Intervals is a series which screens and presents recent films, illuminating the diverse and experimental state of contemporary film as an artistic medium. In this instance, the focus rests on Ta acorda ba tu el Filipinas? (Do You Remember the Philippines?), in which artist Sally Gutiérrez (Madrid, 1965) explores the traces of Spain left in the Philippines today.
The film plots a map of Philippine identity and space, where the tracks of Spanish colonial conquest mix with the cultural cross-section of a minority opposed to present-day globalisation. The film-maker, therefore, draws on essay film to set out an investigation into the persistence of memory in cities, landscape and language; persistence which is manifested in hybrid and immaterial forms that refuse to fade away when faced with global uniformity.
In a similar manner, Ta acorda ba tu el Filipinas? alludes to the significance of creolisation, both socially and politically, and the premise that the colonised appropriate the culture of the coloniser and transform it. The title of the film is in Chavacano — a Spanish-based Creolle language with Philippine grammar — which is spoken throughout the film. Creolisation appears in urban planning, popular traditions and religious rituals, and similarly in the baroque – which permeates through the Philippines — as a space of resistance in an autochthonous and independent society and, moreover, as a subversive distorting mirror which stands opposite the predominant official culture. As the film demonstrates, in the Philippines this creolisation is the fold and refuge between past colonisation and contemporary globalisation.
The Palacio de Cristal, originally designed as a greenhouse for the General Exhibition on the Philippine Islands in 1887, and a Museo Reina Sofía gallery space, hosts both film screenings as a one-off. The aforementioned colonial show exhibited not only the flora and fauna but also Philippine citizens in the form of a human zoo, in accordance with the beginnings of exoticism, whereby the foreign Other was reduced to a savage in his most primitive state. The screening of Ta acorda ba tu el Filipinas? thus sets up a dialogue with the historical space, seeking to dismantle simplified mechanisms of identity through which exoticism still works today.
Sally Gutiérrez is a visual artist and film-maker. Her work sits at the crossroads between contemporary art and visual and film essay, with references that range from art history, film and gender studies to urban theory, social anthropology, political activism, poetry and literature. After studying at the New School and in the Whitney Independent Study Program, in New York, Gutiérrez’s work unswervingly explores the possibilities of documentary as an artistic and political form. Her previous features, for instance Tapologo, co-directed with her sister Gabriela Gutiérrez Dewar (2008) and Margen de error. ¿Cómo se escribe occidental? (with the collective Declinación Magnética, 2014), have been screened at different festivals, and in museums and art centres. Ta acorda ba tu el Filipinas? has been acquired as part of the Museo Reina Sofía Collection.
Ta acordaba ba tu el Filipinas?, 2017
Spain and the Philippines, DA, colour, original version with Spanish subtitles, 82’
Session 1. Wednesday, 24 October 2018 – 7pm
Session 2. Friday, 26 October 2018 – 7pm
*Both sessions will be presented by Sally Gutiérrez.