HALSEMA AX(i)S ART PROJECT – Kawayan de Guia

The AX (i)S exhibition at Mo_space is a post-mortem exhibition and documentation of last year’s AX (i)S festival, which aimed to represent contemporary norms of living in the North, and push for the growth of independent artist communities in the Cordillera region. For the Fort space, the big tent made of ukay-ukay clothes has been repurposed as chassis of the iconic Dangwa bus (which used to carry commuters between Baguio and Sagada), and from within its interiors photos of the exhibits of last year’s AX (i)S event are projected. Around this symbolic space, found artefacts of roadside shrines are scattered. It depicts life and art in the North as Kawayan de Guia and his community wishes to curate and preserve it.
(Paraphrased from the exhibit blurb at the Mospace page)
Around this time last year I was on a spate of gallery-viewing and I realized that because I’ve been so busy with work and school I haven’t done that in a while… That realization, as well as a newfound drive to share more of my other interests (in short feeling pa-deep 2012 edition) compelled me to go here. I was actually surprised to find out that there was no one around, so I went a little crazy with snapping parts of the exhibit which I wanted to take home with me (virtually, nostalgically). I took a lot of pictures and I promise I have something about my thoughts written in there near the end.

The AX (i)S Mali / Mail works are also up inside the Project Room. Here I am doing my best impersonation of a Bulong. Just to burst your bubble, I still tried to get in my requisite daily vanity shot. Don’t ask me how I got this shot.

This one’s easier to figure out. At some point I started feeling silly spazzing out in an exhibit all by myself (So many thoughts! No one smart enough nearby to tell them to! I need someone to verify my spazziness or am I just feeling pa-cool?)

Although I’ve never taken the rickety Dangwa bus from Baguio to Sagada, I have taken more than a hundred buses back and forth Manila and Los Banos during my college years, and I know that my college mates can all attest to that passive powerful feeling of leaving one place, and arriving in another, without ever moving from your seat. Your eyes and your mind do the traveling before the rest of your body experiences the fatigue when you reach the terminal. This exhibit was almost like that: a vicarious trip for my pathetically urban heart.
It gave me a little peek into the changes (as well as the constants) that constitute the Northern way of life. De Guia’s trip is not just between physical places, but also between two points of cultural and historical ideas: the old and the new; also, the longed-for progress and the longed-for days of yore. It’s nostalgic, but at the same time, it’s optimistic that we can never truly forget a rich past, nor should we ever do so. 
This is a super tiny detail on the wall installation, but I love it.
And for good measure, here’s a tsamba shot of the busy outside, taken from the gallery’s glass walls. Post-processed a bit to bring out the indigos more, but I swear today’s sunset sky was quite post-apocalyptic. Must be global warming?

Halsema… is showing at Mo_space until November 18.

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