Space: Cultural Center of the Philippines
Duration: 6 hours + 7 hours + 8 hours + 8 hours. Total 29 hours
In Naluwas si Ligtas sa Manila(Russ saved/moved in/to 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, the ritual offering of the artist's self to his new audience.
Search Party continues the artist's search for meaning in happiness through the alter ego named Happy. Happy is the color that distinguishes one from the other and connects him to the other—the artist's embodiment of his own altruistic individualism. Happy is in every person and remains to do so unless one loses track of it—perhaps as a consequence of age and ambition. But it is Happy that initiates the search. 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.
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 consumption—the everyman facet 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. The audience is invited to participate in the fiesta via videoke.
Being B. Niyaan
The piece takes off from the original one-hour performance MDM B. NIYAAN is RUSS LIGTAS where the artist undergoes an exercise to manifest the character Mdm B. Niyaan and in doing so manage the suffering caused by a tragically frustrated love affair. “Being B. Niyaan” extends the second step of the exercise. Around the 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 artist performs as his legal, documented self: Russ Ligtas. In this attempt to reconcile his regional Cebuano self to his national Filipino identity, he walks from The Cultural Center of the Philippines to Luneta Park holding the Philippine flag. During this journey, the Philippine national anthem is played repeatedly according to the current number of years since the country's independence. Each time the anthem is played, the artist does the requisite formalities: stand in attention, right hand over chest, and sing along.