Exhibition Notes

Kolown operates in the streets of Cebu City. The conglomerate's practice is in the streets of the urban, engaging with a familiar public. It is an exercise within a city that is still highly connected with local traditions. Urban interventions dialogue with the areas in which they are developed in order to question, re-function and contest prevailing norms and ideologies, and to create new meanings, experiences, understandings, relationships and situations (Pinder, 2008). In Low Pressured Areas, Kolown invites us to calibrate our minds to think of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) as a pseudo city, as they calibrate their creativity to accommodate the context of a new public. The distinct ways in which street art is articulated and given form stems from its purpose and how it is organized in relation to how it is viewed and received. There is a process of inhabiting, allowing the subject and the space to converse, giving way to attempts to disrupt ordinary life in a playful and provoking confrontation. Street art, in a relational manner, aims to involve citizens in an artistically oriented active citizenship. How so? How come? If we navigate the CCP while considering it as a city, will Kolown’s exhibition be a catalyst for us to exercise active citizenship? This exhibition is an exercise where Kolown challenges their practice by working in clashing contexts, the city being an open arena with minimal restrictions versus a cultural institution with a set of bureaucratic procedures. What is shown in Low Pressured Areas reflects a kind of idealistic collaboration, but is also reflective of the times. As a community and a nation, we are called to be active citizens and to respond to our immediate environments. Are you an armchair activist or imprisoned by corporate slavery? Are you a willing victim of the capitalist system or an elitist snob? You may feel tension directed towards you in viewing the works, but despite that, you are still a citizen endowed with the right to reclaim a public space like our city or our CCP. In engaging with the exhibition by being critical of what issues are raised and having productive discourse about them, we are well on our way to practicing active citizenship.

-Con Cabrera