SCREENSAVIOR


2021
Single-channel video (color, sound)
7 minutes 12 seconds

SCREENSAVIOR is about a taxi driver who drifts into episodic assertions over social media, nostalgia, and identity. Through online platforms, most notably TikTok, the Filipino diaspora have found an outlet to share their experiences and criticisms about their culture. While several aspects are mutual, it is apparent that the diaspora is in a liminal moment. The work borrows the act of logging checkpoints as a vehicle for delivering the character’s thoughts. An anomaly of YouTube, checkpoints are comments — usually about depression or hopefulness — to videos of melancholic music from the Super Nintendo era. In video games, checkpoints are a place where one can update their progress, and as such, the diaspora is subjectively doing the same. Technology has the ability to transport you to another place, and when combined with nostalgia, time travel can be attempted.

Nostalgia constructs romanticized moments of our lives. The Filipino diaspora have the huge privilege of experiencing the greatest hits of the Philippines when visiting with their parent[s]. In 2018-19, I lived in Manila with hopes of bridging the mainland with my upbringing in Southern California’s diaspora. During which, without my mother, I realized the Philippines I grew up visiting, and learning about from its migrants, were either fabricated or long gone. Mirroring the diaspora, I witnessed a society engulfed by capitalism, ethnocentrism, and cultural abandonment. Nostalgia creates an error in perception, where confirmation biases can live freely, and attempts of recapturing euphoric moments can result in exhaustion.

For the last several years, the Filipino diaspora have been rallying for decolonization and cultural relativism, though their perspectives are often debated. Filipinos have an ongoing history of conflicting ideologies, where progress for the country and its people is always fleeting. The resulting work is an allegory for being deluded by our biases and environment, reflective of today’s lived experiences of Filipinos holding onto, figuring out, or rewriting the past and the present.

Additional notes:
Exhibited in Artefacts, curated by Christina Lopez, Artinformal Gallery, Manila, Philippines, 2021.