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Saturday, October 24, 2009

HANGOVER SQUARE


Hangover Square
Lena Cobangbang and Maria Taniguchi
7 October - 2 November 2009
Mag:net. The Columns. Ayala Avenue. Makati

After a problem is recognized and information gathered, thoughts scramble and swirl into chaos until they find their own natural alignment, finally signaling the conscious mind—Eureka! At least, that’s how it was supposed to be prior to the 19th century. But in the advent of Modernism, the process of creating went haywire, when thinking about thinking about thinking seemed to have short-circuited the mind, running on to never-ending nightmares of dead-ends, vicious cycles, complex labyrinths, infinite layers, endless loops and impossible entanglements.

Hangover Square, a two-woman show by Lena Cobangbang and Maria Taniguchi,opening at the Mag:net on October 7, looks back to the point where the world went wild with ideas; when the past was completely (or theoretically) abandoned and destroyed for a chance to rebuild a shining new society, a brave new world albeit the risk of reversing human civilization and replacing it with anarchy or dystopia. In rethinking modernism, Cobangbang and Taniguchi supposes that it is about “waking from a dream to step into another dream, like waking from a hangover whose cure is to drink again and be in another vicious cycle of waking up to another hangover which would eventually lead to binge drinking.” Or in modernism’s case, “binge idealism.”

Well, we all know what happened along the way. All these idealisms led to humans having the capacity and technology to destroy the entire planet in one blow. Entropy increased exponentially with development and advancement. Modernism’s unfulfilled aspirations led to cynicism, mockery, relativism and senselessness as the only sincere alternative, and ultimately boredom and ennui, and always, corruption.

At the end of the 20th century, this thing called the internet, which the people of the past never had, exploded, and the rules of the game changed once again. Before this, thinking of the possibilities and solutions were somehow limited to one’s field of knowledge and specialization; the bigger picture was simply impossible to construct. But now that there is a "free-access" database of all the ideas of the world—possibly linking together every idea that ever was and is and will be—there is again hope to make sense of this increasing complexity and entropy. More and more fields in the arts and sciences are becoming interconnected. New significant discoveries are being made every day that it's hard not to be excited and idealistic.

Then again one can’t be too giddy and overly optimistic or one might risk looking like a naive fool. It’s hard to be sustainably impressed these days considering that we are bombarded with shock after shock after shock, so much so that the aftershocks no longer astound or terrify. Soon enough after its conception, any idea becomes a banal part of everyday stimuli and landscape. We could all turn into magicians and sorcerers and gods and goddesses tomorrow, and within a month’s time, probably get bored of the fact, and carry on complaining about some mundane thing. From the perspective of a 19th century person, we may as well seem like super humans with our knowledge and ability, manipulating tools, gadgets, and technologies to solve multifarious problems as instantly as the wave of a magic wand. And yet, for us people of today, having this power, this access to every human thought and idea at the click of a button is nothing to be so continually thrilled about. We are always anxious to update and improve in fear that we will be left behind.

Cobangbang's and Taniguchi's show is like swinging in this bipolarity of drunken romantic idealism and cool intellectual nonchalance. Any talk of gender at this point may be retrogressive, but it can’t be helped to point out that this bipolarity is certainly not unfamiliar to any female psyche. Finding comfort in contradictions, balancing multiple states of mind, and rethinking insanity may be the only way the 21st century can be survived. If there was such a thing as a bipolar utopia, Cobangbang's warm, color and whimsy and Taniguchi's iconic minimalist monochromes may be a close ideal. Imagine waking up in the morning and being alert, meditative, calm, deep, collected, rational, and reasonable, and come sun down, be as rude and as crude and as romantic and as mad and as spiritual and as mystical and as senseless and as empty as one pleases.

To balance these polarities – could be the elegant alchemical equation.

Hangover Square will be on view until the 2nd of November, 2009.
Mag:net at The Columns
Ayala Avenue corner Gil Puyat Avenue.Makati City
1200 Philippines
(63) 909.5328

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