TROPHY - video
“… American colonial rule shaped the early history of sports in the Philippines. Apart from the bureaucracy, players from various religious, business, and other private-interest groups also played important roles. For instance, the government’s Bureau of Education embodied the philosophy of ‘body-building as nation-building’ while the Protestant YMCA pursued its goal of instilling ‘muscular Christianity’; both played crucial roles in introducing sports and physical education and fostering their importance among the ‘weak’ Filipinos.” – Lou Antolihao, 'Playing with the Big Boys: Basketball, American Imperialism, and Subaltern Discourse in the Philippines'
A site-responsive video-installation that narrates the story of a Philippines basketball player receiving ‘sweat-salt’ onto his open wound. The video and audio were recorded at the University of the Philippines and elementary school, established by the American administration in 1908.
Central to the work is the players’ sweat collected during the basketball games of a local community in Manila, later processed and crystalized into 'sweat-salt' that evokes ideas of collective labour, tension and physicality. The video’s narrative of pain and 'sweat-salt' entering the basketball player’s blood stream, simultaneously investigates the language of symbolism by subjecting an iconic of struggle through unseen intervention - the arm with clenched fist which resembles a trophy, was filmed in a horizontal position that suggests the fallen. It is then projected onto a vertical wall, forming a seemingly victorious posture. With this, the 'sweat-salt' appears being ‘propelled’ or ‘fired’ towards the wounded arm. The work corrupts the sense of resistance affiliated with the icon of victory.
In collaboration with Ericson Velez and basketball community of Bagong Silang, Caloocan, Metro Manila, Philippines
Media: Single–channel video; 5.1–channel sound.
Duration: 2 minutes 6 seconds.
Sweat-collection with Bagong Silang basketball community
From sweat to ‘sweat-salt’
Filming at University of the Philippines