Martha Atienza

Our Islands 11°16’58.4”N 123°45’07.0”E, 2017

Video/Film
Basel 2017

single channel HD video, (00:01:12:00 min, loop), no sound Silverlens presents Our Islands 11°16’58.4”N 123°45’07.0”E by Martha Atienza. It mines the artist’s relationship with island life, water, and social rot. The proposed exhibition is made up of a six- screen life-sized projection of an underwater procession moving from one wall to the next. A procession of men in bastardized costumes from the religious to the iconic, from Roman centurion skirts to Manny Pacquiao’s boxing gloves. They are fully submerged, in a trance, pushing themselves slowly against the water and its uncontrollable current. At the head is a man dressed as the Santo Niño, and carrying a doppelgänger statue. The Santo Niño is the child Jesus and Patron of the islands. The man raises the miraculous statue repeatedly, slowly, leading the march. This is an underwater Ati-atihan, an ancient animistic festival and procession, Christianized by colonial influence. Ati-atihan means ‘like Aetas,’ an indigenous group predating the Austronesian migration some 30,000 years ago. Through costumes, music, and dance, visions of reality and aspirations parade through towns. Every year, Atienza films the Ati-atihan and adds footage to combine the colorful fiesta as entertainment in contrast to images of more pressing social issues. Natural and political violence has become part of the procession. The Ati-atihan has been transformed into an annual record of victories and disasters, dreams and protests. Preview link: http://vimeo.com/218063382 Password: martha atienza