May 11, 2016 - Philippine Pavilion at the Venice International Architecture Biennale - Muhon: Traces of an Adolescent City
May 11, 2016

Philippine Pavilion at the Venice International Architecture Biennale

Left: Jorge Yulo, Mandarin Hotel, 2016. Center: C|S Design Consultancy, Inc., Pasig River, 2016. Right: Tad Ermitaño, Pandacan Bridge, 2016.

Muhon: Traces of an Adolescent City
May 28–November 27, 2016

Palazzo Mora
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Participating Architects and Contemporary Visual Artists: Poklong Anading, Eduardo Calma, Tad Ermitaño, LIMA Architecture, Mañosa & Company, Inc., 8x8 Design Studio Co., Mark Salvatus, C|S Design Consultancy, Inc., Jorge Yulo

Muhon: Traces of an Adolescent City is the exhibition of the historic first participation of the Philippines in the International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale.

The Filipino word "muhon," derived from the Spanish "mojón" and translated roughly as “monument” or “place-marker,” evokes contemplation through the primal act of marking a fixed point in both space and time. Symbolically, the construction of a "muhon" can be considered an act of affirming one’s existence: it conveys the idea of staking a claim in the universe. The exhibition is anchored in the notion that the built environment is a critical method of understanding one’s sense of and belonging to a place. It is a way of tracing a presence, standing a ground, abiding by a position.

The curatorial team composed of Sudarshan Khadka, Jr., Juan Paolo de la Cruz and Leandro Locsin, Jr. of  Leandro V. Locsin Partners (LVLP), has invited six architects and three contemporary visual artists to start a conversation about the rapid creation and destruction of Metro Manila’s built heritage, and whether such conditions preclude the formation of the city’s cultural identity. The country’s capital Metro Manila arose from the ruins of an older colonial city leveled by the Second World War. Growing in frenetic pace since then, it is conceived in its current context as an adolescent city, restless, and awkward and in many ways raging.

The nine participants selected and surveyed buildings, structures, landmarks, boroughs, and urban landscapes. Evaluating their cultural merit and analyzing their potential within the national heritage, they created three sets of abstracted models built for each of the subjects corresponding to their original state, their current condition, and projected future.

The intent was to abstract these "muhons" or markers in order to explore the presence or absence of significant value. The three rooms of the Philippine Pavilion have been framed as: (1) History, (2) Modernity and (3) Conjecture, and the three abstractions of each subject will be placed accordingly.

The participants are Eduardo Calma, Jorge Yulo, 8x8 Design Studio Co. (Mary Pearl Robles & Adrian Lorenzo Alfonso), C|S Design Consultancy, Inc. (Anna Maria Sy-Lawrence, Charm Chua Cabredo, Regina Sofia Gonzalez, Luther Maynard Sim, Mervin Afan, Lea Celestial, Katrin Ann P. de Leon, Philip Mendoza, Raquel G. Orjalo, Karen Tillada), LIMA Architecture (Don Lino & Andro Magat) and Mañosa & Company, Inc. (Bambi Mañosa). The contemporary visual artists are Poklong Anading, Tad Ermitaño and Mark Salvatus.

The subject buildings and urban elements featured in the Pavilion are KM 0 in Luneta (Anading), the Pandacan Bridge (Ermitaño), Chinatown (Salvatus), the Philippine International Convention Center (Calma), the Mandarin Hotel (Yulo), the Magsaysay Center (8x8 Design Studio Co.), the Pasig River (C|S Design Consultancy), the Makati Stock Exchange (Lima Architecture), and the Coconut Palace (Mañosa & Co.).

Muhon aims to elicit conjectures that reconcile the diametrically opposed vectors of progress and of permanence in relation to corresponding notions of modernity and an emerging identity. Simultaneously, it aims to make sense of the implications of the destruction of a fraught architectural inheritance and the relative lack of social consciousness about the issue.

LVLP’s exhibit is projected to be a venue for a collaborative act of contemplation regarding the built environment, imagined to be on the brink of either vital renewal or irreversible decay.

The Philippine participation in the 15th Venice International Architecture Exhibition is under the auspices of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda. The Commissioner for the Pavilion is NCCA Chairman Felipe M. de Leon, Jr.

The exhibit’s vernissage will be on May 27 and will open to the public from May 28 to November 27, 2016 at Palazzo Mora in Venice.

Philippine Pavilion at the Venice International Architecture Biennale
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