For those at the vernissage on the third floor of SM Aura’s SMX Convention Center last weekend, the art show’s set design invariably comes to mind. Much like a honeycomb, the hexagonal booths for each gallery—Artinformal, Blanc, Finale Art File, Galleria Duemila, MO_Space, The Drawing Room, Underground, Vinyl on Vinyl, West Gallery, and 1335 Mabini—connect, and without overlap. Converging at the center was Art for Taal, which featured the only united body of works by artists from the different galleries. Along with the ticket sales, the proceeds from this collection would go to the St. John Nepomuceno Parish evacuation center for those displaced by the recent eruption.
Without designated points of entry or exit, the setting’s tessellation makes for an interactive type of enclosure. Visitors could both roam and immerse themselves freely and join scheduled series of tours ALT offered throughout the weekend. Called Frame-by-Frame, guides explained the individual contexts of the various galleries, as well as information on their respective artists and artworks. The program also featured a live painting performance by Dex Fernandez on the first day. On the 15th, ALT hosted a forum entitled Dialogues with Tony featuring Jill Paz, Mark Justiniani, and Ling Quisumbing as guest speakers.
All told, ALT was not your usual art show. It didn’t call for just spectatorship. In place of a roadmap for local contemporary art, ALT presented a contiguity of hives—the autonomy of each one for the viewers to discover. It’s this salient proximity in the honeycomb design that embodies ALT’s directive of “reframing.” When it comes to visualizing a space for contemporary art, it could only be an ongoing process. One that we all participate in as we circle about different points-of-view from space to space, frame to frame.
ALT Philippines 2020 ran from February 14–16, 2020 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura, Taguig City.