On CCP 13 Artists forum about Artists-run Spaces and Iniatives

This talk is a heavy one.

I don't mean to offend but it seems to me that the idea of Art and Business being two opposites things that can't blend together is a prevalent value in UP art students.

I don't know why but maybe they are thought too much about the thinking of Leo Tolstoy in this topic. Let me remind those are indeed brought into thinking this duality because of Tolstoy, Tolstoy was born in a rich family the man did not even move an inch to stay alive.

Old Era

The moderator Lena Cobangbang and three of the speakers namely Ringo Bunoan, Louie Cordero and Gary-Ross Pastrana are of the what I would call the old school era of art iniatives. Most of them, if not all, were from UP.

When the talk began Sir Mark Salvatus looked like the odd ball out.

*I'll be talking biased to Sir Mark because I'm a fan of the guy.

They talked about their now closed art spaces/iniatives. Big SKy Mind, Future Prospects and Surrounded by Water.

Which was all very great iniatives. They were motivated enough to form a group, start a space, and venture into the unknown. The unknown being those things which were not art-making, like sellng work, fund-raising, art managing, making shows, etc.

Some of the works they I really liked. Some were at best cutting-edge, experimental and brave.

It was a good time. Too bad, or was it good, that I was not exposed to the art scene during that time.

*I'm advertising major. I love doing advertising. But currently I'm interested in doing personal works and figuring out how to sustain it.

The problems

This is what made the talk heavy imagine three art iniative closed down due to funding problem. But as the old era pips said they were a success in a sense that they were able to present their work and their peers' work but they were a failure in the sense that they were not able to divise a way to sustain the spaces.

The number one problem that resonated in the old era pips is the problem of UTANG or loaned-to-be-paid later goods.

Which was caused by their artist's peer inablity to pay for their drink, snack, beer, coffee, pulutan, chicharon, kwek-kwek, etc.

Plus none of them really had a plan on how to sustain the space. They were too focused on making art. And they learned art management by doing. So it was a school of hard-knocks, of trial and error.

New Era

Sir Mark was the odd ball out because unfortunately and sadly he is the only one of the speakers that still a art space/iniative running and kicking. Plus he is the only one that took the effort to do a "proper" powerpoint presentation. 

Ringo of Bigskymind presented an old low-res video. Louie and Gary of Future Prospects presented a slideshow of random photographs.

Lena in my opinion was not a good moderator. She did an abrupt, ackward silence inducing start to the discussion. And again an abrupt, ackward silence inducing silence to start the forum.

So the New Era I think learned a lot from the old era pips directly or indirectly or perhaps because of the accesibility of information in the internet. The New Era seem to be more sustainability-minded.

Tiga-south I think is another good example of a New Era iniative.

The Solutions

The solution to UTANG is to expand beyond artist peers. Which I think 98b is doing a good start by "collaborating" in a sense with the Escolta building owners association.

But as Marvin, the guy that also attended the previous forum, that would not be enough. He suggested that 98b should work with a corporate-minded guy, because like it or not art is a business. And, in my opinion, trying to accept that will cause another closing down of a good art space.

The word "art" as Mark said can be alienating. And it really is. Because art in general has this high, elitist feel about it. Art events have that, museums, galleries, institutions etc. He even said that instead of using the word "art" when selling their works they use "bazaar". Because if you use the former only fellow artists would come, but if you use the word "bazaar" more people will come.

In that talk, I finally understood why the art spaces in Cuabo X closed down. It was because the owners after two years raised their rates. Which can possibly happen to 98b too. The place that artist's iniative have are often abandoned spaces that no one is interested to rent so they rent it out to "artists" for a minimal fee.

But the artist space being not-sustaible will not be able to stay with a higher or normal rental fee.

The solution I think would be aptly discussed on tomorrow's talk at the ayala museum which is also part of the 13 artists forum series. The talk will be about the "art market" Hope to meet you there :)

After talks

salamat kay Brikko at Ian sa pagpapaunlak sa pag-imbita ko :)

Disqus for Gerome Soriano