From February 2015

globetrotter

Rebuilding this site and updating various documents recently got me thinking about a line I’d incorporated into my artist statement:

“This creative logic is shaped by years of international and intercultural experience with a mixed Filipino/American family, a childhood in Hong Kong, the UAE and Malaysia, and adulthood as an educator in the diversity of California.”

I was daydreaming about travel, as is pretty typical for me when I start to get fidgety this time of year, so I started idly counting up the various weeks, months and years that I’ve been elsewhere than the Bay Area. In doing so, I realized that I’d lived or traveled in Europe much longer in a cumulative capacity than I’d thought, which might bear inclusion in my statement at some point.

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My life has been shaped by motion and travel, but I’d never been too exact about this. I decided to try to quantify this on a spreadsheet (now that I know how to use Excel for actual math, not just for making pretty colored boxes. Hah!) and discovered that, beyond the biggest chunk of time that is the Bay Area, I’ve lived, traveled or undertaken art projects in

  • Asia-Pacific (including Hawaii): 10 yrs 1 month
  • Middle East: 2 years 6 months
  • Europe: 3 years 3 months
  • Mexico: 2 months 3 weeks
  • Louisiana: 3 months 1 week
  • North Carolina: 3 months
  • Continental US (not including CA, LA or NC): 6 months 1 week

So, while yes, I’m still primarily a Pacific Rim product, this data was a good reminder that other forces have shaped me, too. It also explains why, to this day, I really, really like wiping out the sink in the airplane lavatory. It’s something I’ve done to entertain myself on long-distance flights since I was small.

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post-Glamorgeddon

Over a month into 2015 already: damn, January went fast. Between relaunching this website, teaching winter Intersession, starting the new spring term, and being involved in 2 major performances, the month has been a bit of a blur (if a productive one).

Glamorgeddon, curated by Johanna Poethig, Angelica Muro and Dio Mendoza, opened and closed with a bang: live performances and campy photo-ops abounded.

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glamparazzi

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For Glamorgeddon’s Opening Spectacle in early January, Herb and I performed our new song, “Summer Furs,” a nostalgic disco-tinged tune remembering a pre-global warming SF, when it was de rigueur to pile on the insulated layers in July. Johanna coined the term a couple of years ago when we were all wearing heavy coats for a June outdoor party, so we thought it was time to turn her observation into a song. Official recording and music video forthcoming.

Summer Furs, performance at SOMARTS, 2015
Summer Furs, performance at SOMARTS, 2015

The weather this January has been ominously toasty, prompting discussing that we may yet need to write a song called “Winter Sandos” (“sando”= Tagalog slang for sleeveless undershirt) as a book-end.

For the Closing Spectacle, the Manananggoogle executive team conducted an employee training for the “Limo Lectures” program, wherein 5 different 30-minute lectures were given in the back of a rolling, pink, stretch Hummer limousine.

We crammed 18 new hires into what we re-branded the Manananggooglemobile and indoctrinated them accordingly. (More on that in the “MOB Projects” section of this site soon.)

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Post-Limo Lecture and back in the Somarts Main Gallery, the executive team had photos taken with illustrious senior members of our imaginary advisory board:

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Manananggoogle with Moira Roth
Manananggoogle with Rene Yañez
Manananggoogle with Rene Yañez

We also reenacted one of our own images.

Manananggoogle with Manananggoogle
Manananggoogle with Manananggoogle

Our CEO, R. Immaculata Estrada, tore her meniscus last week, and was forced to take to a knee brace and crutches 2 days before our Limo Lecture. The crutches were incorporated into the evening’s events with great enthusiasm, however.

Performance, in a truly live, scripted-rehearsed-but-also-improvised, capacity is something that I do every day in my classroom or in my studio, but actually haven’t done with great regularity in an “on stage” capacity since I was younger. Both performances demanded both practice and the flexibility to just wing it, which got me thinking about a good quote in a design textbook I recently taught from:

“Chance favors the prepared mind.”

By Louis Pasteur, of all people.

There are several similar Pasteur quotes in this vein that I like, and they each do a pretty nifty job of identifying that inspiration and practice are symbiotic, not contradictory. Every time I hear an artist (often a student) say something like “I just work intuitively,” it drives me a little crazy. It’s not that intuition, spontaneity and improvisation aren’t part of the creative process: of course they are. It’s that it does a tremendous disservice to the other part of successful work, which is about practice, repetition, research, rehearsal. It sells an artist short to not acknowledge or respect these aspects of the magic of making things.

I’m still more comfortable with how this plays out in my studio, making paintings and drawings. I’m having to re-learn how to do this in performance work, but it’s been a hell of a lot of fun doing so this past month.