SMS Double Barrel

Performance + Installation + Single-Channel Video

SMS Double Barrel is a interdisciplinary piece created for the curatorial project of Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez, entitled Pagtitipon/Gathering. SMS Double Barrel comprises a performance act across distance using the semaphore flag messaging system that was used in the maritime industry in the 19th century. The international peace sign ☮, that represents letters ”N” and “D” in a circle, signifies the two words “Nuclear Disarmament” is one of the best know semaphore signals

On this day, 3 August 2013, I had the image from my dream that the rooftop of the Henry Sy building transformed into a big ‘banca’ (boat), in a sea with other bancas (rooftops) in the urban cityscape. Although the Henry Sy building was initially designed in the image of a tree, I have interpreted it as a naval vessel, where Manila swims in floodwaters during Monsoon rains and typhoon Maring. On this boat, the performance entails viewers to look through my ‘double barrel’ binoculars installation, across to my alter ego on Burgundy Tower building signaling back. In this project, body movements and extensions are used as a transmitter of codes. These codes/messages are free of the emotional and cultural biases of social behavior. The semaphore flag signal system goes on to question digital versus analogue communication within this fast-paced society, filled with high-tech devices. This performance investigates and questions of social face-to-face interaction versus the virtual.

This consists of a performance of flag signalling from one building to another. The artist stands atop a 30-storey building and uses flag signals for a video shoot taken from across another building. The next day atop the building across, the video is played on a phone screen installed at the end of the ‘double barrel’ sculptural binoculars, installed to face the building rooftop where the artist will have performed a day earlier. An earlier segment of the performance consists of flag signaling from one building back to the other. The act confuses the viewers and mingles the real with the simulation.