and identities, the very way in which our beings come to be, can be shaped in part by what we grow up surrounded by, or sometimes more importantly, by the absence that we learn to live with.

Three Things No. 2

AKA, stuff I’ve enjoyed immensely, being back home.

I have a lite™ ~content schedule~ in place, just like the old days, but I also have a poor grasp of time… just like the old days. Suffice to say that I am trying and am under a lot of pressure, from real life stuff, and it probably doesn’t seem like it, but that’s because I have built a house of tweets and Instagram photos, and it has become a cave in which my true hag self has chosen to hide.

I mean, in a nutshell.

Obviously, my family is a given. Obviously! (Hi, mama.)

It feels like a crime not to mention my dogs first, so: Noah & Benny

A few days ago, we took them to the beach. It was mainly horrific (I exaggerate), but we had a nice time overall. As my sister put it in an Instagram post—anywhere they’re allowed to be, that’s where we’ll go! Even if, operationally, the resort sucked balls. (More on that later, because I’m feeling petty, and it was literally saved by the cutest babies… by which, I mean our dogs.)

At least the pictures look nice? LOL.

For the uninitiated, Noah is our six-going on-seven-year-old Bichon/Yorkie mix (gifted by Nona when he was eight months old) and Benny is our baby Jack/Lhasa Apso-Shih Tzu mix (going on two, gifted by Robert when he was about two and a half months). They are both Arieses and they both love Beng the most.

I think I underestimated how much STRESS RELIEF they provide. Dogs are amazing… I know there are people who feel like pet-owning is subjugation, and I see why that’s the case, but I do honestly think that they feel loved and cared for, and maybe that’s enough for now.

(Did not mean to bring that whole nugget of contention in; I just missed my dogs, and I just wanted to say that.)

My house

Look, I used to show my house to my friends via Google Maps’ satellite view, so I basically… really missed my house. I didn’t really get to live in it very long between when it was done and when I had to leave for uni, but being back home made it feel like home, in some weird way.

I think it might have something to do with my current precarious living situation which, lol, I feel like I will have the capacity to talk about when I get it sorted out, but yes. My house. Amazing. (Again, hi ma!) Shall I do a house tour? Probably not. Maybe more photos.

I think I forget sometimes how nice the light here can be.

SLEEPING WITHOUT GUILT

Or, rather, a miniscule amount of guilt. Basically I have deadlines and a dissertation draft due, and the aforementioned house problem (I have solutions, don’t worry), buuuuuut I’m having the best sleeps of my life? Am I catching up? Has my body clock righted itself, once and for all? We will never know, but look how nice a time I’m having:

Special mention: mangoes

Duh.