Research Notes

Udlot-udlot

For 15 Invitations, the Hong Kong-based curator Inti Guerrero presents his research on the work of Filipino experimental musician and composer José Maceda (1917–2004). The exhibition at AAA Library includes archival and audiovisual materials on Maceda, as well as works, short films, and artefacts by Pio Abad, Anand Patwardhan, Jan Švankmajer, and Koki Tanaka to contextualise the concepts behind two major Maceda compositions, including Udlot-udlot (a 1972 large-scale sound performance documented in AAA's The Chabet Archive).

 

14 December 2015

Image: A map of the <i>Udlot-udlot</i> exhibition at AAA Library.
Image: A map of the Udlot-udlot exhibition at AAA Library.

 

Here are some descriptions of the artworks featured in the exhibition:

1. Pio Abad, Untitled, 1986
Reproduction of a photograph from Malacañang Palace
From the project 1986–2012, Manila, 25 Feb 1986
Courtesy of the artist

2. José Maceda, Udlot-udlot, 1975
Images on a computer desktop
Performance at University of the Philippines, Manila, 1975

3. José Maceda, Udlot-udlot, 1975
Musical instruments, musical score, and video documentation of reenactment at Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, 2003
Courtesy of UP Centre for Ethnomusicology, Manila

4. José Maceda, Ugnayan, 1974
Video excerpt, 1', from José Maceda, Kuwardo
Documentary series CCP, 2005
Enlarged cartoon, Philippines Daily Express, 2 Jan 1974
Soundtrack from the album Ugnayan by Maceda, 2009
Radio and archival documents

5. Koki Tanaka, A Piano Played by Five Pianists at Once (First Attempt), 2012
HD video, 57'
Courtesy of the artist
Five pianists enter and sit at a table while a film crew records the event on three cameras. The following instruction is written on a white board: "Rule: to play one piano with all the pianists playing together." The specific theme—a soundtrack for collective engagement—will be given to the pianists when they return the next day to compose the piece live before the cameras.

6. Pio Abad
Ferdinand as Malakas (The Strong One), 2015
Imelda as Maganda (The Beautiful One), 2015
Digital print on canvas in gilt faux bamboo frame
Courtesy of the artist
Reproductions of oil paintings found in the Marcos’ private chambers. In local creationist folklore, Malakas (The Strong One) and Maganda (The Beautiful One) were the primordial couple from which the entire Filipino race is said to originate. According to the most popular form of the story, they enter the world fully formed when a magical bird splits a single stalk of bamboo open, revealing them cradled inside.

7. José Maceda, Ugnayan, 1974
Press clippings from various journals in the Philippines
Courtesy of UP Centre for Ethnomusicology, Manila

8. Jan Švankmajer, The Garden, 1968
B/W film, 15'
Courtesy of the filmmaker and Athanor Film Production Company, Prague
Frank visits his friend Josef, who introduces him to his pedigree rabbits and his wife Mary. Frank is more interested in the slightly unsettling fact that Josef and Mary’s garden fence is made up entirely of living people holding hands. Finally, Frank asks Josef how he manages to keep the fence together.


9. Anand Patwardhan, We Are Not Your Monkeys, 1996
Video, 5'
Courtesy of the filmmaker
This music video reworks the epic Ramayana story to critique the caste oppression implicit in it. Sung by Sambhaji Bhagat and composed by Sambhaji, Anand, and the late Dava Pawar, the work opposes the systematic oppression and negation of basic human rights in the name of mythology.

 
 

1 December 2015

For AAA's 15 Invitations, I have been researching the work of Filipino experimental musician José Maceda. Documentation of Maceda's compositions performed by hundreds and sometimes thousands of people throughout the 1970s can be found in AAA's The Chabet Archive. Here are some images and descriptions of my research:

 

A Visit to the Centre For Ethnomusicology, University of the Philippines, Manila

These files hold an archive of José Maceda's oeuvre. It includes documentation and media clippings on his avant-garde pieces, and research material from his ethnomusicology studies.

Portrait of José Maceda
Image: Portrait of José Maceda, who founded the Centre of Ethnomusicology.
On screen: documentary on Maceda released in the 1990s by the Cultural Center of the Philippines
Image: Documentary on Maceda released in the 1990s by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The Centre at UP is digitising all of its analog and multimedia archives.

 

Finding the Udlot-udlot Archive

The starting point of my project is Maceda's 1975 masterpiece Udlot-udlot, which I first got know while researching The Chabet Archive. These are images from the archive.
 

One of the most intriguing findings was a record of the piece. A musical structure invented by Maceda to segmentise the sounds and rhythms made by hundreds of UP high school students over an entire afternoon who clapped, buzzed, pounded, and blew indigenous Filipino instruments made of bamboo. The structure does not follow any folk melody. It is rather more of a "concrete" sound piece, which back in the day would be described as "new music." All of Maceda's "new music" involved interpreting and experimenting with the sound of instruments coming from different people across the archipelago.
 

When reading Maceda's musical sequence of "Sing, Silence, Sing, Silence, Sing, Silence . . ." it's hard not to think of the silence forced upon civil society during those years of Marcos' martial law. For my project at AAA, I'm particularly interested in how to translate the ways Maceda, like Chabet, navigated their experimental practices between repression and freedom, authoritarianism and avant-garde.

 

The Instruments

Some of the instruments played in the Udlot-udlot piece: kalutang or sonorous sticks, balingbing or buzzers, tongatong or stampers, and ongiyong or flutes.

16 April 2015

Udlot_12
Image: A quick sketch of Udlot-udlot in germination.

Imprint

Author

Inti GUERRERO, 格瑞洛殷迪

Topic
Research Notes
Date
Mon, 14 Dec 2015
Cite as
Inti GUERRERO, 格瑞洛殷迪, Udlot-udlot, Mon, 14 Dec 2015

Relevant content

Roberto Chabet and Ray Albano at the Cultural Center of the Philippines
Roberto Chabet Archive
Collection

Roberto Chabet Archive

AAA Project Space, Archiving Materials
Ideas is AAA's New Online Publication
Press

Ideas is AAA's New Online Publication

Each Monday, Asia Art Archive publishes new essays, interviews, and curated journeys through the research collections

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15 Invitations
Programmes

15 Invitations

Apr 2015–Mar 2017

Image: José Maceda, from the CD cover of Archival Sound Series:
15 Invitations | Inti Guerrero | Udlot–udlot
Programmes

15 Invitations | Inti Guerrero | Udlot–udlot

Dec 2015–Feb 2016