Fire Notes 04 — 08.03.2020


Hello! It's been a while since our last update about the recovery. Today marks the 2nd month since the June 3 fire destroyed our Kamuning space, and our last night before the second edition of Duterte's Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila.

Apologies for the recent lack of posts about our recovery efforts since our last Fire Notes post on June 9, 2020. The Papaya team has been overwhelmed with the work in the aftermath of the fire, on top of our individual civic and personal engagements. The hurdles of mobility, lack of income, and this authoritarian regime's intimidation tactics, unyielding talent for sustained abuse of power ,and petty antagonism did not make things easier. But we need to labor on.

There's a lot of updates. But this post will focus on the help that the Lopez Museum and Library (LML) have extended us. Yes, this museum was started by the same family that started the recently shutdown ABS-CBN.

Timing, climate and recent events have not been so kind to a many of us.

Hearing of our plight the days following the fire, LML reached out to us and offered their support. LML have very generously donated space, time, technical expertise and services to help Papaya, despite their own ongoing problems.

Rendered homeless because of the fire, we lacked a dry, secure space to dry and process our materials, LML have volunteered the use of their restoration laboratory at their temporary archival facility. Papaya was able to transport our surviving materials there last June 13, 2020. Thanks to this space, we were able to lay out and do partial re-inventories of what survived.

Exposure to extreme heat and humidity by both the fire and the current rainy season have made our surviving materials even more delicate. They have also become perfect habitats for numerous forms of life, especially several varieties of mold. Life persists in spite of disaster, sometimes even because of it. Not many realize that archiving can be a dangerous task. Mold, ash, dust and other invisible threats in the archival materials and their enclosed space have caused some minor outbreaks of rashes, migraines, colds and other allergic reactions among the Papaya team directly processing the rescue efforts at LML, despite the use of PPE.

After making sure the materials have all dried, it was time to kill the mold though chemical fumigation. Dehumidification took a few weeks until early July. Fumigation can only proceed once all the materials have fully dried. Allowing the mold to grow and not treating the entirety of the collection would risk infection to other materials and continued health hazards to the team. It was a fight for time because the mold was spreading fast. Due to the enormity of the materials, LML had to jerryrig a new fumigation chamber by modifying one of their spare rooms. Nothing fancy, just a lot of trashbags and duct tape. Papaya's surviving materials took 3 batches in this chamber. As of this writing, the third and last batch is now in the last phase of processing.

There are more details that we would like to tell to disclose But that's for later posts. For now, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to LML for their first aid efforts and providing a temporary home for the surviving archives as Papaya continues to prepare a new dedicated processing space to continue our cataloguing, restoration, and digitization efforts.

We are humbled and very thankful to Mercedes Lopez-Vargas, Margarita Villanueva, Thea Sulangi, Czyka Tumaliuan, Gerald Solano, James Makasiar and the rest of the Lopez Museum's lab team for their support during these trying times.

Photos:
1. Mold growing everywhere. Wooden shelves in the Kamuning space now teeming with life. Photo taken during one of Papaya's salvage operations after the fire.
2. Transporting the Papaya archives from the garage in Papaya's Rallos extension space to LML lab, June 13, 2020.
3. Apid Jiloca flexing muscle to expedite the transportation process, June 13, 2020.
4. L-R: Thea Sulangi, Merv Espina, Marga Villanueva, Touki Roldan, Jel Suarez, laying the groundwork for the dehumidification process and re-inventory at the LML lab, June 13, 2020.
5. Marga stacking the shelves at the LML lab.
6. Kiko Nuñez documenting Papaya's archives at the LML lab, June 13, 2020.
7. Mold growing in one of Nona Garcia's lightboxes from Papaya's artwork collection, June 15, 2020.
8. Testing more of Nona's lightboxes, June 15, 2020.
9. LML lab's dedicated fumigation chamber was deemed too small, June 21, 2020.
10. Gerald Solano of LML lab in full PPE preparing to exhaust the new DIY fumigation chamber, July 16, 2020.

Credits:
Jel Suarez: 1, 2
Kiko Nuñez: 3, 4, 5
Thea Sulangi/LML: 6, 7, 8
Merv Espina: 9
James Makasiar/LML: 10
#greenpapayaarchives #firenotes#NoToABSCBNShutdown

If you can:⁣
https://greenpapaya.art/donation



Mold growing everywhere. Wooden shelves in the Kamuning space now teeming with life. Photo taken during one of Papaya's salvage operations after the fire.



Apid Jiloca flexing muscle to expedite the transportation process, June 13, 2020.

   

Kiko Nuñez documenting Papaya's archives at the LML lab, June 13, 2020.



Marga stacking the shelves at the LML lab.




Mold growing in one of Nona Garcia's lightboxes from Papaya's artwork collection, June 15, 2020.



Testing more of Nona's lightboxes, June 15, 2020.



LML lab's dedicated fumigation chamber was deemed too small, June 21, 2020.



L-R: Thea Sulangi, Merv Espina, Marga Villanueva, Touki Roldan, Jel Suarez, laying the groundwork for the dehumidification process and re-inventory at the LML lab, June 13, 2020.



Gerald Solano of LML lab in full PPE preparing to exhaust the new DIY fumigation chamber, July 16, 2020.


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