Two students of the UP Open University (UPOU) Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Studies (BAMS) contributed to the Philippines’ entry in the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, the oldest and most prestigious international art and architecture exhibition in the world . The installation, entitled The City Who Had Two Navels, returned to the country on 02 July 2019 and is currently housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila until 19 October 2019.
The City Who Had Two Navels depicted colonial architecture vis-à-vis neoliberal urbanism. Dr. Edson Cabalfin, the curator, took inspiration from the work of National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s 1961 novel, The Woman Who Had Two Navels. In crafting the exhibit, he organized a think-tank consortium consisting of artists and architects from different institutions and of varying experience.
One of these institutions tapped by Dr. Cabalfin for the Philippines’ entry, was the UP College of Architecture (UPCA), the team of which, BAMS students Ariel Noel “Winter” David and Joyce Garcia were part of.
Winter David’s involvement in the team came about naturally, as he was already doing work for some of UPCA’s faculty. He also gives free photography and videography lectures to students, as a way to give back to the university. Joyce Garcia, a fellow BAMS student and former apprentice Winter David collaborated with often, was also brought on board because of her knowledge in video editing and projection mapping.
Together, they shot and produced an informative and engaging video about UPCA’s participation. Asked about their experience, both students viewed it as a daunting task as they had to work under the tight deadline set by the Festival. At the same time, it was an opportunity to represent the country and the UP community.
“Fortunately, everybody was so helpful, and collaboration became so easy,” said Winter David. Joyce Garcia, who at the time was simultaneously working on another project in Bacolod, echoed his sentiments about the exciting but challenging task on their hands. “I had to work double-time and keep focus. But it was all worth the sleepless nights. I always look forward to more collaborative projects like this.”
Apart from UPCA, other contributors of The City Who Had Two Navels were artist Yason Banal; De La Salle University-College of St. Benilde; TAO-Pilipinas; University of San Carlos School of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design; and UP Mindanao. (POCalora)