PHOTO: APIONG BAGARES
NALUWAS SI LIGTAS SA MANILA
Series of durational performances at the CCP Complex.
November 22 - Search Party - CCP Complex
November 29 - Pista sa Barrio - CCP Front Lawn
December 06 - Being B. Niyaan - CCP Fountain Area
December 13 - Bayang Magiliw - CCP - Luneta Park
All performances begin at 2 P.M.
That a personality is a controlled chimera of various versions and gradations of an elusive authentic self is a reality that Russ Ligtas wrestles with, and yet definitively employs in his practice of performance art. Seven alter egos populate his work, some inactive and recluse while others dominate in frequency and intensity of manifestation. All are validated through tangible forms along with their various roles in the artist's life as well as their own distinct personalities and proclivities. In Naluwas si Ligtas sa Manila, Russ allows three of his most recurring selves to acclimate to their changed milieu, having moved from Cebu City to the capital. The series serves as an introduction, a courtesy appearance to the adoptive locale, and ultimately the ritual offering of the artist's self to his new audience.
A modified re-performing of a piece that featured an earlier version of the manifested alter ego, Search Party continues the artist's search for meaning in happiness by reversing the search and thereby searches for himself as the idealized alter ego named Happy. Unique in every human born, Happy is the color that both distinguishes an individual from the other and connects him to the other—the artist's embodiment of his own altruistic individualism as well as, ideally, of others. This is his thesis for meaningful happiness individually, and for all. Happy is in every person and remains to do so unless one loses track of it—usually as a consequence of age and ambition. But it is Happy that initiates the search, and now the search is in Manila. Ever eager and hopeful to be reunited, Happy takes its time and searches very patiently and carefully. Once a reunion ensues, Happy celebrates with the human in a universal dance of fellowship.
November 22. DURATION: 7 hours
Pista sa Barrio
The alter ego Roland operates around the artist's external impositions that continually disrupt his more idealistic motivations. He is hardwired to a system that erases natural tendencies and fosters a culture of hypnotic apathy and addictive consumption- he is the everyman aspect of the artist caught in the purgatorial rat race. In Pista Sa Barrio, the artist alludes his migration to the capital as Roland attending a fiesta. In this fiesta, he plays a solitary game reminiscent of the palo sebo but the pole stems from his back and the prizes are grand but are all too paradoxical concepts that he stubbornly reaches for. The audience is invited to join in this mock celebration of the pursuit for vague ideals by singing to the performer via a videoke machine.
November 29. DURATION: 6 hours
Being B. Niyaan
The piece takes off from the original 1-hour performance MDM B. NIYAAN is RUSS LIGTAS where the artist undergoes a ritualistic exercise to manifest the character Mdm B. Niyaan and in doing so, manage the pain and anger caused by a tragically frustrated love affair. “Being B. Niyaan” extends the second step of the exercise which titles the piece. Around the octagonal perimeter of the CCP fountain, Mdm B. Niyaan continues the cycle of her grief: from the heights of her most ecstatic memories to the consuming depths of her anger and pain. The cycles are accompanied by a sound recording of the most recent re-performing of the parent piece MDM B. NIYAAN is RUSS LIGTAS at 1335Mabini Space for Contemporary Art last July of this year.
December 06. DURATION: 8 hours
The fourth and final performance Bayang Magiliw culminates the series. The artist performs as his legal, documented self— Russ Ligtas. In a Barong Tagalog, he walks from The Cultural Center of the Philippines to Luneta Park while holding a flaglet of the Philippines in one hand and pulling a wheeled suitcase with the other. Within the walk, the Philippine national anthem is played 115 times through loudspeakers inside the suitcase at various intervals. 115 is the current number of years since the country's independence from Spain. Each time the anthem is played, the artist does the necessary formalities: stand still, put his right hand over his chest, and sing along. The piece ends with the final singing of the anthem sans the canned music at the Rizal Shrine in Luneta.
December 13. DURATION: 8 hours ++