Dugô

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Dugô
performance site
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Marilyn Arsem

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Dugô
performance site
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Marilyn Arsem

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Marilyn Arsem

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
durational performance
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Pepito A. Blasco

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Dugô
performance site
Rajah Sulayman Park
Manila, Philippines
photo by Marilyn Arsem

From the site of the Spanish landing in the Philippines, to the foot of the statue of the last King, I poured a path of red seeds.

event:
UGNAYAN '05: 4th Philippine International Performance Art Festival
venue:
Rajah Sulayman Park
location:
Manila, Philippines
sponsor:
UGNAYAN '05: the 4th Philippine Internatonal Performance Art Festival
date:
September 2005

Project Notes:

I arrived in Manila early in the morning, after more than 24 hours of traveling. Our hotel overlooked the bay. After breakfast, the Director of the Festival, Mor’O O’Campo, took me to see the nearby park. He told me that he thought I would like to make my performance here, since I was interested in layers of history. This was the location where the Spanish had first landed in the Philippines. In the park was a large statue of a man holding a sword aloft, facing the sea. It was Rajah Sulayman, the last indigenous king of the Philippines, who had resisted the Spanish invasion. My inquiry about his name confirmed that he was Muslim, which I learned was already a religion of the islands in the 16th century.

The final evening of the festival was scheduled to take place in this park, and a stage was already being built. The side road would also be closed to traffic in order to set up several hundred chairs. Mor’O told me that they had invited city and government officials for that last night. I agreed to perform in that location, but asked if it were possible to make a work that could be performed off the stage.

The image that came to me was one of moving from the wall along the bay to the foot of the statue. To travel that path, I would have to cross a walkway through eight lanes of traffic. I hoped that some of the audience might walk with me as well.

I was accompanied to the market, where we purchased 50 kilo bags of annatto seeds and red beans, as well as 20 kilo of fresh hot red peppers. I selected the materials not only for their color, but because they were originally imported by the Spanish from the Americas.

I awoke on the morning of my performance to a strong wind and erratic rain, the tail end of a typhoon. I was ecstatic. It seemed to me to be a sign. I had been anxious about what I had chosen to do for my performance, and how the image might be interpreted. The weather gave it an edge of being out of control.

My hair was down, whipping around my face, as I filled my skirt with the red annatto seeds, red beans and red peppers. I stood at the edge of the bay until the waves crashed over me three times. Then I began to pour a river of red from the wall, across the lanes of traffic, past the sea of chairs, past the fountain, up the stairs to the foot of the statue of Rajah Sulayman, where I ended the path. I lay down with my head just under the point of his drawn sword, the red trail ending at my neck. For more than an hour, I lay there staring at that sword, contemplating the political and military invasions that have occurred in the past and continue in the world today.