Motions of this Kind: Propositions & Problems of Belatedness

Motions of this Kind: Propositions & Problems of Belatedness

Brunei Gallery at SOAS, University of London

Yason Banal, Untitled Formation, Concrete Supernatural, Pixel Unbound, 2018. Video installation, dimensions variable. Exhibited at the Philippine Pavilion, 16th Venice Architecture Biennale.

March 28, 2019
Motions of this Kind: Propositions & Problems of Belatedness
11 contemporary artists working on or in the Philippines
April 12–June 22, 2019
Brunei Gallery at SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square
WC1H 0XG London
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10:30am–5pm,
Thursday 10:30am–8pm

T 020 7898 4046
Facebook / Twitter / #motionsofthiskind #motk19

Private view: April 11, 6–9pm 
Please RSVP, info [​at​]

Colloquium: April 12, 9:30am–6pm 
Including a keynote lecture by Michelle Dizon and lecture-performance by Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho 
Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Paul Webley Wing, SOAS, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX 

Performance programme: April 13, 3–7pm,
Workshops by Cian Dayrit, Lizza May David & Gabriel Rossell-Santillán. Performance by Eisa Jocson
The Koppel Project Central, 49-50 Poland Street, Lodon, W1F 7ND 

Yason Banal, Jon Cuyson, Lizza May David & Gabriel Rossell-Santillán, Cian Dayrit, Michelle Dizon, Eisa Jocson, Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho, Kat Medina, Mark Salvatus

In Sir Isaac Newton’s famous treatise of 1687, the Principia, there is an unexpected passage taken from the observations of voyager and astronomer Edmund Halley, in which “Leuconia”–today known as Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines—is discussed:

“There are two inlets to this port and the neighbouring channels […] one from the seas of China, between the continent and the island of Leuconia; the other from the Indian sea, between the continent and the island of Borneo.”

Laying the foundations for modern science in his unparalleled exposition of the three laws of motion, gravity, and planetary movement, Newton was left bewildered, however, by the tidal currents surrounding these distant equatorial seas. As he continued:

“…whether there be really two tides propagated through the said channels, one from the Indian sea in the space of 12 hours, and one from the sea of China in the space of 6 hours, which therefore happening at the 3rd and 9th lunar hours, motions of this kind add together; or whether there be any other condition imposed by other seas, I leave to be determined by observations on the neighbouring shores.”

Inspired by the curious indeterminacy of Newton’s analysis, and by the “motions of this kind” that exposed the limitations of his own expertise, Motions of this Kind explores not simply “the rise and fall of the tides,” but, as Filipino historian Ricardo Manapat suggested, the “historical ebb and flow of ideas”: Newton’s work will thus set us off on an exploration of the turbulent temporal currents flowing between Europe and Southeast Asia, the undertows that both hasten and delay the circulation of knowledge.

Commissioning new works and developing ongoing projects by 11 artists working on or in the Philippines, as well as displaying archive materials from the Ifor B. Powell collection at SOAS, Motions of this Kind charts the historical and contemporary forces linking this archipelagic chain with other key spheres of global power. Placing the theme of belatedness as our principal concern—as both a concept, reference, and argument—the project underscores the way time has been used both as a weapon of power and a tool of everyday resistance, a way of dominating the marginalised and creating alternative imaginations alike.

Yet whilst Motions of this Kind is the UK’s first institutional thematic exhibition of contemporary art from the Philippines, the show refuses to act as another (belated) survey of “art from elsewhere”—in which the culture of the “periphery” is extracted from its origin and surveilled in the “heart” of the global art centre. By rejecting the need to “fix” the Philippines as one determinate thing or place, the exhibition keeps Newton’s indeterminacy central to the methodology and concept of the project: Exploring the perplexing tides and unmapped channels equally apparent in the work of our artists, Motions of this Kind thus acts as a speculative mapping beyond the dominant historical narrative, a refiguring of knowledge beyond neighbouring shores.

Motions of this Kind is curated by Merv Espina, Renan Laru-an, and Rafael Schacter. The Foyle Special Collections Gallery is curated by Cristina Juan with support from Delphine Mercier.

Motions of this Kind has been initiated and generously sponsored by Mercedes Zobel, partner of Outset Contemporary Art Fund, with support from Philippine Studies, SOAS, and The Office of Senator Loren Legarda. The initiative has been made possible by the kind assistance of Approved by Pablo, The British Academy, The British Council, Delfina Foundation, The Department of Anthropology at University College London, Gasworks, and Philippine Airlines.

For programing details and more information please see The Brunei Gallery building is fully accessible. Free admission.

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Brunei Gallery at SOAS, University of London
March 28, 2019

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