HowTos (Hey Backgrounds), 2021
In collaboration with J.T., MiMa, Paula Vega, Raz and Rigel Aquino.

The only thing that can grow in this soil, compacted by walking in circles for a year and a half, is ‘weeds.’ For months now I have devoted myself to that belief, spotting them on sidewalks, admiring them, trying to understand them. While this cult of weeds gave me useful skills —among the many examples I will stick with ‘how to find food in a post-apocalyptic city’— the strength of these plants are reminders of the weakness they can as well create. You will find a case of ironic circularity in weedy rice (known by specialists as Oryza Sativa f. Spontanea), which in the long history of rice domestication evolved on its own without the need of farmers, volunteering next to their much more productive but wimpy relatives, thus endangering one of the main plants that feed humanity. But hey, as awful as it sounds, in a time when the domestic has also become a pressing space of productivity, I can’t help but harbor hope that weeds are teaching us something. Lessons about ‘how to go feral,’ perhaps. A response to feelings so common and perfectly tepid that they will never be ‘cool’ enough or ‘hot’ enough to deserve an exhibition, but which I’m determined to nurture.

In the gallery you will find nine new laser animations from a 2011 series that has sprouted back. Collections of hand-drawn, asemic doodles, copied from imaginary shapes. The exercise consists of capturing as many details of these shapes in as many drawings as possible, digitizing them, placing them in sequences and playing them back with lasers at a high speed. The result is a single flickery form springing from the common traits across the drawings, forcing its presence to the eye like a bell that can’t be unrung. A form of enfranchisement that is also reflected in the pictures commissioned from WikiHow’s Philippine-based illustrators Rigel Aquino, Richard Divinagracia, J.T., MiMa, Raz and Paula Vega, of which 4 prints can be seen fixed on the walls. Pictures that rigorously follow the company’s style guidelines but do not describe anything, nor the points to follow in a self-empowering tutorial. They are simply there, overflowing the screen, being just a substrate of a meme, escaping the compliance of the text and becoming something of their own, whatever that may be.

Thanks to Suso Balboa and Ran Zhang. With the support of Stiftung Kunstfonds and Neustart Kultur-Programm, Germany.