Gian Cruz (b. 1987, Manila, Philippines) is an emerging multidisciplinary Filipino artist ]whose artistic practice is heavily rooted in photography integrated with his institutional work and background in art theory and criticism. For the 2019-2020 cycle; he became the first Southeast Asian participant in completing the Independent Studies Programme at MACBA.
With the ongoing global climate particularly to those with colonial pasts, the perplexing and necessary rage existing within anti-colonial and anti-racist movements of the late have become a stronger anchor to pay attention into diversity or in this sense diversification in the arts. And for me what’s most important is to be able to speak from my own positionality and talk freely about my stories without the mediation of an entity of privilege usually from the familiar tropes of Euramerican art historical narrative fields. Mine comes from a particularly painful silence dating back from early 2019, I find myself in a self-imposed artistic exile moving from Manila to Barcelona to pursue the Independent Studies Programme (PEI) at MACBA - Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona. Being the first Southeast Asian or Asian participant in the programme, it altogether silenced my peculiar positionality and at the emergence of anti-Asian sentiment, the programme could have served as a platform to initiate dialogue with the Asian diaspora in Spain.
The Architecture of Affects using the site of Brussels as a portal or a satellite for rediscovering Southeast Asian elsewheres and also serving as a gesture of a safe space for those of Southeast Asian or Asian heritage at large. Moving along, the Architecture of Affects also in turns echoes the late Thai artist Montien Boonma’s ‘The Architecture of Senses’ (a term coined by Melissa Chiu). The motif behind the structure references the Isneg house. These houses have the appearance of an inverted boat and a design uniquely theirs as they are also known as boatbuilders. Their settlements are mostly along the river and “the Spaniards referred to them as los Apayaos (the river on which they live) and los Mandayas (derived from the Isneg term which means “upstream”). Furthermore, this also plays around a radical reimagining of the notion of architecture from a unique and often under-explored Philippine perspective rooted in the indigenous. These structures try to espouse distant geographies and fluidly bring them together.
I am part of international collective Femxphotographers.org. Our goal is to increase the visibility of female photographers, since women are still underrepresented in the art world. Femxhotographers.org is aiming to change this situation and calls upon women to reinforce their positions collectively. We published our first book in 2020 with Hatje Cantz, wich is already in its second edition.
We wish to share, instead of produce, to digitally trigger collective & individual imagination & use it as a matrixial space for common experiencing. We plan to activate digitally & work with singular bodily memory & feel deeply the contingency of cultural codes, in developing an Internet platform & a methodology for conceiving listening-imagining-exercises, coming from local needs and memories.