A symposium titled Visual Becoming will be held at the Simon Fraser University (SFU) School for the Contemporary Arts in Vancouver on December 11. 

The event will feature researches on moving images by seven of the school’s graduating master’s students, two of whom are Filipinos who have worked in championing Filipino contemporary art.

Maria Filipina Palad is an independent art curator, writer, and former gallery and digital product manager. With a background in user experience (UX) and interaction design, Palad chose to take a differentapproach to the popular concept of virtual reality (VR) by using itas a medium for creating art, instead of video games. 

Palad tells Canadian Filipino Net (CFNet), “I analyze recent artworks that have been created in VR such as Marina Abramovic’sRising, Lisa Jackson’s Biidaaban, and Arne Eigenfeldt’s Moments - VR.”

Palad sees the potential in VR as a medium in expanding the role of the viewer in the development of contemporary art. 

She explains, “The emphasis that the medium puts on the interaction between the work and viewer means that the ability for the viewer to influence the way art is presented and the way it is actualized is expanding.”

Palad has worked on an interactive sound exhibition in Florence, Italy, a talk series on the role of contemporary art in Rome, an exhibition of works by masters of Philippine modern art and in 2017, curated the Scattering and Gathering exhibit on migrant Filipino artists in Vancouver.

Kwyn Aquino is a writer and editor of Town&Country Philippines where she covers the arts, style, and pop culture. She was also an associate managing editor at Summit Media, the Philippine distributor of magazines Cosmopolitan and Esquire.

Aquino’s research interests include movie screens, the essay film, beauty, and post-nationality in contemporary art.

Aquino’s research focuses on the cultural exchange between film and television, specifically in the areas of cinematography and distribution. 

“I was intrigued by the similarities between our experience of today’s small mobile screens and the mechanisms of early moving image devices,” says Aquino who also finds inspiration from Filipino filmmakers Lav Diaz and Raymond Red. 

“I remember coming out of Lav Diaz’s Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan (Norte, the End of History) questioning what it means to be a good person,” she said.

Aquino credits the school’s program for allowing her “to study film in the context of visual culture and link disparate fields of study to understand how we experience cinema in relation to space.”

According to the school’s media release, graduate students have put together alternative methods for aesthetic analyses, challenging ocular centrism while welcoming the synergy of touch, taste, affect, spatial perception, gender identity, and philosophy. Visitors will experience “roaming through the historical milieus of rickshaw art in Bangladesh, taste the delicious visuals of Korean cinema and immerse in the sensorial possibilities of VR aesthetics.”Visual Becoming will also examine cinema’s move from big to small screens and present autoethnographic queer walking as a method for performance documentation and creation.

 “Our fabulous graduating M.A.s have supported each other generously as their research has matured in creativity, rigor, and originality,” says Contemporary Arts professor Laura U. Marks. The symposium discovers new intersections between moving images and non-visual modalities in various art forms like while offering a different path to understanding the changing nature of media. It offers insights into how gender, viewer identity and human-technology relationships aid us in the analysis of phenomena. 

 Aside from Palad and Aquino, fellow presenters are Cindy Chan, Lea Ashelia Hogan, Michelle Kim, Negar Ipakchiazimiand Mohammad Zaki Rezwan.

Visual Becoming is the school’s sixth annual contemporary arts graduate symposium. It will be held at the Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (149 West Hastings Street). The December 11 event starts 7 p.m.


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