“Manila Zoo” by Eisa Jocson
This event is free and open to the public.
In Disney’s empire of manufacturing “happiness,” animals and objects are anthropomorphized, formatted with US-American values and ways of being. Wherein lions are kings; monkey, cricket and fish are sidekicks to humans; teapot is a matriarchal surrogate; and zoos are utopias—all brightly constructed to keep humans self-centeredly entertained and within the empire’s global reach.
In Hong Kong Disneyland, Filipinos are the favorite entertainment labor force. They are employed as highly skilled, energetic, world-class happiness-machines and fabricated as experts in performing anything effectively entertaining.
“Manila Zoo” is a new work as the third part of Jocson’s Happyland Series, tentatively titled Manila Zoo. In “Happyland 1: Princess,” two Filipino performers hijacked the figure of Snow White. Happyland 2: “Your Highness,” a group of ballet dancers unpacks their formatted ideal bodies made to enter the Disney workforce. This tertiary stage pushes Filipino performativity to transform from anthropomorphic happy animals in the Disneyland park into actual animals captured in the zoo, performing the labor of zoo animals.