Allison Collins – GUWARDYA, OR “ALL OF THE THINGS I KNOW OF WHICH I AM NOT, AT THE MOMENT, THINKING”

Santiago Bose, Jaguar (1996)

Santiago Bose, Jaguar (1996). Single-channel edited documentation of performance and six-channel video, 1:15:59.

Allison Collins

GUWARDYA, OR “ALL OF THE THINGS I KNOW OF WHICH I AM NOT, AT THE MOMENT, THINKING”

THE 1996 PERFORMANCE and video project Jaguar (1996) was created by Filipino artist Santiago Bose (1949-2002) while he was in residence at Vancouver’s Western Front. Jaguar is a multi-layered video assemblage of diverse references including the overseas Filipino diaspora and the transmission of Filipino cultural influences, dreamlike meanderings through pop culture, observations and memories of landscape and people, Bose’s affection for North American First Nations as well as extensions of his commitment to traditional Filipino beliefs and experiences. With visual strata that unfolds across six stacked monitors, Jaguar is a maximalist immersion in cultural contemplation. Overseen by Bose who was dressed as a security guard, the work overflows with footage that offers a unique view of Filipino cultural imagery mixed with a visiting artist’s experience of the Vancouver art scene. Looking to the Jaguar performance and Bose’s visit to Western Front, I consider the contribution of this work within the context of an ongoing discussion about what constitutes a significant entry into Canadian media art history. My analysis is rooted in my work as a facilitator of similar residencies, which at their best, can serve as a platform for meaningful knowledge sharing and cultural exchange. Bose’s project is a case study of how artist run cultural networks enable global dialogues.1

Bose’s performance of Jaguar took place in Western Front’s Grand Luxe Hall which, since 1973, has been a site of many live performances. Jaguar opened with the Neil Young song “Mansion on the Hill” that was taped off CFMI Rock 101, Vancouver’s classic rock station.. The set included a simple desk for a security guard, and a pyramid of six television monitors, that played the hour-long Jaguar video. Bose posed as a security guard, a role that might be typical for an overseas Filipino worker. This gesture evokes the economic realities of the Canadian service industry and complicates a scene that might otherwise be misinterpreted as cultural transmission. As Young’s song warbled on, a passive Bose becomes bystander and labourer, tied to the surveillance-style shots and circumstances of monitoring the scene. To frame the event, Bose spoke only briefly to the audience, poured an unknown substance into his coffee cup, and settled in for the ritual of security service.

Seven U-matic tapes document the live performance. One tape features Bose and an overview of the scene while the other six display each monitor’s feed. The documentation isn’t a straightforward representation of the live event because the feed doesn’t show the event from start to finish. Instead, the live event cuts in and out of the monitor views. This begins with stacks of screenshots that depict a radio, shots out the window of a moving car in Bose’s hometown of Baguio, a quick succession of clips from monster films, carved statues called bulul that are a tradition of the Ifugao people, scenic views of the Cordillera mountains,

Santiago Bose, Jaguar (1996)

Santiago Bose, Jaguar (1996). Six-channel video installation and performance at Western Front, Grand Luxe Theatre. Top left to bottom right: Channel 1, Channel 2, Channel 3, Channel 4, Channel 5, Channel 6, stills. 3⁄4 inch U-matic, transferred to digital video

and vegetable markets and other civic sites and events. In this editorialized interpretation of the performance, Bose directs an impression of how the hour-long reality of boring surveillance and security work could be more accurately visualized as the guard’s inner reality. The unfolding world on the stacked monitors might represent the guard’s mental imagery. With a soundtrack that cantors back and forth between North American classic rock (i.e. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers ‘Refugee’ or Bob Seger), and chunks of Original Pinoy Music and Filipino folk groups (such the Cordilleran band, Pinikpikan), similar signals are given sonically, to help the audience shift between realities: never forgetting that something is being guarded by Bose, but directed to understand that what is more important might be what is being guarded inside him. The accompanying soundtrack switches between North American classic rock (Bob Seger songs and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Refugee) and Original Pinoy Music and Fillipino folk groups (the Cordilleran band, Pinikpikan). These sonic signals remind the audience that reality and place are constantly shifting. The reality-defying visuals and frenetically switching sounds prompt the audience to consider which is more important: what Bose guards or what is guarded inside him?

The seven Jaguar tapes are archived at Western Front, where I work as the Curator of Media Art. They have remained there, relatively untouched for two full decades, until a chance encounter led me to visit to Baguio, Philippines in 2016.2 As a guest of the Filipino art community’s incredible generosity, I visited Bose’s former studio, which is now used and cared for by the artist Kawayan de Guia. During that trip, I got a first glance at how Bose’s life and work in his community produced lasting ripples. The occasion of my new

Santiago Bose, Jaguar (1996)

Santiago Bose, Jaguar (1996). Six-channel video installation and performance at Western Front, Grand Luxe Theatre. Top left to bottom right: Channel 1, Channel 2, Channel 3, Channel 4, Channel 5, Channel 6, stills. 3⁄4 inch U-matic, transferred to digital video

acquaintance renewed connections between our communities, and through Bose I have sought a better understanding of those connections. It was also an opportunity to recognize what our independent media archive can contribute to an understanding of Bose’s life and his influence as an artist.3

A well travelled and influential artist that helped build strong roots in his hometown, Bose’s practice was deeply ingrained in both contemporary and traditional Filipino art. He explored history, politics, repression, religion, and representation through personal connections and dialogues with like-minded artists around the world. His reach into the international art scene involved traveling and hosting and echoed the Fluxus affinities and the lived-presence of art at Western Front. It was truly a full immersion. Since its founding in 1973, Western Front has been known as a place where artistic practice blends with life. The centre was established by eight artists whose goal was “To promote and encourage the role of the artist in determining the cultural ecology.”4 This goal framed decades of interactions with visiting artists, writers, and musicians who stayed in the iconic building—a space that regularly pervaded the artistic work produced there.5 Bose’s residence in 1996 is testament to the full- throttle pace and ethos of experimentation that took place during this era. While at Western Front, Bose staged, directed, edited and presented Jaguar, an hour-long six channel work, and also made several new paintings, all within the space of one month!

The staff at Western Front facilitated Bose’s production. Technician Bobbi Kozinuk arranged location shots in the Great Hall of the Museum of Anthropology (MOA), inside the Attila Richard Lukacs exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and in a crowded taxidermy shop. Peter Courtemanche, taught Bose how to use the Ross Video editing equipment. Public shoots were combined with various interior and exterior, domestic and public, scenes from inside Western Front, such as Eric Metcalfe’s bedroom, a dining event in the Luxe Hall, and Jane Ellison’s BOING class in the EDAM Dance studio. Editorial selections contrasted Western Front’s domestic and professional life—Hank on the grill, Kate working in the office, Eric preparing for bed—against codified museum spaces. These contrasting images were drawn together into a breathing structure, that pulsed with representations from Bose’s home, and mingled with views of Vancouver’s ecosystem of art and life. The resulting onslaught of changing scenes is quasi-psychedelic. The increasingly dreamlike state, a kind of waking REM of morphing geographies, memories and fantasies, effects an abstract narrative of longing for elsewhere.

Bose is internationally recognized as an exceptionally vibrant member of the Filipino art scene, and his impact on art in the Philippines during his lifetime and beyond is enormous. An Ilocano from the mountainous region of Northern Luzon, he was raised in Baguio.6 He became an important figure across the Asia Pacific region, widely remembered for a larger- than-life personality, equal parts magician-trickster and visionary. Internationally educated, Bose formed transnational connections including lasting bonds with celebrated artists like Cuco Fusco and Jimmy Durham that he forged during his time in New York City.7 He was not shy about crossing disciplinary or geographic boundaries, and yet his work remained fixed in Filipino culture. He looked to his local indigenous communities for inspiration about how to combat the colonizing cultural influences of America and Spain that had long since become naturalized in the Philippines. Through his collage, painting, and sculptural works he regularly used references and symbols from traditional animist belief that are native to the Philippines. Such references were particularly critical in the pervasive influence of the Catholic church. His mixtures criticized colonial influence and suggested the reclamation of local ideology instead. He regularly advocated for renewing respect and admiration for non-Western ways of life. In a text on his work, he states:

Today, Filipino artists are forging a modern mythology. Artists are creating visual statements of Philippine national life with blends of Spanish, American and indigenous artistic influences. ‘Western modernism’ has liberated artists to go back to their roots and incorporate them in a contemporary vocabulary. The use of mixed media, fiber, grass, paper, bamboo and organic materials, and the use of installation, which is also rooted in traditional communities, make this art form easily acceptable to a broad range of audiences.

This debunks cultural imperialism. The training of artists in Western modes propagates the use of materials and tools that are expensive and rare. But the contemporary Filipino artist is liberated from paying the West every time he creates. The idea of art as “property” or commodity is challenged, its prominence questioned. The idea of artist as individual creator is also challenged, and a sense of community opens up new possibilities. The artist is taught to be self reliant, and using available materials and local concepts, he expands his visual vocabulary. This makes his art relevant to a broad spectrum of society, making it clear whose interest it serves. Some artists use violence through protest art.8

Santiago Bose, Native Song (1999). Oil on canvas with mixed media and colour process prints on paper.

Santiago Bose, Native Song (1999). Oil on canvas with mixed media and colour process prints on paper. Collection of the Asian Art Museum, Gift of Malou Babilonia, 2007.80.

Santiago Bose, Jaguar (1996)

Santiago Bose, Jaguar (1996). Six-channel video installation and performance at Western Front, Grand Luxe Theatre. Top left to bottom right: Channel 1, Channel 2, Channel 3, Channel 4, Channel 5, Channel 6, stills. 3⁄4 inch U-matic, transferred to digital video

Utilizing indigenous Filipino symbology became a shared artistic strategy in Baguio. Artists considered it as a re-evaluation of Filipino cultural heritage because it challenged the cultural norms of former Spanish and American colonizers who devalued traditional beliefs in favour of modernity.9 Jaguar, Bose’s first serious attempt at video editing, has echoes of this strategy, particularly in how he regularly returns to First Nations’ cultural references at MOA, and how those shots contrast others that linger over colloquial caricatures of ‘Indian’ statues.

The project’s complex video associations parallel Bose’s working style in other media, which ranged widely across painting, assemblage, installation, performance, video, curating, community and cultural organizing, and eventually even Internet art. Bose used a Ross Video Switcher, (a state-of-the-art analogue editor at that time) to edit Jaguar. He was able to blend source footage like a virtual time-based collage of interwoven observations, atmospheres and references to specific scenes and sounds. Like his more material works, the effect was a loaded, sensual experience that used found materials, textual references, photographs, image transfers, and cultural mixtures to foreground social and political contrasts. The resulting irreverent combinations point to a peripatetic identity, both mournful and celebratory, a kind of psychological travelogue, covering moments of the everyday, and speaking directly of a homeland to fellows in the Filipino diaspora.

PAY ATTENTION AS WE SWITCH CHANNELS

Bose’s security guard has one other very important association: his radio. On the surface it is merely a tool to help him while away the hours but it is far more meaningful. The radio has particular relevance within the Filipino context and it contains many historical layers within its simple broadcast association. In the Philippines, radio was widely used as a means of spreading American cultural norms during imperial occupation leading up to and following WWII. The political dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos (1965–1986) censored the radio, but independent broadcasting rallied and resisted his regime.10 The technology played a vital role in the political arena as a marker of freedoms long suppressed by Marcos,11 including regular broadcasts made in the crucial period leading up to the People Power Revolution of 1986, which saw the peaceful overthrow of a dictatorship in favour of democratic elections.12 The radio is a small presence in the work, yet one that leaves the door open to a large host of memories and associations.

The radio is also tied to Bose’s friendship with Hank Bull, which began in the early 1990s at LITTORAL, an international gathering for artist-run operatives in Salford, England.13 Bonded over common interests, the two reunited in Baguio and Sagada when Bull visited to collaborate on a live radio broadcast project, using provisional FM transmitters to make free broadcasts in the Sagada region.14 Radio Sagada was available to individuals in the remote mountains, an act that carried connotations of resistance and self-organization. It likewise reinforced the connection between the two artists with mutual interests in art as a medium of communication.15

While radio’s potent presence in Jaguar echoes the technology’s long and important entanglements with cultural resistance in the Philippines, and Bose’s previous work with Bull, the radio on the security guard’s desk also tunes in a connection for the Filipino cinephile, by alluding to popular Filipino Director Lino Brocka’s 1979 film, Jaguar. Brocka’s popular pulpy drama begins with the very scene that Bose re-enacts, the arrival at work of a working class security guard, Poldo who is employed by a morally corrupt media mogul. Gazing out of the office of his wealthy employer, Poldo’s radio is his company until unexpectedly a visitor arrives launching him into action and ultimately leading down a tragic path to his own downfall. Love! Drama! Tragedy! All unwind through the complete instrumentalization of this Filipino everyman by the corrupted capital forces who are in charge. Unable to resist the world of crime surrounding him, Poldo is led to his own destruction and ends up beaten and behind bars. Whether Bose directly lifted his title from Brocka’s popular hit or not, the sentiments he raised reflect on it. As Kawayan de Guia, artist friend of Bose, comments:

What I remember about [Jaguar] was that Santi wanted to use the idea of the security guard as a metaphor to many things. We have too many guns and guards in the Philippines. This is just a blueprint of big brother LA’merica, and aside from that it is the country’s way to deal with unemployment. Living in the hot island where things are relatively chill with it’s manyana way of life; what do you do as a security guard assigned to a mini mart with a double barrelled shotgun? You watch the girls go by … and with the feeling of power like a hard cock in your hand, occasionally exchanging stories and gossip and basically just standing doing nothing. What a waste of human life don’t you think?16

This backdrop to Bose’s guard is a marginal life and one full of wasted potential. Underscoring this allusion, the term “Jaguar” itself calls up such associations. A pejorative slang, used in place of the Tagalog word for guard, guwardya, a ‘Jaguar’, a phonetic rearrangement, a wordplay that casts an irreverent view on any guard who might style themselves as a fierce jungle cat, but is clearly out of step with reality. A joke legible only to Tagalog-speakers,17 the inside joke bridges a gap and uses the language of home to find kinship within the diaspora. Western Front art audiences might be brought in on the joke, but the OFW is the more likely target. The conclusion for Bose’s diasporic subject doesn’t lead necessarily to a spiral of doom, as in Brocka’s film. Instead, he appears to be insisting on the guard as a figure of power whose complicity and impotence in the face of systemic violence back home is as important to acknowledge as a hidden access point for a visual armada of ghostly imprints that can counteract the hegemonic influence of Western culture.

Throughout the writing of this text I have frequently stopped to wonder what the ghost of Santiago Bose would say. Probably he would laugh at my careful attention, as I peel apart layers of his quickly wrought gestures. He is known to have been an incredible joker, the type who, even from the great beyond, would orchestrate a city-wide power outage as a means to get the last word in an argument.18 Beyond being amusing to the ghosts who may be frequenting the Western Front, I write this overview as a means of caring for a work that has remained mostly unknown. It offers a preface to the continued address of mutual entanglements between the Philippines and Canada, and particularly for artists in the Filipino diaspora who live in Vancouver.

While Bose may not be well known in Canada, such oversight is out of step with his impact in the global art world. Although he only visited Vancouver a few times during a relatively short period in the 1990s, his works formed a lasting resonance that is still present. The enduring relevance of the only textual overlay in the work, the words BODY COUNT, which appear nearly at the end of Jaguar, offering a haunting prediction of the continued police violence and systemic murder of thousands perpetrated as a ‘war on drugs’ that is presently being undertaken by Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership.

When sharing Jaguar with colleagues and friends in the Filipino-Canadian community, more lighthearted connections emerge. There is laughter at clips of Darna, the Filipino ‘Wonder Woman,’ and exclamations of surprise at Cory Aquino’s daughter appearing as a television actress, amid recognition of other familiar sites and sounds.19 Local interest in Bose has also recently landed on his never-realized ambition to work on a project using the Spratly islands. The islands are adjacent to a contentious Chinese Naval base in the South China Seas and Bose wanted to use that location for an international artist residency. A bleak nether-space for artists, this irreverent but incisive jab at national boundaries continues to hold weight as the thresholds of national borders still pose a challenge to the freedoms in the region. While Bose’s works are regularly claimed in the name of a Filipino national imaginary, he clearly intended a global context for his practice. He persistently

Santiago Bose, Jaguar (1996)

Santiago Bose, Jaguar (1996). Six-channel video installation and performance at Western Front, Grand Luxe Theatre. Top left to bottom right: Channel 1, Channel 2, Channel 3, Channel 4, Channel 5, Channel 6, stills. 3⁄4 inch U-matic, transferred to digital video

pushed back against ideas of Western imperialism that might interfere with his affinities to and evaluations of cultural hybridity.

I hope that reviewing and unearthing Jaguar offers a push toward the much-needed revision of stale notions of ‘Canadianness,’ particularly the dominance of European settler perspectives. Histories of non-European settlement within Canada’s citizenry are more complex than the present national myth can address. As white settlers like myself work to de-centre pervasive visions of ‘Canada’ that have favoured our views, it is also necessary to attend to the nuances of our colonial artistic structures, including artist-run centres, to better know how they have evolved to have potential to be welcoming to the wider art world and its influences. When speaking of the enduring meaning of centres like Western Front, it is imperative to note the years of steps taken that have broadened conceptions of art beyond the traditional enclave of eight white artists to an always-active global network of artistic collaborators. By remembering the simple but meaningful impacts of artistic travel, communal artmaking, and connections, a better model can be made; one that recognizes and supports the many voices that participate in this community.

Vancouver, now largely an international real estate investment opportunity above all else, repels not just artists but practically anyone who simply wishes to work and live. If the friendly ghosts of former Western Front residents, like Bose, returned to us in the present, their haunts would surely urge us to refuse these forces, to maintain the spirit of art-in-life over of a lifestyle of investment and return. As Jaguar’s potential to migrate resumes in digital form, I hope it carries with it the generosity and warmth that was shared during its production. I hope it offers a sense of the immense value of a home away from home for making art. Living as an artist is the unspoken fabric of residency programs and has defined Western Front. As future generations enact their own entanglements with this history, their new tentacles of thought, association, and influence will join a conversation with artists from around the world; a long reach both outward and inward into the evolution of making art out of life.

NOTES

  1. The Western Front is an artist-run centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. Founded in 1973, the organization has long been associated with Fluxus, a European and North American movement that blends art and life in an irreverent reformation that envisions the recentering of artistic work as inseparable from everyday life. The evolution of the Western Front as a centre is part of a global network and movement which has effected a shift away from centre-periphery narratives. Many parallel galleries, alternative spaces, residencies, production centres and distribution efforts have created new access to and dialogue with artists from various contexts, largely outside of the art market, whose experimental practices engage a similar ethos, while they are rooted in political, formal, economic, societal vantage points that stem from their differing contexts.
  2. At the time I was travelling on research, working toward an open ended collaboration with Patrick Cruz, a Filipino-Canadian artists and curator. Cruz was born and raised in Quezon City, Philippines, and through family migration became a Canadian citizen. As a Filipino-Canadian artist based in Vancouver, for a while in Guelph, then Toronto. Cruz initiated our collaboration to make an exhibition project calle Kamias Triennial at his family’s neighbourhood of Kamias, in Quezon City, as an exploration of what respective national and international perspectives could offer as frameworks to incite conversation and art practice within Canada and the context of the incredibly vibrant art scene in Quezon City and Manila, as well as surrounding regional cities in Luzon province.
  3. To the best of my knowledge, Jaguar has only ever been publicly mounted three times. Once, as a combined installation and performance at Western Front, and again as part of the exhibition Memories of Overdevelopment: Philippine Diaspora in Contemporary Art, a two-venue tourings installation held at Plug In, Winnipeg and UC Irvine in California. For this exhibition context, the six-channels were installed and a hired security agent patrolled the room.
  4. Western Front’s original mandate. The practice of blending living with making art was especially potent in the first several decades of the Western Front, when founding artists both lived at and ran the centre. Four and a half decades later Western Front staff no longer live and work in the same space, a shift that follows many evolutions at the centre, reflecting the changing times as well as the changing living and working conditions for Vancouver’s art community. The ethos of experimentation within artistic practices remains at the forefront of Western Front’s mandate.
  5. By 1996, three decades into the operation of the Western Front, the founding artists had taken a step back from day-to-day operations, even while some maintained apartments and a collaborative presence with the newer generations of director/artists. Hank Bull and Kate Craig especially, still lived at the Western Front
  6. in 1996, and played a very present role in suggesting artists, collaborating on works and hosting them while they stayed. Today, Hank Bull and Eric Metcalfe continue to live at the Western Front, offering guidance and support to the centre without any active role in programming.
  7. Bose lived the majority of his life in Baguio, a city in the mountainous region a few hours north of Manila. Baguio is known as a home to a group of interntationally accomplished artists including Kidlat Tahimik, Bencab and Roberto Villanueva. With his fellow artists Bose co-founded the Baguio Arts Guild, and founded the Baguio Arts Festival, a biannual international gathering, exhibition, performance and celebration.
  8. 7 Espiritu Santi: The Strange Life and Even Stranger Legacy of Santiago Bose, (Phillippines, Water Dragon Inc., 2004).
  9. Santiago Bose, quoted in Asian Art Museum At-a-Glance: Native Song by Santiago Bose, published online: https://itunesu-assets.itunes.apple.com/apple-assets-us-std-000001/CobaltPublic6/v4/85/db/7a/85db7ae5-895f-7580-dff6-6f7aa713c0d3/bb377d72ba19d1070f94f8896b5557b2cb6a031ac5074e7e08eb7e6f1046ac92-6965807326.pdf
  10. It has been of particular interest to me to care for the way these strategies are interpreted, given the important work that is being done in North America to de-centre colonial vantage points, and ceasethe violence done to indigenous populations through inappropriate and appropriative practices. In writing about Bose, I took steps to understand his practice in his home context by reaching out to various artists in the Filipino art community, seeking scholarly perspective on anti-colonial practices. One viewpoint on this shared strategy in Baguio is that the effects this kind of appropriation (such as depicting images of indigenous people or reclaiming traditional indigenous materials often associated with hand-made objects or craft in a contemporary context) played a role during this time of normalizing and ascribing value to these practices, which were actively devalued and shamed by Spanish and American influences. Artistic strategies that use indigenous symbols and materials with the aim to enhance respect and reverence for traditional ways of life is offered as a necessary step in the process of decolonizing, even when the artists, like Bose, do not identify themselves as Indigenous. A review of the intimacies of these ethics of these methods remains outside my personal ability, as a cultural outsider. I draw on the experiences of the artists who I spoke with in this writing, and attempt to defer to what I have come to understand as an acceptance of appropriative practice among Filipinos as one valid and valuable manner of working against the grain of cultural imperialism from the West. While I take responsibility for any oversights, I note the influence of conversations with Alex Cheung, Patrick Cruz, Merv Espina, Kidlat Tahimik, Christian Vistan, and MM Yu, as well as writings by Santiago Bose, particularly “A Savage Look at Indigenous Art: Notes in Transit, published in Memories of Overdevelopment,, Wayne Baerwaldt, Ed.1997, and unpublished written materials about Bose that were shared with me by Kawayan de Guia.
  11. Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines in a dictatorship charcterized by increasing oppression and violence which eventually culminated in nearly a decade of abuse of freedoms under martial law.
  12. The EDSA revolution, which toppled the Marcos’ kleptocracy in the mid-1980s led to a new government led by Corazon “Cory” Aquino, following the assassination of her husband, Ninoy Aquino in 1983. This political change, dubbed the People Power Revolution, was the result of many combined efforts of political agitation and unrest. For more context see: Claudio, Lisandro E., Taming People’s Power: The EDSA Revolutions and their Contradictions, Ataneo de Manila University Press, 2013.
  13. In the south province of Mindanao, for example, broadcasts were instrumental in the NPA’s right-leaning political organizing. Well-known radio jockey Jun Pala frequently aired vitriolic rhetoric styled after Nazi- era propaganda with the express purpose of inciting violence against the communist organizers. Conversely, short wave radios were frequently used between camps of communist activists of the CPP. My understanding of this is based on: A Rustling of Leaves, a 1988 documentary by Vancouver filmmaker Nettie Wilde, who interviewed related parties and shots footage of these tensions in the Philippines during this era of political turmoil and change in the early 1980s.
  14. “Radio Broadcast of the Philippine People Power Revolution,” UNESCO, online: <http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/memory-of-the-world/register/full-list-of-registered-heritage/registered-heritage-page-7/radio-broadcast-of-the-philippine-people-power-revolution/>
  15. This meeting took place after Bull had undertaken several decades of travels to India, Indonesia, China and Japan, among other places. It is worth noting that both hosting and travel have been integral elements of art practice as it has been understood at Western Front.
  16. The FM transmitters were designed by Tetsuo Kogawa, a previous Western Front artist-in-residence.
  17. Hank Bull, in conversation, April, 2018. Video footage taken by Bull on this visit later made up the bulk of scenic footage used to make Jaguar. Bull was kind enough to share the rushes of this footage with me in the preparation of this article.
  18. Kawayan de Guia, email exchange, Apr 12, 2018.
  19. This double entendre and the general Filipino love of wordplay was conveyed to me by Kidlat Tahimik, in a personal interview about Santiago Bose, held in Toronto in April, 2018.
  20. It is reported in several articles that Bose’ ghost purposely turned out the lights in Baguio to punish Kidlat Tahimik after the two famously fell out in an argument about the Baguio Arts Festival. The story is presented in several obituaries and tributes, published in Espiritu Santi, 2004.
  21. One particular artist with whom I have entered into a conversation about Bose is Filipino-Canadian artist Patrick Cruz, aforementioned friend and collaborator. In the interest of contextual transparency, I note here my continuing collaboration with Cruz as a co-curator/director of the Kamias Triennial, a triannual event that offers a platform for the cultural exchange and sharing of art practices between Canada and the Philippines. Meeting Cruz at Western Front in 2016 eventually led me to visit Bose’s studio. Cruz cites Bose as a strong influence on his practice, stemming from the deep impact of seeing Bose’s career retrospective, held at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines, Manila, after the artist’s untimely death and just before Cruz’s family relocated to Canada. An artist that regularly crosses platforms between painting and sculptural installation, sound, digital drawing, fashion, and various forms of organizing, writing, curating and collaborating, Cruz notes that the scope and range of Bose’s work was an inspiration in what it could mean to be an artist.