Letters to JB

2012

paper, ink jet prints, asian sticky rice

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Small events can become lasting memories and sources of influence.  Letters to JB contemplates this idea. The installation is a grid of 18 phrases that reveal themselves over the period of a month.  Adhered with Asian sticky rice, nine phrases are “glued” over a series of another nine phrases.

One of my earliest memories was a time that I had no adhesive for a school project. My mother improvised, teaching me how to use sticky rice as a form of glue. This, she said, is what most people use as adhesive in the Philippines, since glue is oftentimes not affordable or available. This memory resonated with me. It was the moment I became aware of my “otherness.”  I was of a culture different from that of my fellow classmates.

For Letters to JB, I appropriated my mother’s technique.  Letters and phrases are pasted to a surface by smeared rice.  As the “glue” dries, the letters fall to the ground, revealing other letters behind them. During the duration of the installation, the phrases and words are in various states of intelligibility. Sometime the phrases are comprehensible, sometimes not—akin to our memories and the way we communicate with others. Layered with personal meanings, Letters to JB is a work about communication and memory, the permanent and the ephemeral.