Context-Responsive Art Practice

led by Sofia Hernandez-Chong Cuy

Tues, Oct 15 @ Areté, Ateneo
(free and open to the public)
Tues, Oct 15 @ Areté, Ateneo

BAP TALK: Having Been Grounded...: On the Power of Art Institutions

Why are structural changes at cultural institutions the best ways to address historical conundrums that affect our present condition? What kinds of contemporary artistic practices help make meaningful change possible? How does collective learning become an imperative modus operandi? These are some of the questions that informs a short presentation by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy. She will propose some tentative answers to these questions by presenting ongoing projects and case studies developed with her team at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, which she leads as Director since January 2018.

SEMINAR: Tracing Trajectories

While the common understanding of influence is that it manifests as a cause that affects something ahead, influence does not necessarily follow a linear, progressive trajectory. At times, something is influential precisely because it allows for a better understanding of the past. Hence, the importance of history: as much as it is a base to ground ideas, a base from forms of content may stem, even nomenclature, the past is also something to be changed and re-worked. In this view, an influential experience may have a conceptual effect, not solely lead to a material result.  The most basic form way this multivalent type of movement can be triggered is considering something experienced recently that helped articulate something done in the past. Here’s a question that can initiate such reflexive exercise: How does history itself appear in your practice (e.g. as a thing of the past, a concern of the present, an imaginary of the future, for example)?

The purpose of this workshop is to identify influential curatorial projects, artistic practices, and programming initiatives organized by others, at different time periods and in different social contexts than our own. The plan is to articulate relationships between historic curatorial projects with those elaborated today. First, Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy will present a handful of projects that have helped her shape forms of content, some of which have been curatorial projects presented beyond the conventions of gallery display. Then, a workshop will be held where the workshop participants present a series of case studies for group discussion. These two sessions will explore how certain artistic and curatorial practices have proven to be both relevant to the field and personally influential.

Participants in this curatorial workshop will explore the relevance of historic exhibitions or curatorial projects at large, experienced first-hand or through concentrated research, and deliberate on how these have proven to be influential to their own practice. For the purpose of this workshop, a historic exhibition or project means any public presentation of art and culture held between 1989 to the present, including permanent collection shows, art biennials, temporary gallery displays, solo or group exhibitions, as well as programming series and curatorial initiatives with forms alternative to displays or taking place at atypical sites for art.

Open to all backgrounds and levels. Applicants with strong interest in history, art history, and curatorial studies are encouraged to apply.

Seminar fee waived for Ateneo alumni, students, and past shortlisted and AAA recipients.

Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy’s ESKWELA programme is supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands.

Movement and Choreographic Turn in Performance

Workshop led by Eisa Jocson with collaborators Joshua Serafin, Russ Ligtas, Bunny Cadag, and Cathrine Go 

Dates to TBD

Manila Zoo: A Creation Workshop with Eisa Jocson 

In Disney’s empire of manufacturing “happiness,” animals and objects are anthropomorphized, formatted with US-American values and ways of being. Wherein lions are kings; monkey, cricket and fish are sidekicks to humans; teapot is a matriarchal surrogate; and zoos are utopias—all brightly constructed to keep humans self-centeredly entertained and within the empire’s global reach.

 In Hong Kong Disneyland, Filipinos are the favorite entertainment labor force. They are employed as highly skilled, energetic, world-class happiness-machines and fabricated as experts in performing anything effectively entertaining. 

This four-days workshop will create a new work as the third part of Jocson’s Happyland Series, Manila Zoo [working title]. In Happyland 1: Princess, two Filipino performers hijacked the figure of Snow White. Happyland 2: Your Highness, a group of ballet dancers unpacks their formatted ideal bodies made to enter the Disney workforce. This tertiary stage pushes Filipino performativity to transform from anthropomorphic happy animals in the Disneyland park into actual animals captured in the zoo, performing the labor of zoo animals. 

 The work is grounded in the study of animal behavior in zoos. Animals in the zoo have developed behavioral disorders not found in the wild, such as abnormal repetitive behavior and self-aggression. In confinement, animals suffer from isolation, stress, depression, anxiety, helplessness and boredom, and these symptoms strangely mirror conditions found in humans living in densely populated cities. 

By performing as animals, the dancers will exit human logic and refuse to participate in servicing and entertaining as humans. However, as captives of the zoo they are constantly subjected to human voyeurism and exploitation.  

Open to all levels. Performance background a must. Please send a completed application form, CV, and URL link to a previous performative work or portfolio. 

Movement and Choreographic Turn in Performance

Workshop led by Joshua Serafin

Sat, Sept 7
10AM-1PM; 2-5PM
1-2PM Lunch will be provided

This workshop will focus on discussing and mapping current contemporary dance practices both in Europe and Asia. Classes will focus on the idea of manipulating the body through understanding the relationship between internal and external time and space that exist in both environments through movement and introduces tools to explore a certain movement vocabulary that hopes to benefit the participant agency in their own practice and state of performativity. This excercise hopes to gain consciousness in engaging the entirety of the body to design architectural composition that proposes Ideal and Dystopia architecture. In turn, that this imagining transcends a certain sensation to its viewers.

The idea of creating an ideal identity will also be explored. Discussing what is “Ideal” and what is “Identity” through creating an alter-ego. To allow and manifest in our body, and to give it life.

Open to applicants who have an intermediate to advance dance/movement training. Students to professional. Also open to actors. Please send a completed application form, CV, and URL link to a previous performative work or portfolio. 

Schedule subject to change.

Asia Pacific: Visual Histories of War and Postwar

Seminar led by Lesley Ma

Tues, Sept 10 7PM
(free and open to the public)
Wed, Sept 11 1-4PM


The lecture gives an overview of the postwar visual history in Taiwan, with a focus on the avant-garde practices in theater, film, publications, and photography. Taiwan, located on the “Great Crescent,” a string of countries in the Pacific from Japan and South Korea to the Philippines designated by the American military deployment strategy as the frontline against Communism, has received a mixture of cultural influences since the late nineteenth century, including Chinese, Japanese, American, and European. The co-existing cultural heritage and imports along with the geopolitical complexities during the Cold War created a unique environment for artistic productions on the island, especially when martial law dictated every aspect of civilian life. The avant-garde artists featured in this talk—Huang Huacheng, Chuang Ling, Chang Chao-Tang, and Chen Yao-chi—emerged in the mid-1960s when modernist abstraction dominated the local artistic discourse. I will give context to their explorations by outlining the local conditions for creative activities and the broader development of postwar art in East Asia. My analysis will show that this group of artists was the first postwar generation to directly and fully engaged in their daily experiences in Taiwan in their artmaking while being attuned to international currents.


This seminar will share the research and making process of the exhibition "Great Crescent: Art and Agitation in the 1960s—Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan,” first exhibited at Para Site, Hong Kong in 2013 and toured to the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2015) and The Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City (2016). In addition to analyzing the curatorial framework of comparative modernity, Ma will explore the meaning of “avant-garde” in the context of postwar Taiwan. A large part of the discussion will be on Theatre (juchang), a short-lived yet seminal quarterly magazine published from 1965 to 1968 that was itself the site and instigator of avant-garde activities in mid-1960s Taiwan. Ma will look at the cross-disciplinary collaborations that were crucial to artistic experimentations, as well as the influences of Japanese, American, and European cultures on this generation of pioneers.

Open to all backgrounds and levels. Applicants with strong interest in history, art history, and curatorial studies are encouraged to apply.

Asia Pacific: Visual Histories of War and Postwar

Seminar led by David Teh

Thurs, Sept 12 10AM-1PM
Thurs, Sept 12 2PM-4PM
(free and open to the public)
Fri, Sept 13 1-4PM

This two-days seminar will depart from Teh’s curatorial project “Returns” (12th Gwangju Biennale, 2018). Based on research in the Gwangju Biennale's archives, the project took the form of a “walk-in magazine,” revisiting salient moments in the early editions of this important platform. If this Asian biennale was in the 1990s an obvious bellwether for the post-Cold War globalisation of art, it also occasioned all manner of diverse and conflicting articulations of regionalism. After an overview of the exhibition and public programmes, we will explore a selection of case studies drawn from the 'Returns' research, in light of recent institutional developments in Asian contemporary art and art history.

Open to all backgrounds and levels. Applicants with strong interest in history, art history, and curatorial studies are encouraged to apply. Scholarships available to UP students and alumni.

Seminar fee waived for UP students.

Asia Pacific: Visual Histories of War and Postwar

Seminar led by Greg Dvorak

Tues, August 20 7PM
(free and open to the public)
Thurs, August 22 1-4PM
Fri, August 23 1-4PM


This lecture and related workshops, led by Pacific/Asia cultural historian and curator Greg Dvorak, professor at Waseda University in Tokyo, invites participants to visually explore the deeper patterns of violence, dehumanization, resistance, and empowerment that run through the colonized and militarized landscapes and seascapes connected to, but beyond the horizon of, the Filipino experience. Focusing especially on the region of Northern Oceania (a region commonly known as Micronesia), the Philippines’ closest Pacific neighborhood, Dvorak will draw together diverse and transoceanic ideas around propaganda, art, resistance, visibility and invisibility between major nations and small communities.  

When asked about “the war” in the Pacific and their memories about it, Islanders tend to ask, “what war?” For Micronesians, and many Islanders, war is a topic that extends back through at least five hundred years of Western and Asian colonial history, and also into ancestral time over thousands of years.  The Pacific War is not the only war that Islanders are aware of: In their consciousness exists many other battles, such as the struggle against militarism and nuclear testing, the struggle against the “environmental colonialism” that is causing climate change and sea level rise, and the ongoing struggle for sovereignty and self-determination.  In a deeper perspective, Islanders also look back to the battles fought over land by their brave ancestors who navigated to these islands. Indigenous people throughout the Pacific region, dating back to the time of Ferdinand Magellan, share a great deal in common with the Filipino people, but this is not a history ordinarily taught in the Philippines.  Additionally, the indigenous people of the Philippines share deep ancestral Austronesian roots with the people who settled the Pacific Islands. Paying attention to these visual and genealogical histories in the 20th and 21st centuries, while being mindful of the larger context of the ongoing wars in Oceania, will help participants gain a better literacy of contemporary decolonization and demilitarization as seen in art from the region, and how that links or does not link with conversations happening in the contemporary Philippines.

Open to all backgrounds and levels. Applicants with strong interest in history, art history, and curatorial studies are encouraged to apply.

Stay tuned for more upcoming schedule of seminars and workshops:

Indigeneities and Contemporary Art led by Cosmin Costinas

Queer Filipiniana: Literature led by J. Neil Garcia
Indigeneities and Contemporary Art led by Candice Hopkins
Indigeneities and Contemporary Art led by Anselm Franke