Lustrous Longhorn (click image to zoom in): This is my 1:1 macro shot of a long-horned beetle. The surreal bokeh was produced from the glitters of the Christmas decor where I put the beetle in. It really gives the photo a “hallucinogenic” look, haha.
10:00 am • 29 October 2011 • 4 notes
Facing The Hunter (click image to zoom in): This is a 1:1 macro shot I did of a fairly large Huntsman Spider that resided in our living room in Baguio City, Philippines. It’s roughly 6 inches across and runs fast like all hell had just broke loose. I never killed it though, I just relocated it outside using our trusty broomstick. Though macrophotographing is really a nice (wait, I mean creepy) experience; it was just about 5 inches away from my face when I photographed it, haha.
8:00 am • 22 October 2011 • 2 notes
An Inner Turbulence (click the image to zoom in): I took this picture of an old beggar in the streets of Manila, Philippines, while riding on a car. I used my manual focus telephoto lens for this and I never thought that what I would capture is a lot more impacting to me than what I’ve expected, now that I’ve started to view my images.
8:03 am • 15 October 2011 • 4 notes
"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens. Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars."
Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese American artist, poet and writer
Also mentioned as a spoken sample in Dream Theater’s song Breaking All Illusions, from their latest album A Dramatic Turn of Events
9:30 am • 18 September 2011 • 19 notes
Complementary opposites instead of conflicting dualities is a good way to put it in perspective.
PS: Now don’t get me started on social constructionism, haha.
1:10 am • 18 September 2011 • 55 notes
I bet that would be a different story if we applied non-euclidean geometry. I’m thinking it would be much more cyclical (and a bit bland) in nature.
PS: Besides, we’re on a giant oblate spheroid anyway, straight lines wouldn’t go on as “straight” forever here, haha.
12:35 am • 18 September 2011 • 7,485 notes
"We don’t have to compare to each other the hardships that we face in life, even if we can astoundingly back it up with facts and figures, with credentials and claimed experience. Everyone is fighting a hard battle. However, despite all of the comparisons, catching up with the times, and the competition between ourselves, it’s always our final say, whether those hardships we all face would make us, or break us."
— There will always be a time when you should’ve been inspired in the moments where you felt envious of others’ successes, and there will always be a time when you should’ve been driven to action in the moments where you felt pleasure in the misfortunes of others. It’s all a matter of choice.
11:59 pm • 7 September 2011 • 1 note
The Eyes of The Dragon (click image to zoom in): I saw this dying dragonfly in Laguna, Philippines. It’s really hard to take good macrophotographs of healthy dragonflies (especially with handheld macro) because they tend to fly away; I was lucky on this one because it’s “alive” enough to get a firm perch on the wall, haha. Gotta love the detail on the bulging compound eyes and the wings, although the specular highlights on the eyes ruin it a little bit.
PS: I need a more decent macro lighting equipment, haha.
1:10 am • 30 August 2011 • 6 notes
Doggone Hydromechanics (click image to zoom in): Just captured this shot of my dog shaking water off her fur after she took a bath. Looks quite post-impressionistic for me, gotta love those tiny drops of water being flung around by her, haha.
4:40 pm • 28 August 2011 • 30 notes
REFLECTION ON MIDEO CRUZ’ POLITEISMO
Dr. Feorillo A. Demeterio III
Vice Dean, College of Liberal Arts, De La Salle University
I did not have the privilege of experiencing the Politeismo of Mideo Cruz, as the whole exhibition Kulo was closed the day I thought of going to CCP and see for myself this installation in the context of the whole show. But since the controversy it created is aesthetic, philosophical and cultural, I, as a professor of Philippine studies, am compelled to make sense out of it using the fragmented footages and snapshots that I saw on television and the internet.
I propose that Mideo Cruz’ Politeismo be analyzed using the Dada Movement as the overall framework, because his installation is indeed a representative of this genre. But a problem arises here, owing to the fact that even for the classic and traditional arts, the average Filipino tends to have a very low aesthetic literacy. If we cannot expect the average Filipino to be able to plumb the meaning of realistic painting or sculpture, the more that we cannot expect him to make sense out of Dada installation. I believe that this gap between an artist’s expression and the people’s capacity to read such expression is the root of the controversy that we are currently experiencing.
In the context of the Dada movement it is very difficult to talk about what is beautiful and what is ugly, because Dada art is designed to critique social and cultural norms in a shocking way. Just think of one of its most famous exemplary pieces: Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain”, which is just a urinal that is mounted on a pedestal and audaciously signed by the artist. What for us may just be rubbish is actually a powerful artistic criticism of the pretentions of classical and modern aesthetics that deified the names of the great masters.
But why does Dada have to be shocking and “ugly”? According to the German aesthetic theorist Theodor Adorno, a conventionally beautiful art will only make us think that the world and society are truly wonderful, and therefore we should not do anything that might spoil their beauty. But a shockingly unconventional art will make us see what is wrong with our world and society, and therefore goad us to address these shortcomings. Conventional beauty will lull us to sleep, while shocking “ugliness” will wake us up and propel us into action.
In the context of the Dada movement and the avant-garde aesthetics of Adorno, the question “is the installation Politeismo beautiful or ugly” is simply not the right question to raise, because the more appropriate ones should be “what is it that is being critiqued by this installation,” and “is the installation successful in critiquing such thing/s.” We were not able to raise these more appropriate questions because we framed Cruz’ art in the context of classic and traditional aesthetics, and in the context of intolerant Catholic theology.
If you will ask me the question “what is it that is being critiqued by Politeismo,” based on the fragmented footages and snapshots that I saw, I think it is critiquing several aspects of our psyche and culture. Cruz could be making a statement against our cluttered aesthetics that tends to fill up all available spaces with bric-a-brac and kitschy items. He could be making a statement against our more literal polytheism that is manifested in the way we enshrine together several Santo Ninos, Virgins, Angels, Buddhas and other Saints in one altar. He could also be making a statement against our more subtle polytheism that makes us worship God side by side with our other gods and goddesses: the movie stars, the politicians, money, sex, America, consumer goods and others. The bottom line intention of Cruz’ installation is to show us a mirror image of our unhealthy psyche and culture. Persecuting him for showing us such an “ugly” picture, is just like smashing a mirror for reflecting our ugly faces. Just us we remain ugly even after the mirror is reduced into shards, our psyche and culture would remain unhealthy even if we lynch Cruz.
If you will ask me the question “is the installation successful in critiquing such things?” My answer will be more complicated. On one hand, judging on the uproar it created, we can say that Politeismo delivered its potent punch on us Filipinos, and therefore it is successful. But listening to the contents of such an uproar that failed to go beyond the accusations of blasphemy and the prattle on ugliness, we can say the Politeismo failed due to the simple fact that the average Filipino is not ready to deal with Dada installations. Closing the whole exhibit Kulo is not only unfair to Cruz and the other 31 participating artists, it is also missing the opportunity of educating the Filipinos, especially the young ones, on the meaning of Dada and on the problems and ills of our culture and society.
*My College Vice Dean sent this e-mail to me and my Philippine Studies coursemates, as well as to other Liberal Arts students and alumni, including some DLSU Philosophy professors on August 18, 2011. I know that this issue was already discussed by the local media to the point of stagnation, but then again, we might want to consider Dr. Demeterio’s points here and spread this note to others.*
4:06 am • 26 August 2011 • 5 notes
"Everyone has the capacity for choice in this constantly changing life. But that’s beside the point; the thing is, not everyone feels responsible for the choices that they make for themselves and for the people around them."
— That’s the downside of being a human with an all too linear and limited perception of things.
3:54 am • 26 August 2011 • 1 note
"Sometimes your castles in the air and the fantasies you’re seeking, are the crosses you bear."
— Lines in The Sand, by John Petrucci of the progressive metal band “Dream Theater”
3:41 am • 26 August 2011 • 3 notes