I don’t know the science behind this, but that’s no surprise because when do I ever know the science behind anything? I just saw it on Mythbusters, and they immediately took it back, lest they be accountable for a mushroom cloud visible from Sacramento.
Don’t try this at home, and if you do decide to try this at home, you didn’t hear about ANY of it from me.
Teaching becomes an impossible job once you begin questioning your authority to impart what you know. 25 is too old for a lot of things, like being an asshole, but it’s still too young to have your knowledge validated. What’s valid at 25? Being called a “kid”. It’s a weird safety net, an added comfort you’re not entirely sure you want. Again about being 25, no other age completely encompasses being “not entirely sure”. I remember spending most of my life being cocky and arrogant as all fuckery, and then 25 comes rolling in to shatter all previously held notions of being so sure, of having my heart in the right place. At this point, I’ve figured that my heart can be a shitty compass but apparently nothing really matters before 30 anyway. Do I believe that? Does it even matter if I believe that? Refusing to go with it is like questioning the weather or the validity of the environment you grew up in. Age is just a number but 25’s too young, kid.
When I was in 3rd grade, all the way ’til high school, I called my best friend up every single day. And when I wouldn’t call, she’d call. This was despite seeing each other in school. We also wrote each other letters. I think I still have some of them. That’s a solid 10 years of having every means of communication bridged. Once we hit college, we both just fell off the radar despite being a single jeepney ride away from each other. Rather than adjusting to texting or some other means of connecting, we just stopped. Maybe we both sensed the inauthenticity of a readjustment, maybe we just took interest in new things that outshined whatever love we could have nurtured. Maybe it’s too far gone to even question at this point
We still see each other and catch up every 2 years when I visit her in the states for a week at a time, as if we’re the only ones who can fix whatever ends we’ve allowed to unravel over time. But this is about more than just missing her or catching up. We forget we have bodies. We forget we have phones. It’s just not as easy to call any more when the human dimension added just renders the whole thing unnervingly organic.
We Are Not Aimless and “This Often Misunderstood Art Form”
“Eto. Tae siya,” was the sparse and laconic explanation given by Apol Sta. Maria when asked to describe his contribution to We Are Not Aimless, an exhibit launched at Manila Contemporary on the 22nd of January. Curated by Zeus Bascon, We Are Not Aimless gathered 27 names that were already established in the creative industries, a crew composed of graphic designers, art directors, comic book artists, and children’s book illustrators to contribute visual distillations of their ideas on illustration as artistic practice.
“One of the biggest challenges I faced as a curator was defending the need for this type of show,” says Bascon, a board member of Ilustrador ng Kabataan who ventured into soft sculpture for this exhibition, “but I couldn’t even come up with a concrete definition of illustration”. Pieces such as Mica Cabildo’s crocheted works, and toys by Isabel Roxas and Abi Goy, only add to the ambiguity of defining both the products and practice of illustration. By presenting a collection that was about as organized a Surrealist parlor game, Bascon and co. made it difficult for the exhibition to guide the viewer towards a singular narrative that would redefine illustration, which was already described in the notes as an “often misunderstood art form”, and assert its place in the canon of Contemporary Art. In this chaos, one is more likely to find a defense of aimlessness, rather than a contradiction to it.
Hans Brumann is showing me a bangle: made of the indigenous hardwood kamagong and embellished with narrow strokes of silver and diamonds, the piece is a good example of the style Brumann has cultivated in the past 44 years that he has been in the business.
“Listen to this,” he says, gesturing for my wrist and pulling a latch on the bangle which opens with a pleasing affirmative click. “This is the sound of workmanship.” The wood is polished just enough to show the grain, and whatever gloss or luster might be found lacking is easily compensated with just enough lines of stones and precious metal. “Just enough,” also applies to the weight around my wrist as I turn it to observe the bangle which just rests easily against my skin instead of slipping up and down my arm like any other awkwardly cast resin piece. “Just enough,” in this case applies to everything except the price tag, which is twice what we paid for the car I drove to Brumann’s Legaspi Village studio.
This is the price of workmanship; an aspect of craft common to the practices of art and design. While both share an obligation to the creation of beauty, design’s primary role is in the production of utilitarian objects. What both practices also share are reservations expressed even by its icons. “My job is completely useless,” says virtuoso of French minimalism, Philippe Starck, “But I continue to work, even if it’s for a toilet brush.” The relationship of design to art could indeed be a common obligation towards the continuation of a narrative that is progress, which in the right degrees can contribute to the enrichment of our humanity—even when the object in question is a toilet brush.