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Ninoy, the Straw Man

15 Dec 2009
Ninoy 2010: Ninoy for President

With the dearth of credible presidential aspirants, should we just elect the imaginary alternative?

Ninoy Aquino has become a graphic design sensation of sorts. Along with the nostalgia for all things yellow, spurred by the death of Cory Aquino, we are now inundated with a barrage of Ninoy-themed merchandise. His iconic monotone image is now plastered on shirts, bags, car plates, and whatnot. This retro wave can be attributed largely to the much-publicized iamninoy campaign, which mobilizes a strong band of artists and retailers like Team Manila, Analog Soul, Bench and Penshoppe.

Recently, a group of graphic designers going by the (strangely patriotic-conyotic-almost-sarcastic) name of Oh-We’re-So-Filipino (OWSF), unveiled a very curious instance of this Ninoy-ism: the Ninoy for 2010 t-shirts. In an article about the shirts, the group describes the brand of “fun patriotism” that they wish to put forward in light of the upcoming elections: Read more…

Kalikot sa Dukot

11 Dec 2009

Napilitan si Maricel na muling makipagtuos sa sarili ukol sa aktibismo.

Sa kabila ng ilang kahinaan, mahusay na pelikula sa pangkalahatan ang Dukot. Nagbibigay ito ng simbolikong resolusyon sa suliraning panlipunan kaugnay ng pampulitikang pagpaslang at pagdukot – sa pagpatay ng kapatid ng bida sa militar na nagpahirap at pumatay dito.

Mahusay ang pagpapakita ng pagiging brutal ng karahasang pinawalan ng rehimeng Arroyo sa mga aktibista at maging sa mga manggagawang pangkarapatang pantao at mamamahayag – na, katulad ng mga aktibista, ay nagsisiwalat ng lagay ng mga mamamayan. Mahusay rin ang pagpapakita kung paano nilalaro ng militar ang opinyong publiko sa pamamagitan ng simpleng pagbaligtad ng mga kwento – imbes na militar ang gumawa ng isang bagay, ibibintang ito sa New People’s Army o NPA. Read more…

On Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story”

08 Dec 2009
Michael Moore and Capitalism

Moore balances his trademark showmanship by presenting other significant voices.

There is no metaphor more fitting than love to get us a feel for our engagement with a system’s berserk display of passion for profit accumulation. King of shock docus, Michael Moore, once again, points a wrathful finger on the usual suspects who have enslaved and enchained our hearts and minds to a cruel relationship that neither fungible contracts nor boastings of recovery from Wall Street can assuage. Read more…

Sa Dambana ng Kinatay

07 Dec 2009
Kinatay: Rehimen ng kadiliman

Sa poder ng dilim at kahirapan nagkakaroon ng negosasyon at kontest sa kapangyarihan.

Hindi ko gustong naririnig ang direktor at manunulat na tinatalakay ang kanilang obra. Parating sobra, wala naman ito sa natunghayan pero mala-magic na ipapaliwanag ng artist na ito ang kanyang layon. Sa literatura, sinasabing “the author is dead” sa akto ng pagbabasa. Walang babalingan na awtor bilang sanggunian kung ano ang kanyang intensyon o kung ano ang dapat nitong afekto sa mambabasa.

Pero naiiba ang open forum na kinatampukan ni Brillante “Dante” Mendoza, dahil masalimuot ang daan tungo sa Philippine premiere ng Kinatay (2009) sa UP Cine Adarna. Ito ang gabi ng pagpapakita ng mga ulo ng hydrang administrasyon ni Gloria Arroyo. Una ay ang pagpasok ng MTRCB na lahat ng pelikulang ipinapalabas sa Cine Adarna ay dapat dumaan daw sa kanilang pag-aproba. Ikalawa, na sa kaso ng Kinatay, magfa-file sila ng TRO (temporary restraining order) kung hindi ito dadaan sa screening ng kanilang opisina. Read more…

Rites of Passage

07 Nov 2009
Biyaheng Lupa: Ang paghahanap ni Mickey

Isang paglalakbay sa katahimikan at kamatayan.

Sabi nga ng cliché, “it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey itself.” Kesehodang may naghihintay sa iyo sa terminal ng bus, o sa end of the road, ang importante ay ang naging paglalakbay. Ilang tula na ba ang gumamit ng paglalakbay bilang metapora ng buhay? Hindi naman sa gasgas na, pero siguro hindi na rin road less travelled ang ganitong alegorya. Pero interesante ang mga estilong ginamit ni Armando Lao para sa biyaheng ito. Di tulad ng kumbensyonal na mga pelikula na kung saan may bida at kontrabida, walang iisang tauhan na sinundan ang naratibo ng Biyaheng Lupa. Dahil walang pokus sa iisang tauhan, nagagawang idistansiya ng filmmaker ang mga manonood mula sa tauhan. Sa halip na lumikha ng mga indibidwal, ayon kay Joel David, ang nalilikha ng multiple character film format ay ang social milieu bilang karakter. Sa kaso ng Biyaheng Lupa, ang karakter na sinundan ng naratibo ay ang biyaheng Manila-Legazpi. Read more…

Sequestering the Visible

04 Nov 2009
A copyright infringement? Garcia's Obama photo for AP (left) and Fairey's Hope poster (right).

A copyright infringement? Garcia's Obama photo for AP (left) and Fairey's Hope poster (right).

The Associated Press, in calling out graphic designer Shepard Fairey for appropriating an AP image in his famous Obama posters, puts itself in a strange position, since agencies like the AP thrive precisely on appropriation, whether in syndicating reports, or, as their extensive image bank shows, appropriating what is photographable—ergo, what can be seen.

“To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed,” says writer Susan Sontag. “It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge—and, therefore, like power.” Should people like Obama sue photographers like Mannie Garcia and agencies like the AP for appropriating his likeness? (Can Obama even lay claim to his likeness in the first place?) In turn, should artists like Fairey raise a howl when photographers and news agencies publish photographs of their artwork in various media? Should artists be obliged to secure permission whenever they use a found image as reference? The Fairey v. AP case raises a multitude of questions on art, photography, design, reproducibility—and inevitably, politics and power. Read more…

The Tube is Your Oyster: Experiencing lesbian images and community on YouTube

01 Feb 2009

Before watching a few episodes of The L Word on YouTube, to see if I would like the show enough to get the DVDs, I had no reason to frequent the site. Since it went online in 2005, YouTube quickly gained popularity – and not only in the United States. To kill boredom, my officemates would often gather around a computer to watch YouTube videos that they found amusing. Pets and people goofing around and highlights from American Idol did not interest me, though, so I often stayed in my seat. What attracted me to the site could not have been more different than what appealed to them.

The L Word episode pages, I soon found out, were but starting points. A video link led to so many others, and what I discovered was a network of people eager to show, create, and discuss lesbian images online. I became thankful to be born in the age of Internet. YouTube is a dyke (with Internet access)’s oyster. Part the folds to get at the pearls – TV shows, movies, trailers, mash-ups, even slideshows set to music, all animated by queer desire. Read more…

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