Translation by: Kirby Vicente
The following text is the english translation of Franchesca Casauay‘s Artist Interview which originally premiered on the kxchange.org website on December 9, 2020, 8:30 PM.
Franchesca Casauay is a cultural worker with an interdisciplinary research & arts practice, often oscillating between creative and curatorial roles. As an artist, she works mostly with new media, performance, and various hybrid formats; as independent creative producer, she leads and provides production and curatorial support for local & international initiatives. In different capacities, Franchesca has participated in numerous festivals and art projects in the Philippines and across Asia, Europe, UK, and Australia, most recently as artistic collaborator for Eisa Jocson’s The Filipino Superwoman Band premiered at the 14th Sharjah Biennial, UAE, and Tanz in Bern, Switzerland, and as guest curator for public programs at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN.
My name is Franchesca Casauay. Today is November 16, 2020 it’s currently 8:53 in the evening. I’m calling in from Quezon City, Metro Manila.
Question: Where are you from and where are you coming from?
Where I came from and when I’m from. I would say that I come from the periphery. First of all I find myself of doing cultural work as a series of happy accidents. It wasn’t a career path that was destined for myself back when I was young. So it’s not a surprise for me when I’m doing these current cultural work that I have. For starters, I did not attend art school, in Highschool or College. I wasn’t formally trained in visual arts or performance or any kind of art practice. I’m a sociology major from the University of the Philippines so I’m actually a social science, I have a social science background. But I did take up a lot of arts and humanities subjects on the side. I took up electives in graduate classes in creative writing, poetry, film production, cultural studies so I guess I could say with confidence that I have a solid grasp of how to read or interpret different art forms. I’ve been meaning to attend graduate school for quite some time, I’ve been putting it off because all of these art projects started coming in so I had to put my personal life on hold which I happily do. Also because I decided to focus on the practice for now. So before I delve into theories or whatnot, I need to put in the practice to solidify the foundation of where I’m coming from leading on to the future theories I’ll study on art making.
Also, my first foray to cultural work I would say is through music, live music. So I was an organizer and producer of live music gigs in 2007. I started like a production outfit with three college friends and that’s when I have my first brush with call times, technical riders, programming. That became my playground of sorts on the production side of doing performance. And also I did writing. I was a copywriter for advertising for a while and I was also a copy editor for publishing house so I had formal jobs in the creative industry prior to my full time work with the independent art scene.
I felt defined under the broad term of cultural worker more than artist, more than curator, more than producer. I kind of refer to use the term cultural because I want to ground what I do in the actual work that I do, also a reminder to myself that this is labor, never to remove the labor of what I do. The intellectual labor, the emotional labor, and most especially the physical labor which I guess is very different from the western notions of curator or artists that usually can outsource the work that they produce to other people, to technical craftsmen. But the practice that I do is usually D.I.Y. or do it with others. So I do it myself and I do it with others and the outsourcing rarely happens. Mostly because lack of resources but also sometimes or most of the time I prefer to get my hands dirty when I make work.
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