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ARTIST INTERVIEW: Ness Roque [English Translation]
Published December 8, 2020

Translation by: Kirby Vicente

The following text is the english translation of Ness Roque‘s Artist Interview which originally premiered on the website on December 8, 2020, 8:30 PM. 

Ness Roque (b. 1991, Angeles City, Philippines), is a theater and film actor, dramaturg, and educator. She was a member of the Manila-based contemporary performance company Sipat Lawin Ensemble (2009–2018). She was also a learning experience designer at Habi Education Lab, an education startup dedicated to making well-designed learning experiences in the Philippines (2017-2019). Roque is a MEXT scholarship recipient and is currently a graduate student at the Tokyo University of the Arts – Graduate School of Global Arts (Major in Research). She is currently exploring sound-based performative gestures as site-specific interventions in urban spaces. Recent performances include Alfian Sa’at’s The Optic Trilogy: A Play Reading (BIPAM 2019) and visual artist Ralph Lumbres’ video project Sa Pagitan 1: Mekong River (2020).

Hi I’m Ness Roque the date now is November 18, 2020. I’m currently at Yokohama, Japan. 

Question: Where are you from? Where are you coming from?

My background is Theatre. I studied at Philippine Highschool for the Arts, my major was Theater Arts and it served as my training as an actor. In college I took Philippine Literature. I also became a part of Sipat Lawin Ensemble where we’re doing devised pieces. At the same time I was a writer and a teacher and I was doing films. It was during my early 20s.

My earlier practices were centered in Manila. It was quite an exciting time. This was the time where Virgin Labfest and Cinemalaya we’re just starting so there was this wave of independent cinema, platform for new plays. It was when Cubao Expo was booming. As far as the Manila scene goes, there were so many opportunities for people to gather and do anything that they want. That’s where I came from.

For the later half of my 20s, it was when Sipat Lawin Ensemble was not just producing their own works but we started providing platforms for people. In Karnabal I was involved there as co-curator for Tok Tok Tok conference platform and the publication as well. I was always in the middle of those two things. I was writing, performing and managing. So that goes to where I came from. 

Right now I’m studying at Tokyo University of the Arts under the graduate school of Global Arts: Art Studies and curatorial practices. You would say that I have an interest in writing, articulating my practice but not just my own practice but also the practice of other people that’s not articulated much by outside perspective. Me, along with the people I work with, we’re experimenting with new things so make new frames. I’m also interested in framing other people’s practices for that matter.

Click here to read the full translation.