Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Uwang (Formerly called "Eye of The Storm")

 "Uwang" is an interactive media installation. It is a new work created for Art Fair Philippines 2015. Formerly called "Eye of the Storm", "Uwang," which means "Coconut Weevil" in the dialect of Luisiana Laguna, consists of two parts. One part is made of real matter,  while the other part is a computer program.

The 'real matter' part is a log harvested from a kaong tree, . Uwang lay their eggs in the ubod, or pith, of toppled kaong trees. The eggs become larvae, which are called "kuok". The log on display is filled with live kuok, who feed on the pith, and occasionally exit into the basin on the left. The headsets above the log play a recording made of kuok harvested from the log. Funnels filled with water hydrate the log in order to keep the kuok alive.

The computer program part is an interactive audiovisual instrument. The viewer interacts by putting headphgones and scribbling lines on a graphics tablet with an electronic pencil. The lines form virtual kuok, which crawl across the screen, creating sounds as they repeat the viewer's scribbled line. A maximum of 4 virtual kuok can be drawn, creating evolving sounds and graphics that translate and reflect the life and situation of the real kuok inside the log.

The piece was created with the idea of enabling the viewer to jam with the kuok with a digital instrument I coded. The code builds on the work of Golan Levin, a pioneer in the field of software art. In the town of Luisiana in Laguna province, both ubod and the kuok that feast on it, are considered delicacies. Humans plant and harvest kaong. Uwang lay eggs in the kaong, which become new uwang, and another food for the humans. The tree, the insect, its larvae, and humans are tangled in a cyclic web of eating and reproduction. "Uwang" reflects and celebrated this tangle with both real and digital materials.

On February 8, at the close of the Art Fair, Uwang will be dismantled by harvesting and cooking the kuok in The Link. Viewers are invited to come. The harvest takes place at 4 PM, at the roof deck.