How do we gather in these times, where there are restrictions in mobility and threat of a global pandemic? This has been the recurring question for months among us artists. It wasn’t easy for everyone to go through these challenging times, especially back then when our opportunities are tied to the spaces we thrive in. The contemporary performance art scene in the Philippines has taken the brunt of the pandemic as live gigs and performances got cancelled, theatres have been closed, and public gatherings were prohibited. This communal limbo we’re experiencing is as real as it can get coupled with that looming anxiety. It backed us into a corner, asking us about what’s next, anticipating the immediate answers we can get. This is where kXchange.org takes the center stage.
kXchange.org serves as an act of resistance towards the harsh dynamics presented by the current times. When we are prohibited to gather, we are opening the portals for everyone to gather, albeit online, as we power through virtual glitches and mishaps. We look back into the past exchanges within the community and reflect on how it can inform us of our approaches towards creating in the future. But most of all, it is the hotspot for us artists to collectively imagine our dreams. In the heart of the contemporary arts community, we embody the idea of togetherness as resistance towards the existing conditions we are facing while championing the noble aim of art-making to continuously engage artists and communities towards social transformation.
The first in one of the many series of the Lives Archives Program of kXchange.org is the UTSUROI Lives Archives, where we reflect and celebrate the dynamic synergy in between Philippine and Japan artists collaborations. In the future, the Live Archives program aims to expand more on local explorations and collaborations as additions to its entire repository of artists and performances open to the public. This event under the kXchange program will be a massive virtual gathering where everyone can come and go, and engage, not just with our featured artists but with each other as well.
According to the article from pedarch.com about Utsuroi, it is defined as a Japanese spatial concept mostly evident in Japanese architecture and gardens that creates the blur in the boundaries between the self and the space. It also captures the gradual and inevitability of change from one state to another; also referring to one’s projection or reflection from one state to another. Basically embracing the idea that everything is ephemeral. Although it’s mostly appreciated in Japanese design and architecture, Utsuroi is often used to define landscapes and depict the transition of seasons. A moment of a passing event and such
Our current conditions led us to bear witness to crowded rooms transforming into pixelized boxes, glitches interrupting lively exchanges, time zones blurring, and our social circles growing. Perhaps we are presented with the immediate solution of going online, but everything’s easier said than done. In kXchange.org, the contemporary performance community reflects on how our deeply rooted questions and curiosities in the past brought us opportunities to engage among ourselves and to our immediate communities, especially on how we established these creative ecologies. It’s within these intersections where we get to enjoy the art of togetherness, of living, breathing the same air as everyone else, although they have shifted online, we bring with us the vigor and hope of establishing these spaces in the future post-pandemic scenario.
As we create conditions for assembly and gathering in virtual spaces, we reflect on the past, confront the realities of the present and envision necessary change for the future. Join us as we come together, participate and take hold of the future in “this gradual and inevitable change from one state to another”.