Inside a curator’s mind…
A SPIRITED SOUL - Jeannie E. Javelosa (The Philippine Star) - August 10, 2014 - 12:00am

What is real? What is real to you may not be real to me. That which you observe with your senses, that which changes — all these involve an “other” for its state or condition to be defined.  My reality, versus your reality will always involve a sense of duality….I was writing these words one late night in an attempt to explain an exhibition on how people see different perspectives and define their own realities. And how each of these realities is shaping our world today.

I love to innovate. I get excited and all fired up when I think of all the possibilities that have not been done, and which could be done. While a lot of these ideas stay in my head as theoretical concepts, it gets really exciting when the concepts turn to reality. Putting on my museum curator’s hat now. I am tickled pink at the most recent pioneering innovation we are introducing at the Yuchengco Museum. It’s bringing augmented reality and technology into the field of art.

Is there really anything new and unique in our world today? Jaded though I may seem, I am constantly delighted and surprised with the newest realities that technology churns out, and further — with the vast potential of content that can be generated and shared. Technology as a wild disruptive force has brought our world into a vastly different plane. We are all the better for it. Technology is the great equalizer. It has democratized the news and information, space, opinion, allowing multi-leveled perceptions to be shared and discussed. Technology gives vent to people’s wildest expression of the mind, consciousness truly reflecting the spirit of our times.

Now, what happens when subjective art comes together with the constantly evolving technology? These distinct disciplines are interlinked more than ever, as technology provides artists with new tools for expression and thus becomes the fundamental force in the development and evolution of art. To bring technology into the art equation enables a partnership that fosters the highest creativity possible, hindered only by the artist’s imagination.

And that’s why I am excited. Because we are allowing art to become borderless, allowing artists and non-artists to collaborate. Art is given a new level of understanding, either as virtual augmented reality that shifts the artist’s statement to a shared understanding with the viewer. Both painting and augmented reality become relative realities, yet each remains distinctly with a singular viewpoint. All these new ways of seeing and thinking are altering our lives, our view of the world, and even ourselves.

I truly believe there is no limit to technology as there is no limit to art. Not only is original art seen in the art pieces, but entirely new art forms are evolving. Art, at its best, is the expression of the artist’s spirit. Technology allows the extension of this artwork to be shared by the audience, themselves redefining their own experience of the work. Reality, dimensions, meanings…are multiplied, like refracting a shared consciousness into a kaleidoscope of varied perceptions of the human experience.

The science of digital technology, the field of animation, the coherent language of content generation and the artist’s imagination — all these combined truly capture the spirit of our times.

How many times have we seen the history of art full of high points and forks that express the breaking away of the old mold to birth in the new. Each art movement broke the barriers of existing perception and how artists viewed the world — from the realists, to the impressionists, to cubism, expressionism, abstraction and so on. When objects entered site-specific installations, conservative theorists said this was not art. When the multimedia expression made itself known, the boundaries were once more pushed even as conservatives theorized its demise. With technology now, perhaps the real idea of mixed media can be explored, by both the artist and public, to the fullest potential.

In the innovation we attempt to do at the Yuchengco Museum with our digital partner Samsung, we have put up a digital art exhibition, and launched a permanent digital art gallery (first in the country) where we will attempt to defy, disrupt, break help build the ethos of the here and now.

As a curator, my work with my team is often to define and lead the visitors to see exhibitions a specific way. We now want to break the practice where the museum’s curatorial direction of an exhibition collection sets the pace for the appreciation and understanding of art. Would not art be best understood in the pureness of subjectivity — where artist presents and viewers formulate their own understanding and experience of the artwork? Where the artwork actually begins a conversation with the viewer’s own psyche and experiences? So as a museum curator heading a team, as middlemen, we will step back. We will allow this exhibit platform, which we have created with Samsung and our visual artists willing enough to dare — to just be…with the hope that we create a new human experience.

We offer a platform for the expression of the artist, the digital application developers and designers, giving them full creative freedom. We offer the widest possible elbowroom to have the audience interact in the process of appreciation and understanding. The rules of the game are changing. And we are reacting to our own institutional reality as everyone transitions to a socially-connected, digital society in this age of new realities.

But perhaps, what excites me the most is that today, technology can be used for cultural education by extending museum content. Technology will now serve cultural education. By just downloading the “Futuristic Art Creations Enabled by TVs and Smart devices” (FACETs) app, you can then scan any painting with any Android mobile phone or tablet. We can now share more information of our master artists works, their styles, the meaning of their works and their place in the development of Philippine art.




(Relative Realities exhibition at the

Yuchengco Museum

of RCBC Plaza will run until

the first week of September.

For more information,

call 889-1234. Samsung FACETS App is exclusively available

on all Android devices

in the Google Play Store.)

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