Cajigan | Epidermis


Artist: Rocky Cajigan
Size: Variable Dimensions
Medium: 64 soil samples from the Kadchog Rice Terraces; copper, aluminum, sewing pins, beads, and wood balance scales; cement and rock debris; cotton gauze; acetate and paper prints; threads; dominoes; duct tape
Year: 2019

Artist statement:   “Epidermis”

64 soil samples from the Kadchog Rice Terraces; balance scales: wood, copper, aluminum, sewing pins, beads; cement and rock debris; cotton gauze; acetate and paper prints; threads; dominoes; duct tape; masking tape

2019-2020 “a knowing intimacy or a life” curated by Carlos Quijon Jr. for the Curatorial Development Workshop Exhibitions 2019 Vargas Museum

Epidermis begins by referencing a photograph called “The entrance to Bontoc Pueblo” that Albert Jenks took in 1902 when he was part of the US colonial government responsible for sending over Bontoc Igorots to the Saint Louis Exposition in 1904. The photograph features the Kadchog Rice Terraces in Bontoc, Mountain Province, one of the oldest group of terraces in the region. Rice paddies that exist to this date were identified based on the Jenks photograph and mud samples were collected from each plot with their GPS positions, collected and then later adjusted towards the center of each plot. The number of selected plots total to 64—the total number of squares on a chessboard. The installation’s main component is 64 balance scales spread on the floor on an 8 by 8 grid with scaled distances approximating the GPS positions of the plots as seen on Google Earth. One pan on each balance scale is filled with a unique mud sample from the 64 plots and then balanced on the other pan by road or house construction debris. It alludes to a recent plan to construct an alternate road into Bontoc at the foot of the Kadchog Rice Terraces. The access road raises possibilities of future housing construction on the terrace plots.                   

Epidermis looks at the complexities of place-making and identity: the different land-tilling decisions farmers make even within communal agricultural cycles and rituals may result in soil composition variations even at insignificant levels, like fingerprints. But Epidermis also looks at the precariousness of this event in changes in time. RC

research team: Kar A. Calderon, Lee Law-ed, Melvin Mhazkay, Roger Federico

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