Filter Modulator

“In the ignorance that implies the impression that knits knowledge that finds the name form that whets the wits that convey contacts that sweeten sensation that drives desire that adheres to attachment that dogs death that bitches birth that entails the ensuance of existentiality.” — James Joyce, Finnegans Wake Occasionally a rumble, and often a hiss. After struck by lightning and shuffling off into a dissolution of a continuity. A tangent snakes and glides across the cusp of the recovery of a history previously hidden. What is extraordinary always seems extraneous until examined from a vantage that is not one’s own. Speed turns a point into a line, and networks of lines issuing formations and malformations across discrete planes following divergent pathways and moving at relative velocities. Countless couplings and decouplings, nodes imploding into themselves and exploding inside and outside of time; a wire dangles disconnected and a flurry of static. Through a gate formed by intersections of synthetic neon lights and a cold metallic sheen: Sometimes a machine in the process of dismantling itself. Sometimes a discontinued rhythm undulating through broken syntax. Sometimes a system on the verge of structural collapse. Sometimes an oscillation between states. Sometimes a cosmology dragged through the desert. Sometimes an organism in the process of replicating itself. Sometimes a season of mist or a season of slime or a climate of otherness. Sometimes a parable of the virtual running innumerable simulations at once. Sometimes a drone that drives or drops depending on perspective. Sometimes a nerve is pinched while a gland is overstimulated. Sometimes a one and sometimes a zero. All is dematerialized and reconstituted, subverting temporal orientation until it spirals into ether. To move with or to move through are spatial negotiations of the senses as they pass through a series of mechanisms that urge them toward alteration. A jolt, a shock, a buzz, a rupture until a rapture wakes in lurid colors to luxuriate in the raw. Then space becomes time and time folds in on itself until it appears to become flattened while it thickens with variegated textures distorting its constitution, permitting the onset of a flood. Stillness moving, acidic, acerbic, amorphous, frictional, fracturing, fictive, fossilized, vaporized, vanishing. Punctures in the fabric eventually reveal particles colliding against one another and waves interrupting omnidirectional frequencies, a dance that issues sparks. Through the wormhole and toward a chaosmatic fissure bristling with electricity, a constant vociferation of sound and image, the transmutation of life worlds. (Itos Ledesma)


Seasoned Beginner

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few," so says one Zen Buddhist writer. In Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers," he proposes the notion that 10,000 hours (roughly 10 years) of practice makes one an expert at something. If I count from my first solo exhibition in 1992, my art making practice has spanned 28 years, give or take a few months. I can truthfully say that through that time, up to the present, I have been working steadily except only on days when there was compelling reason not to. I must be an expert, then, at least 2 times over.


Here are the things I believe I have become an expert at:

1. Waiting to begin something

2. Staring at nothing

3. Beginning something

4. Beginning something then abandoning it right away

5. Beginning something then abandoning it half-way

6. Beginning something, seeing it all the way through then changing it to something else

7. Imagining limits to my abilities

8. Accounting limits to my resources

9. Ignoring imagined limits to my abilities

10. Ignoring limits to my resources

11. Accepting all limits when there's no way to ignore them

12. Persisting Persistence turns the first idea into the best idea.


Persistence is the only tool I need. It does not go in my toolbox or hang on my wall. It never needs oiling or recharging. It works on the Grace of resoluteness given me. I dare say I am a successful artist, albeit by Winston Churchill's definition of it: "The ability to move from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm." Sometimes my enthusiasm gets masked by despair in my flawed nature, but deep down, deep, deep down, my enthusiasm lives. It is alive because of the knowledge that somehow I contribute capital to the "community of creative culture." I make things upon which others may build. Things to prop themselves up with to see over the wall of the quotidian into the unknown. "An unknown that begs us on and has always begged us on.” “Nunc coepi! Now I begin!"


Juan Alcazaren December 13, 2019



In his solo exhibition, FLOM, acronym for “for love or money,” Bembol Dela Cruz interrogates the power—and limits—of belief accorded to things inflected with symbolic value. In a suite of paintings depicting defective and rejected icons, which still bear their divine features and countenance, the artist dares to ask what psychological and emotional leap the beholder undertakes in order to conceptually transform them into objects of veneration and devotion.


Is it the medium, gestured at by the hollow blocks, with one painted in gold, which has long been the color of divinity? Is it the form of the work? Is it the transformative labor of the artist? Or is it something quite intangible, which circulates within the field the object inhabits, such as the realm of religion with all its difficult histories?


By asking these questions within the tradition of faith, Dela Cruz extends the scrutiny to the realm of art itself, whose conception of beauty is amorphous and ambiguous at once. In the heated atmosphere of the contemporary art scene, where many players are exerting their say and influence, what will make an artist’s work command such fastidious and abiding belief? What makes an art object “worthy” enough to be believed in the first place? Is it remaining true to the fire of his vision (with the real possibility of ending up with unsold, rejected works) or will he allow whatever forces—market or otherwise—to take him wherever they blow?


Ultimately, Dela Cruz reignites the conversation on the opposing pull of commerce and creativity, exposing the fissure between peso and passion, between currency and integrity, between love and money.


(Carlomar Arcangel Daoana)