On Resurfacing: A Case for a Cultural Renaissance
Huang, Angelito Junior
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Globalization and the advancement of technology have made the world smaller. Boundaries that define nations and nationalities have blurred and the resulting sense of displacement has undermined assumptions of identity and conversely made the search for identity more urgent. This thesis investigates the dialogue between the contemporary arts and architecture through the lens of the Filipino culture as a way to recapture and bring to the surface the contemporary identity of Filipinos and the Philippines. It proposes an understanding of history, geography and culture as a complex floating archipelago out of which our identity as individuals and nations emerge. It suggests that the events of history and the characteristics of geography are the grounds out of which art, myths and legends continue to be formed and sustain their relevance. Today, these compelling narratives emerge through the works of contemporary artists. They help us view and understand our flaws, struggles, triumphs, and future as a society in a way that speaks of our culture and time. Architecture, as a container and stage for culture must be sensitive to this artistic contemporaneity if it is to be indexical to our time. The Philippines, as a culture of hybrid and regional identities, has long struggled to make sense of the Contemporary in a largely Traditional society. The thesis proposes a new Centre for Contemporary Arts in Manila to bring the diverse artistic activities of the country into focus. It intervenes at interface between the Traditional and the Contemporary, which bridges the gap between the two, thus heralding a Cultural Renaissance and help generate a sense of contemporary nationalism.