I have an article about Kulo in the final issue of Visual Overture. It was written earlier last year, but didn’t make it in time for Fall.
Are there other angles to Jose Rizal? This is one of the questions raised by a recent series of exhibits celebrating the sesquicentennial of a national hero, one of the few whose status has yet gone uncontested. Instituted by academic and cultural bodies, we see Rizal as a scholar, an artist, a subversive, a colleague, and a contemporary. We are challenged to see the mortal behind the martyr, the man behind the myth. Here is Rizal as your bro in aviator sunglasses. Here is Rizal in horn-rimmed specs, the unofficial patron of a campaign awash in yellow. These were shows that asked what makes a hero, and if the the picture we are looking at is the image of the hero or the hero in our image.
To ask if it’s a penis or an ashtray is–in the case of this installation (look it up, Pinky Webb, look it up)–the same thing as asking if the picture of Christ is Christ. There are times when the representation becomes infinitely more important than the idea behind it. These are the times when you have to ask yourself, while looking at the ashtray/penis, if it’s worth it to (no pun intended) cut off the offending member.