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Migrant Musicians: Filipino Entertainers and the Work of Music Making

Theodore S. Gonzalves, R. Zamora Linmark, Karen Tongson, Sarita Echavez See Horse & Buggy Press

Each copy of this limited run edition of Migrant Musicians: Filipino Entertainers and the Work of Music Making (150 total) is a beautiful art object: The covers were printed on a hand-fed, hand-cranked Vandercook letterpress at the Horse & Buggy Press studio in Durham, North Carolina, and the inner pages—digitally printed to provide high quality text and color images—are then hand bound using linen thread. All proceeds go towards sustaining CA+T's cultural and educational missions.

Migrant Musicians brings together Theodore S. Gonzalves, R. Zamora Linmark, and Karen Tongson in a conversation moderated by Sarita Echavez See. Informed by their creative and scholarly work and by their own histories and experiences, they reflect on how Filipino musicians have circulated as part of a global entertainment industry. Their discussion ranges from their family memories and mythologies about music’s transportative power to their encounters with the legal realities of Filipino musicians’ experiences as overseas contract workers. As See remarks, the processes of migration and survival transform “living song into living labor”—a process that can disguise and deny the work that undergirds the making and feeling of music. 

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curated exhibition

Empire’s Eyes: Colonial Stereographs of the Philippines

Filipinos have been under intense visual scrutiny since the start of Spanish colonialism in the 16th century. It continues through to this day. 
 
With Empire's Eyes: Colonial Stereographs of the Philippines, the Center for Art and Thought has partnered with the California Museum of Photography at the University of California at Riverside ARTSblock to publish a selection of stereographic images of Filipinos and the Philippine Islands that were taken shortly after Spain ceded the islands to the US in 1898. The stereographs are a part of the largest collection of stereographic negatives and prints in the world called the Keystone-Mast Collection. 
 
The stereographs in the exhibition were meant to entertain and educate viewers through optical illusion. Using a stereoscopic device people saw the stereographic views in 3D. Stereographs of the everyday life of Filipinos did entertain and educate viewers but did so at a cost. While these quotidian images may seem benign and even boring, they were powerful in teaching Americans about Filipinos as an inferior race, as other. And, in many ways, they maintain their power to this day, archived and accessible online.
 
Empire's Eyes also does not include pictures of Filipino casualties or scenes of military battles in the islands. Those images are well documented and are often the first to reproduced whenever the American colonial period in the islands is the subject matter. These scenes of Filipino deaths and destruction obscure other forms of photography's representational violence. Images of Filipinos going on with their everyday lives-taking an afternoon nap, cooking, or even getting a haircut-were as effective as ones of wounded or dead Filipinos in conveying a people lazy, uncivilized, and alien to ordinary Americans who participated in the act of viewing stereographs with friends and families, in homes and schools throughout the country. 
 
In light of global anti-immigrant sentiments in countries raging across Europe and current debates about the undocumented, most of whom belong to communities of color and the portrayal of them as criminal and deviants by many who govern the United States, Empire's Eyes arrives at a time when issues of race and representation are as relevant as they were over a century ago. The exhibition resurfaces these everyday stereographic views to reveal not only the parallels of current visual technologies to historic ones but to ask viewers to consider the ways photography-digital or analog-continue to shape how we view and know Filipinos and other communities of color across space and time. 
 
Jan Christian Bernabe, Ph.D. 
Curatorial Director 
 
mads le 
Curatorial Assistant 
 
Spring 2018 
 
The stereographic images will be published in staggered waves from March to April 2018, after which the whole exhibition is archived permanently on CA+T's website. 
 
Special thanks to Leigh Gleason and the California Photography Museum for providing assistance for this exhibition.
 
Fiscal support has been generously provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation and the California Institute of Contemporary Arts.
 
Scholarly articles included in the exhibition are authored by Nerissa Balce, Melissa Banta, Vernadette Gonzalez, Mark Rice, and Neferti Tadiar. 
 

Looking Afar from the Philippine Shore, PI

California Museum of Photography

1898 - 1930 Stereographic print Dimensions vary Courtesy of the UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California at Riverside Keystone-Mast Collection

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California Museum of Photography

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UCR/California Museum of Photography, a facility of ARTSblock, "provides a cultural presence, educational resource, community center, and intellectual meeting ground for the university and the general public. The museum's explorations of photographic media through exhibition, collection, publication, and the web examine the history of photography and showcase current practice in photography and related media. To serve an audience that is multicultural, young and old, general and specialized, the museum presents programs that recognize the variety and complexity of cultural experience and explore the relationship between traditional expression and contemporary practice. The museum is vitally concerned with the intersection of photography, new imaging media, and society. Located off campus in downtown Riverside, UCR/CMP is committed to bringing the most challenging art to the widest possible audience. 
 
"UCR students from across the university are involved in every aspect of the museum's program from curatorial research through collections management to exhibition installation and administration. CMP and the other ARTSblock's entities offer many opportunities for professional museum work and students are involved under the aegis of independent course status, internships, work-study, and as volunteers. Still other students utilize CMP as a library-like resource or as a site for art production and experimentation" (CMP homepage).
 
If you need more detailed information regarding the CMP collections please contact the Curator of Collections at cmpcollections@ucr.edu.

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  • Born: Riverside, CA, USA
  • Based: Riverside, CA, USA

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"Face: Necropolitics and the U.S. Imperial Photography Complex"

Nerissa Balce

2017 Criticism 46 pages Courtesy of the University of Michigan Press From Body Parts of Empire: Visual Abjection, Filipino Images, and the American Archive

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Nerissa Balce

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Nerissa Balce was educated in the classrooms and museums of Manila and the libraries of Berkeley, California. She read feminist literature and poststructuralist theories in college and consequently ditched her plans to become a nun. She identifies as a mongrel academic – an Asian Americanist with a mixed (and questionable) pedigree: one who does a little bit of literature, theory, popular culture, diasporic and Philippine texts. If empires used various media to promote the romance of conquest, it makes sense to have an expansive approach to studying Filipino culture and the global Filipino diaspora. Her book, Body Parts of Empire: Visual Abjection, Filipino Images, and the American Archive (University of Michigan Press, 2016) "is a study of abjection in American visual culture and popular literature from the Philippine-American War (1899–1902)."

I’m a Filipino studies scholar interested in race, gender, empire and popular culture. Growing up in a Catholic culture and with the Marcos regime in power for decades, I am fascinated by the language of power, control and censorship. Individuals who grow up in post-authoritarian cultures react to power and politics in certain ways. We either accept control or violently reject it, or we negotiate with it in interesting (and sometimes silly) ways. And popular culture projects these negotiations. I think I never outgrew my interest in popular culture, whether it is from the turn of the 20th century or the early 21st century.

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A Filipino Home Near Manila

California Museum of Photography

1898 - 1930 Stereographic print Dimensions vary Courtesy of the UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California at Riverside Keystone-Mast Collection

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California Museum of Photography

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UCR/California Museum of Photography, a facility of ARTSblock, "provides a cultural presence, educational resource, community center, and intellectual meeting ground for the university and the general public. The museum's explorations of photographic media through exhibition, collection, publication, and the web examine the history of photography and showcase current practice in photography and related media. To serve an audience that is multicultural, young and old, general and specialized, the museum presents programs that recognize the variety and complexity of cultural experience and explore the relationship between traditional expression and contemporary practice. The museum is vitally concerned with the intersection of photography, new imaging media, and society. Located off campus in downtown Riverside, UCR/CMP is committed to bringing the most challenging art to the widest possible audience. 
 
"UCR students from across the university are involved in every aspect of the museum's program from curatorial research through collections management to exhibition installation and administration. CMP and the other ARTSblock's entities offer many opportunities for professional museum work and students are involved under the aegis of independent course status, internships, work-study, and as volunteers. Still other students utilize CMP as a library-like resource or as a site for art production and experimentation" (CMP homepage).
 
If you need more detailed information regarding the CMP collections please contact the Curator of Collections at cmpcollections@ucr.edu.

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  • Born: Riverside, CA, USA
  • Based: Riverside, CA, USA

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“Photographic Encounters in the Philippines, 1898 - 1910”

Melissa Banta

2007 Critiism 3 pages Courtesy of IIAS Newsletter and Ben Cabrera

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Melissa Banta

Melissa Banta is a curator and author, who has worked with photograph collections in Harvard University’s museums and libraries for over thirty years. Her exhibitions and publications include From Site to Sight: Anthropology, Photography, and the Power of Imagery; A Timely Encounter: Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Japan; The Invention of Photography and Its Impact on Learning; A Curious and Ingenious Art: Reflections on Daguerreotypes at Harvard; The Human Factor: Introducing the Industrial Life Photograph Collection at Baker Library; The High Art of Photographic Advertising: The 1934 National Alliance of Art and Industry Exhibition; and At the Intersection of Science and Art: Edwin H. Land & the Polaroid Corporation, The Formative Years.

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The Barber, Tondo, PI

California Museum of Photography

1898 - 1930 Stereographic print Dimensions vary Courtesy of the UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California at Riverside Keystone-Mast Collection

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California Museum of Photography

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UCR/California Museum of Photography, a facility of ARTSblock, "provides a cultural presence, educational resource, community center, and intellectual meeting ground for the university and the general public. The museum's explorations of photographic media through exhibition, collection, publication, and the web examine the history of photography and showcase current practice in photography and related media. To serve an audience that is multicultural, young and old, general and specialized, the museum presents programs that recognize the variety and complexity of cultural experience and explore the relationship between traditional expression and contemporary practice. The museum is vitally concerned with the intersection of photography, new imaging media, and society. Located off campus in downtown Riverside, UCR/CMP is committed to bringing the most challenging art to the widest possible audience. 
 
"UCR students from across the university are involved in every aspect of the museum's program from curatorial research through collections management to exhibition installation and administration. CMP and the other ARTSblock's entities offer many opportunities for professional museum work and students are involved under the aegis of independent course status, internships, work-study, and as volunteers. Still other students utilize CMP as a library-like resource or as a site for art production and experimentation" (CMP homepage).
 
If you need more detailed information regarding the CMP collections please contact the Curator of Collections at cmpcollections@ucr.edu.

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  • Born: Riverside, CA, USA
  • Based: Riverside, CA, USA

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Filipino Women Returning from Market

California Museum of Photography

1898 - 1930 Stereographic print Diminesions vary Courtesy of the UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California at Riverside Keystone-Mast Collection

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California Museum of Photography

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UCR/California Museum of Photography, a facility of ARTSblock, "provides a cultural presence, educational resource, community center, and intellectual meeting ground for the university and the general public. The museum's explorations of photographic media through exhibition, collection, publication, and the web examine the history of photography and showcase current practice in photography and related media. To serve an audience that is multicultural, young and old, general and specialized, the museum presents programs that recognize the variety and complexity of cultural experience and explore the relationship between traditional expression and contemporary practice. The museum is vitally concerned with the intersection of photography, new imaging media, and society. Located off campus in downtown Riverside, UCR/CMP is committed to bringing the most challenging art to the widest possible audience. 
 
"UCR students from across the university are involved in every aspect of the museum's program from curatorial research through collections management to exhibition installation and administration. CMP and the other ARTSblock's entities offer many opportunities for professional museum work and students are involved under the aegis of independent course status, internships, work-study, and as volunteers. Still other students utilize CMP as a library-like resource or as a site for art production and experimentation" (CMP homepage).
 
If you need more detailed information regarding the CMP collections please contact the Curator of Collections at cmpcollections@ucr.edu.

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  • Born: Riverside, CA, USA
  • Based: Riverside, CA, USA

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The Only Inhabitants Left in Malaban by the Insurgents, Philippines

California Museum of Photography

1898 - 1930 Stereographic Print Dimensions vary Courtesy of the UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California at Riverside Keystone-Mast Collection

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California Museum of Photography

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UCR/California Museum of Photography, a facility of ARTSblock, "provides a cultural presence, educational resource, community center, and intellectual meeting ground for the university and the general public. The museum's explorations of photographic media through exhibition, collection, publication, and the web examine the history of photography and showcase current practice in photography and related media. To serve an audience that is multicultural, young and old, general and specialized, the museum presents programs that recognize the variety and complexity of cultural experience and explore the relationship between traditional expression and contemporary practice. The museum is vitally concerned with the intersection of photography, new imaging media, and society. Located off campus in downtown Riverside, UCR/CMP is committed to bringing the most challenging art to the widest possible audience. 
 
"UCR students from across the university are involved in every aspect of the museum's program from curatorial research through collections management to exhibition installation and administration. CMP and the other ARTSblock's entities offer many opportunities for professional museum work and students are involved under the aegis of independent course status, internships, work-study, and as volunteers. Still other students utilize CMP as a library-like resource or as a site for art production and experimentation" (CMP homepage).
 
If you need more detailed information regarding the CMP collections please contact the Curator of Collections at cmpcollections@ucr.edu.

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  • Born: Riverside, CA, USA
  • Based: Riverside, CA, USA

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“Chapter 1: Introduction: The Kodak Zone”

Benito Vergara

1995 Book chapter and criticism 5 pages Courtesy of the University of the Philippines Press From Displaying Filipinos: Displaying Filipinos: Photography and Colonialism in Early-20th Century Philippines

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Benito Vergara

b. 1970
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Born and raised in the Philippines, I grew up at the foothills of Mount Makiling in Los Baños, Laguna. I left tropical climes for the freezing winters of Ithaca, New York, as a graduate student, where I found refuge from the cold in the Cornell University library stacks. I moved to California for fieldwork, seeking warmer weather, but spent it instead in the chilly fog of Daly City, California. The result, at least, was a master’s and a doctorate, and the publication of my first two books, Displaying Filipinos: Photography and Colonialism in Early 20th-Century Philippines (University of the Philippines Press, 1995) and Pinoy Capital: The Filipino Nation in Daly City (Temple University Press, 2009).

After almost a decade of teaching Asian American Studies and Anthropology at San Francisco State University and other universities in the Bay Area, I’m now a former academic, managing IT projects for a living, and residing, once more, on a warmer island. My fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in Tin House online, SmokeLong Quarterly, Joyland, Atticus Review, Entropy, and the anthology Philippine Speculative Fiction Volume 7. I’m currently writing a crime novel set in Manila.

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  • Born: Quezon City, Philippines
  • Based: Alameda, CA
  • Also Based in: Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

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Sweet Repose, How the Filipinos Sleep

California Museum of Photography

1898 - 1930 Stereographic Print Dimensions vary Courtesy of the UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California at Riverside Keystone-Mast Collection

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California Museum of Photography

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UCR/California Museum of Photography, a facility of ARTSblock, "provides a cultural presence, educational resource, community center, and intellectual meeting ground for the university and the general public. The museum's explorations of photographic media through exhibition, collection, publication, and the web examine the history of photography and showcase current practice in photography and related media. To serve an audience that is multicultural, young and old, general and specialized, the museum presents programs that recognize the variety and complexity of cultural experience and explore the relationship between traditional expression and contemporary practice. The museum is vitally concerned with the intersection of photography, new imaging media, and society. Located off campus in downtown Riverside, UCR/CMP is committed to bringing the most challenging art to the widest possible audience. 
 
"UCR students from across the university are involved in every aspect of the museum's program from curatorial research through collections management to exhibition installation and administration. CMP and the other ARTSblock's entities offer many opportunities for professional museum work and students are involved under the aegis of independent course status, internships, work-study, and as volunteers. Still other students utilize CMP as a library-like resource or as a site for art production and experimentation" (CMP homepage).
 
If you need more detailed information regarding the CMP collections please contact the Curator of Collections at cmpcollections@ucr.edu.

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  • Born: Riverside, CA, USA
  • Based: Riverside, CA, USA

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In the Heart of a Native Village, Typical of Life in the Tropics. Philippine Islands

California Museum of Photography

1898 - 1930 Stereographic Print Dimensions vary Courtesy of the UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California at Riverside Keystone-Mast Collection

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California Museum of Photography

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UCR/California Museum of Photography, a facility of ARTSblock, "provides a cultural presence, educational resource, community center, and intellectual meeting ground for the university and the general public. The museum's explorations of photographic media through exhibition, collection, publication, and the web examine the history of photography and showcase current practice in photography and related media. To serve an audience that is multicultural, young and old, general and specialized, the museum presents programs that recognize the variety and complexity of cultural experience and explore the relationship between traditional expression and contemporary practice. The museum is vitally concerned with the intersection of photography, new imaging media, and society. Located off campus in downtown Riverside, UCR/CMP is committed to bringing the most challenging art to the widest possible audience. 
 
"UCR students from across the university are involved in every aspect of the museum's program from curatorial research through collections management to exhibition installation and administration. CMP and the other ARTSblock's entities offer many opportunities for professional museum work and students are involved under the aegis of independent course status, internships, work-study, and as volunteers. Still other students utilize CMP as a library-like resource or as a site for art production and experimentation" (CMP homepage).
 
If you need more detailed information regarding the CMP collections please contact the Curator of Collections at cmpcollections@ucr.edu.

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  • Born: Riverside, CA, USA
  • Based: Riverside, CA, USA

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