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. 
 

“Chapter 3: Taste of Empire”

Benito Vergara

1995 Book chapter and criticism 19 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, USA
  • Also Based in: Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

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“Chapter 2: Photography and Truth”

Benito Vergara

1995 Book chapter and criticism 10 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
image description
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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.

location

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

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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

contributor

X

Benito Vergara

b. 1970
image description
  • See All Works
  • visit website

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.

location

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

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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 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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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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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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Aguinaldo, the Famous “Insurrecto” with His Son, 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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A Little Fishermaid of Cavite, PI (1929)

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
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Inside a Pleasant Filipino Home—Showing Typical Costumes, Manila, 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

image description
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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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