Boysen KNOxOUT Project Edsa

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Jose Tence Ruiz's thoughts on his artwork for BOYSEN KNOxOUT Project: EDSA

June 21 2011 -

I’ve worked alongside curator Marian Pastor-Roces on two occasions, one in 2004 at a Conference for the Singapore Biennial and again, in 2011 for the BOYSEN® KNOxOUT Project: EDSA. While this is purely serendipitous, at around the time of both intersections, a massive Tsunami came and wrought havoc on our earth. In 2004, it was the December 26 Indian Ocean tsunami and this year, it was the March 11 tsunami that hit the northeastern part of Japan.  While purely coincidental, both tragedies have forced my world view into a fractal filter: I have had to see humanity as a dynamic but smaller unit in a larger process, namely, the Earth and its natural seismic shifts, and that these tsunami were never retributions but merely the unfolding of things larger than our human conceit would like to concede.  Often enough.

The late digital pioneer Al Manrique turned me on to fractals in 1999, through his own exploration of digital iteration and through his massive collection of software-generated patterns built upon select algorithms. Before I was aware of fractals, I dabbled with the Golden Section and Fibonacci’s Numbers, hoping for a key to approximating the deep and somehow magical beauty of European Masters. I still relish their mystic efficacy.
 
In the 90s, under the spell of the Russian Matryoshka, I may have done a fractal work, my Door to Door of 1995 which showed balikbayan boxes in a diminishing array. I am always haunted by Bach and Albinioni, who I have always suspected had intuitive fractal scales to their compositions.
 
My work of the noughties brought me to the reconstruction of Gothic cathedrals, with their iterating spires and naves. I even have an acrylic of a tower that evolves from Muslim to Romanesque to Gothic inflections, as a parallel to the fractal unfolding of religious history, particularly in Europe from whence the main religion of contemporary Filipinos emerged, a by-product of ruminating on 9/11.
 
Fascinating as they were, fractals were never really in the front of my consciousness, until months ago, when, winnowing through my 46 proposals for a large painted public image, Marian suggested I re-examine them as a more fascinating alternative to the now perfunctory dolphins and whales. Explore them I did, re-acquainting myself with Pingala,  Leonardo Fibonacci and Benoit Mandelbrot. I also discovered (in this age of broadband, a fractal network as dense as one might imagine) the portfolio of Haekel and his intuitive proposal that many wondrous marine forms were fractal iterations, imbued with an evolving self-similarity. At around this time, I had also texted a good friend that her show to me felt really ‘ganap’ and voila, the picture that I needed for my BOYSEN® KNOxOUT proposal beamed into view, vivid and focused. I framed the word ‘ganap’ with a dense aggregate of spellbinding marine fractals, keeping in mind that many of them were delights that many a Filipino enjoyed when vacationing along our shorelines in summer: Jellyfish, conches, coral, barnacles, starfish, mollusks, brittle stars, crustaceans, nautili. And the word ‘ganap’ did not only suggest visual titillation from rekindling these jewels in memory; it also meant being privy to larger yet sobering acceptance of our relationship with the the oceans, not only as showcases of zoological awe but also on occasion, as a horrifically larger forces that wrought what we might call tragedy, but were only a function of being in our cosmos, with all its overwhelming and majestic phenomena.
 
Ganap na kariktan, Ganap na pag-unawa.