One Hundred Nights of Anarchy— 03.04.2021
On August 23, 2008, after months of renovation, Papaya unveiled its Kamuning space with an exhibition titled “0%” which featured works from Tin Garcia, Lara de los Reyes, Kurt Gloria, Pol Mondok, Robert Langenegger, Jed Escueta, Kreskin Sugay, Jayson Oliveria, Pow Martinez, Sam Kiyoumarsi, Poklong Anading, Kim Landicho, and Joe Christ and performances from Radioactive Sago Project, Trojan Whores, Ria Muñoz, Khavn de la Cruz, LOC, and The Lovegangsters among others. To coincide with this “big opening night,” Papaya also launched — with the help of the Prince Claus Fund and Davide Quadrio of Arthub (Shanghai) — the first and only issue of PAPAYA Magazine, which was distributed for free. The text below is the introduction written by Papaya founders Donna Miranda and Norberto Roldan.
Green Papaya’s immediate community is composed mainly of artists working outside the mainstream arts and culture agenda established by a post-Marcos socio-political-cultural condition. More than 20 years after the People Power (EDSA) revolution of 1986, the arts and culture development in the Philippines continues to struggle against a backdrop of serious unemployment problems, escalating prices of basic commodities, a propped-up economy, and corruption in every corner of the bureaucracy. It appears that government cultural institutions have receded to become mere vehicles of power by techno-bureaucrats who either have no tangible arts and culture policy or are entirely clueless. Hovering under this bleak condition, Filipino artists have always sought to explore parallel independent centers and initiatives that are responsive to their practice, seeking to present themselves and their work according to their own terms. The emergence of artist-run spaces along with more than ten years of Internet, Google search, and Hotmail have become important factors in keeping the alternative art economy dynamic and relevant. Thus, the political ferment of the times is proving to be conducive for such platforms to reconfigure themselves as an important infrastructure for contemporary art practice in Manila. Thriving alternative spaces have sustained thus far, a creative and critical environment for experimentation, research, and representation despite of, or perhaps even so because of the dismal state of government-controlled art infrastructure in the country. More importantly, these alternative spaces are setting a precedent that artists can mobilize and organize themselves and take an active role in cultural production.
This magazine wishes to serve the interest of this particular community.
I met Davide Quadrio, director of BizArt (Shanghai) during an Intra Asia Network conference in Gwangju (Korea) in 2006. Perhaps impressed by Green Papaya Art Projects’ doggedness in laying down a multidisciplinary, creative, and critical environment for art and cultural production in the underground belly of established art institutions in Manila, Davide facilitated a grant from Prince Claus Fund through Arthub for a modest publication to provide a venue for dialogue and document events, actions, programs, happenings, and the unfolding history of local independent art practice, otherwise persistently shunned by local academics, art writers, and the mainstream media. Meeting Davide again during a project brainstorming in Yogyakarta (Indonesia) this year locked in a commitment to finally go to press with the magazine.
Although we might have submitted ourselves again to the eternal demands of multi-tasking, doing both editorial and design work for lack of funds to pay professionals, we still would have not done it by ourselves without the collaboration with and generous support of the following: Ireland-based artist and photographer Conrado Velasco (for being the devil’s advocate); Lourd de Veyra (for copy editing and his Wasak manifesto); Andrea Teran (for the literary contributions); Lena Cobangbang (for mapping the independent art scene); Ringo Bunoan (for the reprint of Archiving Artists-run Spaces Report, and Room 37: Inkling, Gutfeel and Hunch); Hou Hanru and Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Pamela Miki of ARTiT Magazine (for the reprint of “Curators on the Move 7: The Future of Art”); and to all artists, writers, and photographers whose works appear in this issue.
Thank you, Davide. Thank you all!
Donna Miranda / Norberto Roldan