In collaboration with Yuji de Torres, The Ballad of Plastic Bags will livestream the journey of two plastic bags caught in the wind tunnel of my apartment’s almost deserted parking lot while a Figure of Pestilence lurks in the background.
Stillness has been an unconventional bodily response to apocalyptic scenarios throughout history, but with one-third of its archipelago on lockdown, the Philippines and the rest of the world has been reacquainted with the motions of constant waiting, frenetic contemplation, and voluntary isolation. With the population density of 21,000/km2, Metro Manila’s empty roads, shopping malls, offices, markets, churches, and schools are now only occasionally undercut by a renewed system of virtual communities hustling to help one another and critique the inefficient quasi-authoritarian government through an interwoven exodus of goods and services delivered by waves of motorcycles, trucks, private cars, and any vehicle with a quarantine pass.
In the wake of a recent volcanic eruption in Southern Luzon that spewed ash throughout the capital, watching airborne particles, feeling smoke or wind, and the act of breathing inspire, threaten, and fuel my livestream amidst this pandemic. As the livestream takes one through an 30-60 minute act of stalking two pieces of trash at sunrise/sundown, viewers are encouraged to imagine in solidarity and in solitude what the biblical First Horseman may herald or have already heralded not just for the Philippines but also for the global future. In the miasma of uncertainty, the plastic bags weave through, fly against, and soar towards a grave new world.
Date: Wednesday, April 8
Time: 4:00am MDT
Streamed from: Manila, Philippines
Alfred Marasigan (b. 1992) began as a landscape painter until he discovered livestreaming and eventually found performance. In his transmedial practice, he uses livestreaming as medium to challenge modes of storytelling, navigate the politics of belonging, and apprehend the trappings of chance. He heavily draws inspiration from emotional geography, Norwegian slow TV, and magic realism.
Marasigan graduated with an MA in Contemporary Art from UiT Arctic University of Norway's Tromsø Academy of Art and is a Norwegian Council of the Arts Grantee for Newly Graduated Artists. In 2016, he had his first solo show Places in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), and in 2015, he became a First Round Winner (General Category) of Art Olympia: International Open Art Competition in Tokyo, Japan. Currently based in Manila, he is also a member of the Ateneo de Manila University’s Department of Fine Arts.
His other artworks have also been exhibited, screened, and presented in Tromsø Kunstforening (NO), Meinblau Projektraum (DE), Arctic Moving Image & Film Festival (AMIFF) (NO), c3 Contemporary Art Space (AU), Metropolitan Museum of Manila (PH); and included in publications like Kunstkritikk.no, Fordham University’s CURA Magazine, SFMoMA’s Tumblr, Rogue, and Ateneo’s Heights, among others.