PAULINE V. DESPI grew up in the gritty suburbs of Manila, PH where she learned to embrace the noise and the textures of the environment that was both her home and playground. Her grandfather’s machine shop and the running river behind it, is both a blaring and tranquil space - two contrasting attributes that parallel evidently in the composition of her works.
Her mixed-media works involve synthesizing percussive and industrial sounds with moving or static imagery and tangible materials; often isolating the elements in a space; expanding the dimension on which the image can be viewed or experienced to create her brand of unique narrative fiction. She has collaborated with fellow visual artists, musicians, dancers and sound artists in various improvised live performances, and exhibits.
A video and sound artist for a studio called ‘The Acid House’. Pauline is also one-half of ‘Sublingua, Submachines’ - a sound/video experimental laboratory she shares with her husband. Their exhibits together include ‘Glass Feathers’, ‘Amniotic’, ‘Music For The Impaired’ (2013 Art Fair Philippines) and “Babel” which was also screened in Kuala Lumpur, London, Montreal, and New York.
She has recently concluded her fourth solo show called ’Wave Form and Eclipses’.
Today she is doing an A/V series "New S1mulation" for Sublingua, Submachines; and pen and ink series "Siamese Snakes".
Pauline on a hike in Mount Makiling gathering information and inspiration for her work.
We paint a picture in our minds that the ‘white' exists because of the black; that ‘ugliness’ is a benchmark for beauty; and that ‘lies’ are extractions from the truth. There is an internal struggle to look for the exact meaning of things for the deeply curious.We beg answers to ‘what is truth if not for a little lie? what is beautiful if you have not seen the ugly? When we were taught to look for truth, kindness, and beauty we are left to our own devices and often it takes time.Pauline Despi waited almost two years to produce a new film. In her new video UNBURY THE MEANING, the artist attempt to draw pictures and write words in a seemingly endless line-work. Perhaps to uncover what is true, ugly or beautiful in her nature and in her art, only to be lost again in the process.
Unbury the Meaning is screened at KLEX 2018. Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video and Music Festival as part of the International Guest Programme.
For Composite By The Numbers, Pauline assembled a piece that is based on time and the number 4. For four months at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, a new set of data is released by the DOH showing the rising death tolls, recoveries and new cases of Covid-19 in the Philippines. Bringing the total number of cases to forty thousand on July 4th. A few days from now will be our fourth month of being in quarantine. Four gruelling months of living in constant fear worrying about how the next few days or weeks will look like for all of us. We count the days without looking forward to what is going to come. What used to be will never be like it was. With people losing their jobs and savings; families losing loved ones; and for most of us, losing our freedom. 4 O’Clock is the wave of fear sweeping over us translated into sound.
Track name: 4 O’Clock (feat. Anjeline De Dios)
Date created: 2020 July 4
Sample rate: 44.1 Khz 4/4
4 notes 4 loops / 4 voices
Inspired by Yayoi Kusama's retrospective exhibition in Japan feat her works from early 1950s to the most recent ones, Pauline saw how Kusama evolved as a person and as an artist. Yayoi Kusama's work from the 70s to 80s strike Pauline as a period of revelation, self-discovery, passion and extreme sensuality. It was a period of obsession, of grief and pain from being deeply inlove; where she planted herself with her limbs growing; releasing her spores into the world; her polka dots.
AUTOMATIK DREAM MASHEEN
Part of NEW WEAVE Exhibition
National Museum of Singapore
for Singapore Art Week 2021
(Collaborative work as Sublingua, Submachines)
Ivan and Pauline Despi
Collaborative work with Ivan Despi
for ManilArt 2013 (Pablo Gallery)
Collaborative video & choreography
with Dear Prudence
Collaborative work with Ivan Despi
for Art Fair Philippines 2013
Urban Art Installation, Ayala Museum site
A Steady, Wavering Tone, is a response to Tin F Garcia’s politically-charged A Sovereign Tea Party, the first exhibit in the series. For this exhibit — Pauline’s third solo show — she creates an immersive experience that combines sound, touch, and movement. She rigged Tin’s existing works with mics and sensors (which were done in collaboration with analog synth maker Mark Rambo), turning the works into instruments. Pauline is, in effect, sculpting the atmosphere using her art. With its aural explorations, A Steady, Wavering Tone represents a new direction in Pauline’s art, which used to primarily involve video.
Whereas A Sovereign Tea Party explored territorial disputes from a distance, A Steady, Wavering Tone makes that conflict more palpable. The two main installations in the exhibit — “This Lot Is Not For Sale” and “Tao Po” — create live aural feedback whenever the viewer interacts with them.
Pauline also scattered pebbles around the works, which recalls the practice of scattering stones around private property to deter intruders. By creating pieces that respond to the viewer’s movements, Pauline brings a strong, visceral currency to the space.
The sound could be interpreted as warning sirens, or calls to action. Or signals for help. When the viewer moves away, the sound dies down. This presents an interesting dilemma: that urgency relies on a person’s proximity to become palpable, to become real.
March 2 to 23, 2019 at PABLO GALLERY - The Fort.