© 2019 by NOVA Gallery Manila

Just Birit

Apr 22 - May 6, 2017

Alfred Marasigan

Meneer Marcelo

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"Just Birit" brings together the works of Alfred Marasigan and Meneer Marcelo, whose respective practices concern the places and people that produce, maintain, and define our local culture. Responding to the frenzied text-and-image interaction Filipinos experience everyday both on and offline, the collection goes back to one of the earliest forms of popular entertainment that merge digital technology with human catharsis, pre-Internet.

Invented by Daisuke Inoue in the early 70s, karaoke is an appliance and an activity that originated in Japan (but was patented by a Roberto del Rosario, a Filipino, of course), but is very much enjoyed all over the world, especially in Asia, and never more arguably so in the Philippines. No anecdote is complete without the nuisance of a neighbor belting out some drunken song that in some cases, have ended in gun shots. "Just Birit" ("birit" loosely translated means “sing intensely”) plays on this, but also ruminates on the ennui that produced such a festive pastime; after all, "kara" and "okesutura" translates to “empty orchestra.” In deconstructing the performative and participatory aspects of karaoke, the show reinforces its communal nature and, in the process, reveals more about the emotional people who tend its existence.

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