2024 Puón Institute
Ecologies of Flourishing
January 8 - 12, 2024
The second Puón Institute will gather artists and academics to workshop critical and creative projects in progress around the theme Ecologies of Flourishing. The workshop aims to support and develop artistic and critical works that seek possibilities of decolonial ecological and socio-economic justice across different Philippine, Filipinx diasporic, and other global contexts through a transformative praxis of mutual care and equitable, life-enabling sociality.
For the 2024 Institute, we will explore how arts, arts-making, and other cultural practices offer ways to visualize and feel dynamic interactions of bodies, identity, sociality, place, and movement. Specifically, how such practices make possible alternative conceptions of “environment” (which enable other ecologies) in the context of global U.S.-shaped political and economic crises and environmental degradation and catastrophe. We are particularly interested in how artists and writers envision and enact concrete practices of social living and survival toward ecological flourishing and ecosocial vibrancy.
The 2024 Puón Institute is a recipient of the 2024 The Terra Foundation for American Art convening grant. The Terra Foundation for American Art, established in 1978 and having offices in Chicago and Paris, supports organizations and individuals locally and globally with the aim of fostering intercultural dialogues and encouraging transformative practices that expand narratives of American art, through the foundation’s grant program, collection, and initiatives.”
2024 Institute Participants
Luna Beller-Tadiar is a Manila-born, NYC-raised, queer, mixed-Filipinx multi-media artist who works in choreography, video, text, and comics. Her practice takes (postcolonial) mimicry as method for transformation and knowledge; her work across media excavates a body language made up of fragments—remnants of lands, communities, and machines. Luna draws on a movement education that includes Argentine tango, Aikido, capoeira, and contemporary dance; she also draws on her ongoing PhD work in dance and media studies.
For the Puón institute, she will present her current work-in-progress, a performance solo with the working title “Mercury,” in which a mercurial body mimics, re-members, puns, and glitches its way between bodily states, disaggregating a subject, and re-spinning worlds from their traces.
Lyra Garcellano is a visual artist who likes to look at history (even if it's painful). She does comics, paintings, installations and writing.
In 2023, she took part in the first Puon Institute workshop where she presented her ideas on collectivizing: “How to Cook a Collective” and “How to Perform the Death of the Collective.” As a returning participant, Lyra will introduce a board/card game that she has been developing regarding scenarios in the art ecology.
Terms considered in the game include (but are not limited to): Mutual aid, Collective pot, Network (collaborations, portals), Access, Currency, Conditions, Occupy
Uttara is an experiential educator based in India. For the last 6 years she has worked in the outdoor and travel education industry, running programs in Nepal and India for high school students. She is currently building her own travel and education company, Willow Experiences that will primarily run programs in Ladakh, India.
A decade ago, she found her way to SECMOL, an alternative school in Phey, Ladakh, where her planned month of volunteering was extended to a yearlong adventure of learning and teaching. SECMOL’s entirely green and sustainable campus is a natural extension of the classroom, and it has continued to inspire and inform her approach to education. Over the course of the year, Uttara developed a deep and enduring connection to Ladakh, which brought her back every year since.
It is that connection that eventually led to her proposed project that aims to combine sustainable living practices, experiential learning and a desire to bring creativity to even the most practical undertakings. Part of a larger project, the work that she will present at the institute is an interactive art and learning space to increase and create an understanding of the importance of the Ladakhi toilet - a locally, sustainably and intelligently designed response to the Ladakhi environment. A kitchen garden and creative space that uses compost from the toilet to grow food, aims to create an experiential understanding of what an intact nutrient cycle looks like. (As opposed to the broken nutrient cycle of flushing our waste.)
Born in Hong Kong, Nicola Sebastian is a Filipino writer, surfer, and National Geographic Explorer. She is interested in “islandness,” both as space and sensibility. Her work has been published in Orion Magazine, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Suspect Journal. Nicola graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University, where she was the managing editor of the Columbia Journal and taught fiction writing to undergraduates. She lives in La Union, Philippines, where she cofounded Emerging Islands, an arts-for-ecology collective that brings together artists, environmentalists, and grassroots communities to produce ecological, collaborative, and decolonising stories of the Philippine islands. She is also working on an ecological memoir on disaster, discovery, and the Philippines, and will be sharing the first two sections, Forecast and Landfall, with the Puon Institute.
Joey A. Tabula
Joey A. Tabula is a general internist, poet, editor, and publisher in San Antonio, Zambales. He is the current president of Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika at Anyo (LIRA), Inc. and a board member of Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL). He is editor of six anthologies including From the Eyes of a Healer (2017), Pagninilay: Hinga, Hingal, at Hingalo sa Panahon ng Pandemya (2021), and Rx Narratives: Anthology of Creative Nonfiction of Filipino Internists (2023). He founded the Philippine Society for Literature and Narrative Medicine in 2022.
His work will be a suite of poems centering on decolonizing medicine and reimagining socio-economic justice for Filipinx, speaks to this year's theme, Ecologies of Flourishing.
Enzo Camacho and Ami Lien
Enzo Camacho and Ami Lien are artists and writers from the US and the Philippines. Together, they have an artistic practice that moves from the Philippines outwards to other places, addressing localized iterations of labor and capital from the perspective of imperial damage. They will be sharing their project "Offerings for Escalante," a traveling exhibition which focuses on the Escalante Massacre (1985), an episode of state violence against a peoples protest which took place during the first Marcos dictatorship. Interweaving testimonials, observations, and materials foraged over the course of an extensive period of research on the plantation island of Negros, and moving across the mediums of film, installation, and drawings on handmade paper, the exhibition aims to shed light on the significance of collective remembrance and mourning in the fight for food sovereignty and land justice.
Carol Anne McChrystal
Carol Anne Almocera McChrystal is an independent artist and cultural worker. Inspired by her own family migration story, her materially-driven sculptures take the form of plaited mats traditionally made from local plants in her two island homelands of Ireland and the Philippines. In these works, discarded plastic waste—a product of oil extraction—and locally gathered organic materials are processed and hand-woven into the forms of traditional mats. Influenced by time spent in familial homelands witnessing the role that globalized industry plays in the dissolution of cultural practices, she uses material and method hand in hand to explore how the climate crisis has compounded certain inequitable legacies of colonialism.
Her sculptures have been exhibited in Los Angeles at Mata Art Gallery and Adjunct Positions, and internationally at Galleria Duemila (Manila), Stanley Picker Gallery (London), and Horse & Pony (Berlin). She has participated in numerous residency programs, including Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (US), Sitka Center for Art & Ecology (US), Emerging Islands (PH) and Cill Rialaig (IE) and her arts writing has been published on platforms like Art Practical. In addition to receiving grants from the Puffin Foundation, California Arts Council and Arts Council Ireland, in 2021 she was a recipient of Mozaik Foundation’s Ecosystem X, an award which recognizes artists using contemporary art as a medium for social change. Carol Anne received her MFA from California College of the Arts, and she is currently based on unceded Tongva land, also known as Los Angeles.
Her presentation at Puón is grounded in an essay she wrote in 2022 that discusses transforming traditions of banig weaving in a changing climate. She will present on the larger framework of her visual arts practice, as well as the research and knowledge gathering that has fostered the development of that practice It will include a segment on the artworks she developed through a self-taught process of mat-weaving to reflect on how traditions necessarily transform in diasporic communities, a result of how migration can separate subsequent generations from old ways of being with the Land. Finally, she will present on the nascent frameworks of the initial phase of her ongoing project, in which she collaborated with bamboo basket weavers in La Union to develop weaveable plastic strips from locally collected marine litter.
Padmapani L. Perez
Padmapani L. Perez is a writer and co-founder of Mt. Cloud Bookshop in Baguio City. Her poems and essays have been anthologized in various Philippine publications, including Agam: Filipino Narratives on Uncertainty and Climate Change (2014). Padma is lead editor of the award-winning anthology, Harvest Moon: Poems and Stories from the Edge of the Climate Crisis (2021), and co-editor of Tiw-tiwong: An Uncyclopedia to Life, Living, and Art in Baguio, the Cordilleras, and Beyond (2022).
From 2019 to 2023, Padma led the creative collaborations of the Agam Agenda, the arts and climate initiative of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities. She received her doctorate in anthropology at Leiden University, Netherlands, and her Masters degree in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Kent at Canterbury. Her work focused on policies and on the role of indigenous peoples in biodiversity conservation in Indonesia and the Philippines. She authored Green Entanglements: Nature Conservation and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Indonesia and the Philippines (2018, University of the Philippines Press), and its companion children’s book, Shelah Goes to a Da-ngah (2016, Alam-am Publishing).
Padma is embarking on a journey that is part-research, part-artistic and literary engagement with sacred trees and singular trees that grow and stand out in unlikely, public or urban spaces. In doing so, she aims to find ways to actively and artistically transform the way we value the presence of trees in our lives and hopes to propagate seeds of new tree-myths that will foster love and respect for other-than-human communities.
Joshua Lim So
Joshua Lim So has received ten Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, is twice awarded by the BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition, and was a Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center Fellow for Drama. He has directed several performances, including Joe Cool: Aplikante, Cubao Pagkagat ng Dilim, and Acts of Piracy. His fiction has appeared in A Different Voice: Fiction by Young Filipino Writers, and The Best of Philippine Speculative Fiction. He has received citations from Science Fiction Research Association Review, The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 20th Annual Collection, and The Routledge Concise History of Southeast Asian Writing. He graduated from De La Salle University. Born and raised in Davao City, he is now based in Manila. He is currently working on performances, films and series. The work is an environmental story for children.
Neferti X. M. Tadiar is a feminist scholar of Philippine culture and global political economy and Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of the books, Things Fall Away: Philippine Historical Experience and the Makings of Globalization (2009) and Fantasy-Production: Sexual Economies and Other Philippine Consequences for the New World Order (2004). Her most recent books are: Remaindered Life (Duke University Press, 2022), an extended meditation on the disposability and surplus of life-making under contemporary conditions of global empire, and Life-times of Becoming-Human (Everything’s Fine Press, 2022), a treatise on life expenditure and global humanity. Tadiar is founding Director of the Alfredo F. Tadiar Library and PUÓN Books, Arts, Design in San Fernando, La Union, Philippines. In this capacity, she has organized a series of artist-led creative workshops, art and community exhibitions, and cultural events, as well as embarked on the co-publication of a series of books on local history and women’s issues.
L MSP Burns is an Associate Professor in the Asian American Studies Department at UCLA, a land grant institution in the homeland of Gabrielino/Tongva peoples. Burns’s writings include Puro Arte: Filipinos on the Stages of Global Empire (NYU Press, 2014 Outstanding Book Award in Cultural Studies by the Asian American Studies Association) and the co-edited anthology California Dreaming: Place and Movement in Asian American Imaginary (2020, University of Hawai’i Press).
As a dramaturg, Burns has collaborated with BIPOC inter/multidisciplinary theatre- and dance-makers, including David Rousseve/REALITY; Leilani Chan/TeAda Productions; Priya Srinivasan; Jay Carlon; and R. Zamora Linmark. Burns initiated a survey project assessing the impact of the pandemic on Asian American theatre organizations and individual theatre artists. This initiative grew into a team of multi-racial artists and academics, geographically based throughout the United States, broadening the surveys to gauge the impact of the pandemic on BIPOC theatre practitioners and BITOC.
The Institute received support from the following institutions:
Project Assistant: Lk Rigor is currently pursuing MA Art Studies (Curatorial Studies) at University of the Philippines Diliman. Her research focus lies in the intersections of photography and archives.