In response to the global pandemic, Kwago bookstore organizes “Bad connection or subtitles to silence”—a series of 20-minute gatherings at Zoom featuring various artists and poets confronting and exploring how digital technology is affecting the ways we express, connect and live during this period of crisis and great change.
An attempt to create a critical and playful space to (mis)understand our relationships with our avatarized selves and digital environments, “Bad connection or subtitles to silence” don’t announce who’s performing each gathering to give room for surprise, serendipity and spontaneity in this algorithm-controlled world.
“How our bodies relate and respond to the arbitrariness and malleability of time and space complicated by digital computing are our deep anxieties for a while now, even before the pandemic, as evidenced by our 24-hour exhibition in February. Time and space contextualizes what we do and they keep on warping into a different form every time a new app is launched or updated. Today, location doesn’t just denote a physical space. The screen has expanded our reach, our geography, our context. Are we all global citizens now even without the passport? How are we creating borders online? What does it mean to be ‘local’ for digital natives?” Kwago founder Czyka Tumaliuan said.
“What is the impact of these new virtual structures on our lives? How is politics and oppression mirrored in the online world? What is the effect of online migration and social distancing on publishing, literature and print? How are we handling the inevitable transition or the “new normal”? How can we radically re-imagine the future, together, without losing art and poetry, without losing our humanity?” Tumaliuan added.
Co-curated by Kwago co-owners Czyka Tumaliuan and Roy Voragen, “Bad connection or subtitles to silence” has grown into a community and is now run with a team of young female artists, writers and designers: Dyem Carreon, Kanishma Etong, Rai Hamid and Niña Sherizze De Sagun.
“Ẅhat will happen when silence becomes shared? Can silence become an awkward presence in-between us? Can it become a question, a question without an answer, a genuine gift? Can we stutter silence? What can be beyond silence? Can we reach new ties of togetherness? ” Voragen asked.
On May 18, 2020, “Bad Connection” opened the series with artist Datu Arellano’s dreamy Tahigami, a method of drawing and composing music the artist invented himself. The project is an amalgam of the FIlipino word ‘tahi’ (sew) and the japanese ‘gami’ (paper) which literally means sewing on paper. After 8 years, it has evolved into something that Arellano describes as the “action, evolution, and the blossoming of the self through art and science.”
A month after, the series featured Singapore-based artist ila reading from her book “Touch Myself.” Reminiscent of Yoko Ono’s ”Grapefruit” in the 60s, “Touch Myself” offers unexpected solace during this moment of uncertainty and isolation.
“We’re sharing these new questions and inviting local and foreign artists and poets whose practices collide and mesh with disciplines outside art to confront them. We are really curious how they will explore Zoom as a stage for articulating their personal questions and deepest anxieties during this period of isolation and critical change,” Tumaliuan said.
In the next online gathering on July 17, 8:30pm, the guest artist is requesting everyone to bring a mirror and hold it up to their cameras.
Event is free. Join Bad Connection/2 this July 17, 2020 by signing up here: