Express Week

Filipino American Museum NYC inaugural, Oct 29

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New York City, Oct. 21 -- The Filipino American Museum (FAM), the first cultural organization focused on examining the connection between contemporary Filipino American arts and the roots and traditions of the Philippine diaspora — will have its debut in New York City on October 29, 2013.

A start-up committed to presenting museum programs in stimulating and unprecedented ways, FAM is dedicated to seeking out what it is to be Filipino in America. In the spirit of a disparate people, FAM’s roving programs serve as a fluid, user-generated, questioning space. A new American story, FAM presents its findings through live performances, exhibits, installations, community forums, online content and otherwise.

To kick off the founding of FAM, the public is invited to participate in a one-night event: a new sound and light performance by Queens-based, Filipino American artist Stephen Decker.

While FAM will focus initially on New York City, it intends to grow the audience slowly and into other local communities. It aims to capture this national voice by serving a broader audience through original programming online.

FAM contextualizes its work within a broader Asian American perspective. In seeking new and exciting work in the Filipino American community, FAM will explore the ways in which that work intersects with broader audiences. The goal is to frame this conversation by asking questions and letting the answers lead the exploration. FAM is focused on bringing these stories to a general audience and capitalizing on the diversity of its founding committee.

“Filipinos in America have been impacting US culture for centuries,” according to Nancy Bulalacao, a founding member of FAM. “The community is diverse, passionate, and distinguishes itself in mainstream culture in ways that I think are not often recognized. FAM intends to capture these stories and weave a narrative that acknowledges the past, present, and future contributions of Filipino Americans in this country.”

The earliest documented arrival of Filipinos dates to 1587 in California. Filipinos make up the second largest Asian American population, numbering at 3.4 million nationwide. Today, Filipinos make their home in all corners of the United States.

FAM’s founding committee is comprised of professionals and individuals from the worlds of the visual arts and museums, fashion, design and film. The advisory board is made up of prominent Asian American cultural leaders that provide guidance and support to the founding committee. Advisors include author and historian Luis Francia, actor Ching Valdes-Aran, and Museum of Chinese in America co-founders Charles Lai and John Kuo Wei Tchen.

 

About the Inaugural Event by Stephen Decker

Stephen Decker's Salvaging the Aether, a one-night sound and light piece will transform Third Streaming, an alternative art space in SoHo, into a conduit for interpenetrating sound signals. From street intercom transmissions to long distance radio frequencies, these amoebic presences will inhabit the space inside the gallery, making audible what is already in the air. Decker’s live orchestration of found and constructed sound will be built around noise-making objects like a short wave radio transmitting Morse code, wind chimes attached to a disco ball motor, and a sub-woofer interacting intimately with baoding balls.

Filipino Americans have made important contributions to alternative music, especially in the development of West Coast hip hop. Beginning in the 1990s, DJ Q-Bert and the Invisibl Skratch Piklz crew were at the forefront of creating sci-fi themed tracks composed of fast-speed record scratching. Their re-purposing of existing material echoes techniques deployed by Decker, and that is common in other Filipino cultural forms like craft arts and building construction, where appropriation is the product of both convenience and expression.

Stephen Decker (b.1987) is an artist currently based in New York. While in attendance at Yale's MFA sculpture program he initiated a number of sound works for radio broadcast on pirate frequencies. Most recently his work has been performed for Listening Room at the Studio Museum Harlem and Crypsis at Distillery Gallery in Boston. 

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