Our stories reframed

“Real conversation with someone means looking into their eyes. When we spend time talking, we see parts of ourselves through the other person; and no matter the differences, we see that we all have something in common,” said Jose Edsel Diego and Biel Sabas, creators of Perceive.

The artwork presents two faces — one dismantled and one in its complete form with eyes made of mirrors — signifying the person underneath the face, the person whom we share the same stories with.

It is one of the art installations that constellate “Reframed,” the latest edition of College of Saint Benilde (CSB) Multimedia Arts Festival (MMAF), held last November 28 – 30 at Green Sun, Makati City.

The annual event is part of the CSB-MMA curriculum and this year, the young artists were asked to bare themselves in their creations. The result is an unapologetically personal portfolio. Walking around the exhibit hall is like walking into a big confessional. Yet instead of shock, contempt, or pity, you feel empathy and a sense that a huge piece of yourself safely belongs here. Just as with “Perceive,” to experience an art installation in “Reframed” is to have a dialogue with one’s self.

“Our story is your story. And vice versa. This is the premise of ‘Reframed’ as a convergence of narratives on lives lived and re-imagined. Multimedia storytelling is at the forefront of these expressions,” noted Karen Ocampo Flores, who curated the exhibit along with Sharon Mapa-Arriola.

“The art that we showcase here is applied media. Functional art,” added exhibit director and adviser Lou Hansel Gonzales. “You can interact with the artworks and the artists are present to share their own perspective, so you’ll know the stories that shaped their art.”

Also telling their stories in a forum dubbed Conversations were creatives in different industries. Among those who generously gave their views on the creative life were comedian and filmmaker Ramon Bautista; wedding videography company Treehouse Story (which team comprises of CSB-MMA graduates); husband-and-wife Wincy Ong and CJ de Silva-Ong; and former Ogilvy & Mather Philippines CEO Peachy Pacquing.

The three-day arts fair culminated with a live performance by Up Dharma Down. Continuing the thread of multimedia narration, CSB-MMA students synced the band’s music with video installations mapped into a 360-degree projection. Needless to say, the project’s ambition was on a grand scale. One of the songs even featured clips from NASA. “It’s a first in the portfolio and I think it’s also a first for Up Dharma Down,” said Gonzales.

The short concert was a perfect celebration of multimedia practice, as the audience was in the midst of a shared experience crafted by various artists in their chosen modes of expression.

“Reframed,” through the mix of artistic and communicative media, from painting and sculpture to motion graphics and augmented reality, reinforces the idea that our stories are both specific and universal. Each of us, despite what our facade narrates, has hidden tales of fear, imprisonment, madness, and ultimately begs to be heard.

—Originally published on GIST

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