Motions Of This Kind: Propositions & Problems of Belatedness

Key information

10:30 am to 5:00 pm
Brunei Gallery
Exhibition Rooms
Event type

About this event

Yason Banal - Jon Cuyson - Lizza May David & Gabriel Rossell Santillán - Cian Dayrit - Michelle Dizon - Eisa Jocson - Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho - Kat Medina - Mark Salvatus

  • First institutional exhibition in the UK dedicated to recent contemporary art practices from the Philippines
  • Newly commissioned works by eleven artists from, or working in, the Philippines
  • Examining “belatedness” and the latency of knowledge between Europe and Southeast Asia

In Sir Isaac Newton’s famous treatise of 1687, the Principia, there is an unexpected passage taken from the observations of voyager and astronomer Edmund Halley, in which ‘Leuconia’ – today known as Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines – is discussed:

There are two inlets to this port and the neighbouring channels […] one from the seas of China, between the continent and the island of Leuconia; the other from the Indian sea, between the continent and the island of Borneo.

Laying the very foundations for modern science in his unparalleled exposition of the three laws of motion, gravity, and planetary movement, Newton was left stumped, bewildered by the tidal currents surrounding these distant equatorial seas. As he continued:

…whether there be really two tides propagated through the said channels, one from the Indian sea in the space of 12 hours, and one from the sea of China in the space of 6 hours, which therefore happening at the 3rd and 9th lunar hours, motions of this kind add together; or whether there be any other condition imposed by other seas, I leave to be determined by observations on the neighbouring shores.

Inspired by the curious indeterminacy of Newton’s analysis, by the ‘motions of this kind’ that exposed the limitations of his own scientific expertise, Motions Of This Kind will explore not simply “the rise and fall of the tides”, but, as Filipino historian Ricardo Manapat suggested, the “historical ebb and flow of ideas .” Newton’s work will thus set us off, inadvertently, on an exploration of the turbulent temporal currents flowing between Europe and Southeast Asia, the undertows that can both hasten and delay the circulation of knowledge.

Commissioning new works and developing ongoing projects by 11 artists from, or working in, the Philippines – each of whom examine transnational and temporal themes in their practice – as well as featuring a display of materials from the never before exhibited Ifor B. Powell archive held at SOAS, Motions Of This Kind will chart the historical and contemporary forces linking this archipelagic chain with other key spheres of global power. By placing the theme of belatedness as our principal concern however – as both a concept, reference, and argument – the project will underscore the way time has been used both as a weapon of power and a tool of everyday resistance, a way of dominating the marginalised and creating alternative imaginations alike.

Yet whilst Motions Of This Kind is the UK’s first institutional thematic exhibition of contemporary art from the Philippines, the show refuses to act as another (belated) survey of “art from elsewhere” – in which the culture of the ‘periphery’ is extracted from its origin and surveilled in the ‘heart’ of the global art centre. By rejecting the need to “fix” the Philippines as one determinate thing or place, the exhibition continues to explore Newton’s indeterminacy as central to both the methodology and concept of the project: Exploring the perplexing tides, the unmapped channels, the strange motions of this kind equally apparent in the work of our eleven artists, Motions Of This Kind acts as a speculative mapping beyond the dominant historical narrative, a refiguring of knowledge beyond these neighbouring shores.

Show Information

Hashtag: #motionsofthiskind #motk2019

Motions Of This Kind is curated by Renan Laru-an, Merv Espina and Rafael Schacter. The Foyle Special Collections Gallery is curated by Cristina Juan and Delphine Mercier.

Motions Of This Kind has been initiated and generously sponsored by Mercedes Zobel, partner of Outset Contemporary Art Fund, with support from Philippine Studies, SOAS, and The Office of Senator Loren Legarda. The initiative has been made possible by the kind assistance of The British Council, The British Academy, The Department of Anthropology at University College London, Gasworks, The Delfina Foundation, and Philippine Airlines.

Programme Information

Motions Of This Kind will incorporate a range of public programming. This includes a performance by artist Eisa Jocson (her first performance in the UK) at the private view, a range of experimental film screenings in collaboration with LUX, as well as a 2-day conference at SOAS on the 12th and 13th of April. All of these will be fully open to the public.

Related Event
Artist talk with Mark Salvatus - 19 June 2019 18:00-20:00

Brunei Gallery Exhibition Rooms

For Press Enquiries, please contact:
Rafael Schacter: r.schacter@ucl.ac.uk

About Outset Contemporary Art Fund

Established in 2003, Outset Contemporary Art Fund is the only international, independent charity pooling donations from patron circles and partners to support new art for the widest possible audiences. Present in 9 countries, it has raised over £8.5m worldwide to support the creative ecosystem. This spans education, professional development, the production of new work and exhibitions, institutional collecting, and initiatives that underpin the creative infrastructure for the long term. Outset is recognised for pioneering arts philanthropy through bespoke funding solutions. These include OFT, inviting curators from around the world to join the Tate’s curatorial team in selecting 100 works of art from Frieze for the Tate Collection; Studiomakers, providing entrepreneurial solutions for the protection of existing and creation artist studios in support of the Mayor of London‘s mission to protect affordable space for creatives; and encouraging partnerships around the world to support the realisation of challenging art projects at defining biennials and international art destinations. Always keeping patrons, partners and professionals at its core, Outset creates unparalleled experiences for people curious to engage in dynamic artistic discourse.

About Philippines Studies at SOAS

Philippine Studies at SOAS is a forum for Philippine–related teaching, research and cultural production in the UK and Europe. Established in part by a grant from the Office of Senator Loren Legarda via the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs to the Centre for South East Asian Studies in 2017, the PSS Committee develops and coordinates academic research and teaching on the Philippines and functions as an organising centre for conferences, public lectures, film screenings and language classes. It is also an aggregating hub for Philippine-related information on current academic and cultural events, student resources for grants and scholarships, and a networking database for Filipinistas in the UK and Europe. As a global hub for advancing Philippine studies and culture in the United Kingdom and Europe, Philippine Studies at SOAS is an expanding public resource for creating relationships with partner institutions in the Philippines, the rest of South East Asia and beyond.

Organiser: Philippine Studies at SOAS

Contact email: philippinestudies@soas.ac.uk

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4046