HOLA ESCOLTA !

GG @ the first London Biennale Manila Pollination 💃🏽


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It’s 6pm on a Thursday and the rundown street of Escolta begins to simmer down. Approaching the six-storied First United Building (FUB) is the boisterous sound of a group of young artists dubbed Windang Aesthetic Labor Army (WALA) opening Manila’s first ever 2016 London Biennale Manila Pollination: Synchronisation Syncopation. Climb up to the third floor to see Sonia Barrett and Josephine Redillas’ repurposed Transart Triennala 2016 video projection of ReFramed on loop, as you follow a handwritten sign that says “potluck party at 301.”

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Room 301. This is the same room they held a video Skype conference with London Biennale founders David Medalla and Adam Nankervis earlier that day, and it’s now lit with a single rotating colourful LED disco ball lightalmost like a small house party in there. Glowing right across the hallway of room 301 is the first of Derek Tumala and Jose Tong’s guerilla mapping projections— Lucid Abyss of Immanence that’ll make you think of Stranger Things. Climb another two flights of stairs to the fifth floor, and after an impromptu stairwell performance by Martin de Mesa, you will find the balcony where Derek quietly stands in front of his laptop, controlling images projected from two Epson projectors. Follow his gaze and the beams of light map out mosaic patterns reflected on the half-abandoned BPI Escolta Building right across the FUB.

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‘You have danced the night away and by 11pm, the street of Escolta has gone back to its original formunobtrusive and forgotten’

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It’s 9pm. It’s time to walk two blocks down the street to the PANPISCO Building to rejoice in Budots music while admiring sonic-centric installations by Jett Ilagan and Tito & Tita. You have danced the night away and by 11pm, the street of Escolta has gone back to its original formunobtrusive and forgotten, but for the night you have relived its early glory, as nine eclectic artists breathed new life to the once vibrant and ever charming Escolta.

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Words Celene Sakurako
Photography Anthony Marquez