Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 29 to December 23, 2017

Manny Montelibano focuses on the psychology of socio-political, economic and religious structures. Montelibano investigates, criticizes and slices up realities by, for example, disconnecting image and sound, by manipulating images and by editing images from different sources. And in terms of exhibition-making, the artist adds layers by turning videos into multi-sensory installations.

For his solo exhibition Boxed Out, he shows seven new individual works, and taken together these works form an archipelagic installation. Each of the works consists of videos played on curved screens and above these screens hang punching bags and these pendulums can swing in such a way that they seem to defy gravity.

The videos are a continuation from his work A Dashed State, presented in the 56th Venice Biennale at the Philippine Pavilion titled Tie a String around the World, curated by Dr. Patrick Flores in 2015. Since then, the world has changed. Boxed Out reassesses the ongoing issue of intimidation, incursion and territory grabbing. The People’s Republic of China aims to unilaterally redefine borders in its favor – for example by redrawing maps by, what is called, the vaguely demarcated Nine-Dash Line in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea. An international recognition of this demarcation would have a huge impact on global transport, trade, fishery and, also, military presence – and thus also the global economy and peace.

The Republic of the Philippines took the matter to the International Court of Arbitration in Den Hague, the Netherlands. And the Court unanimously ruled in the Philippines’ favor on July 12, 2016. After the recent presidential election, however, the Philippine government decided to change course. Montelibano considers this a violation of justice and he wrote by hand the conclusion of the Court’s ruling on the seven punching bags.

By ignoring the Court’s ruling, which was generally understood as in favor of the Philippines, questions and doubts are raised. For example, Montelibano raises the question if ignoring the Court’s ruling can be regarded as a form of shooting oneself in the foot. Or, on the other hand, is the current president playing out the vested interests of the different global powers in the benefit of the Philippines? Nonetheless, this confusion could potentially lead to paranoia and fear seeping into international and domestic politics.

Boxed Out investigates the change of course towards international alliances, territorial politics, definitions of new symbolic languages and populism as an answer to moral uncertainty in regards to the South China/West Philippine Sea issue.