Inhabit is a word of action that concerns the occupation of a space to claim it as a place. Something places itself in a space to form a location, a site, a position. Something embeds a habit, a routine, a pattern to break away from movement, transition and things in the state of the provisional. To in-habit is to settle, and to settle is to humanize a landscape.
When our ancestors veered away from the nomadic way of life to start cultivating lands and practice agriculture, multiple and different tribes of the earth claimed their own spaces and declared them as the places of their identity, the places of their origin. They gave birth to culture, language, ritual, customs, traditions and socio-political structure because of this path to settlement. Later on this settling paved way for property, security, hierarchy, trade and warfare which in return destroyed the very place of identity that they themselves built; only to incessantly reconstruct what has been destructed in a different form and under a newer order.
All these historical tendencies of cyclic spatial regeneration are made manifest in the works of 9 artists in collaboration for a reclamation. This retrieval, recuperation and renovation remakes space not as an abstract arena but a place of production and reproduction that is dynamic and relational. These artists enter this persistent space of recreation to restore and refresh our active sites of knowing.
Aznar and Dayrit for example, enters our common area of meaningfulness by making visible old objects and events that engage this very space we now hold to the wider historical space it is part of. In the same trajectory of reinvention and reconnection as junctures of political engagement between the viewer, the artist and the society, the works of De Loyola and the Abrigos are metaphors of specific social issues that tackle spatial occupation as an assertion of political power and will. This same metaphor is pushed forth in the mythologizing of Olcos’ works, and the funnier engagements of Cruz that crackles an inner laughter as it criticizes social ills. However, the personalization and celebration of privacy figure in the works of Cheese and Lubay as both recreate their own creative spaces to publicize the process by which a work is done, languaging the space in the narrative of the meta.
From the social sphere to the private self, Inhabit is a cooperative rebirth of space and place that creates a dialogue between mutability and fixity. As these works occupy the gallery space, an allowance for the place to take its own shape is also commenced. The very encapsulation of form initiates the sheer liberation of meaning.
Quezon City, 2017