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Bathing in the Currents [trailer]

Bathing in the Currents is a project documenting a stretched collaboration that unfolded uniquely during Russ Ligtas and Szu-Ni Wen’s residency at Ma Umi. Unable to work together in Ishigaki, Russ and Szu Ni turned the constraint into a wonderful opportunity to explore collaboration despite being 1000 km apart. The duo embarked on a comprehensive research in a territory that was previously unfamiliar to them, delving into history and uncharted aspects to broaden their understanding. In between them, the sea transformed into a solid ground to vehicle their thoughts. 

Maria Maria [trailer]

Written and Directed by Russ Ligtas, Maria Maria is an art documentary set in the small fishing village of San Miguel in Zambales, Philippines. The film tells the story of artist Lala Pavilando and her work with a group of queer youngsters during her residency at the Casa San Miguel Center for the Arts in San Antonio. Through their dialogue and fellowship, they find similitude in their trauma and the challenges of living in a conservative patriarchal society. Together, they embark on a journey of healing immersed in art and ritual yet fraught with vulnerability and haunting terrifying memory.

PLUTO [trailer]

PLUTO is a short film created during the global coronavirus pandemic in response to the bypassing of communal grieving rituals due to health protocols. Commissioned by the Casa San Miguel Center for the Arts in San Antonio with the support of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the cinematic meditation opens a metaphysical space for grief. Employing the artist’s roster of alter egos, it  follows the retrieval and restoration of the image of San Miguel (Saint Michael the Archangel)—champion of justice and healer of the sick—the patron saint of doctors, soldiers, and other frontliners.

HOW TO HEAL - a side [trailer]

HOW TO HEAL [a-side] is one of two perspectives documenting the ongoing collaboration between Russ Ligtas and Szu Ni Wen that responds to their nations’ shared imperialist threat—Mainland China. The video chronicles their playful attempt to understand the meaning of solidarity which begins as a fighting call to resistance but ultimately transforms into a quiet surrender towards healing from their historical and personal vulnerabilities. Both a-side and b-side[by Szu-ni Wen] videos are presented at the Affect and Colonialism Web Lab-Berlin.

The Other: Ariel [trailer]

The product of a three-year gestation across residencies in New York, Bali, Bangkok, and Zambales, The Other: Ariel emerges from a climate of fear, dread, and despair. In this performance work, the artist as a spirit channel introduces the alien spirit mermaid Ariel to a live audience. She, along with those who are considered "not like us", brings to the surface the darker realities of a time of a planetary crisis, a murderous drug war, and the global collapse of truth. The piece premiered at the Zambulat Music and Arts Festival in 2020 as the first work from the artist's residency at the Casa San Miguel Center for the Arts in San Antonio.

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