"The Ghost in the Machine" by Goldie Poblador
Cubao, Quezon City
An education guide prepared by: Bianca Isabel Bautista and Jeremy Rotoni
From an Art Criticism Class of Prof. Flaudette May Datuin, Summer 2011, UP Diliman Department of Art Studies
About the Exhibition
“The Ghost in the Machine is Goldie Poblador’s third solo exhibition in which she continues to question the universal and spiritual nature of her urban environment and furthers her exploration of pre-colonial pagan beliefs, a recurring concern in her past works.” – Friday Abbas, exhibit notes
The central piece of the exhibit is the concrete sculptures of two female figures bound together by cloth and cogon leaves surrounded by feather-like cloths on the walls. There is another installation piece in the exhibit entitled Cabinet of Curiosities where amulets, bones, stones dried leaves and various-sized bottles with plants submerged in water. Most of the exhibit consists of glass figurines of various flora and fauna. Oil and watercolor paintings of weeping women and different faces can also be found in the exhibit.
About the Artist: Goldie Poblador
Christina “Goldie” Poblador (b. 1987) took her Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Studio Arts from the University of the Philippines Diliman in 2009. Upon her graduation, she was bestowed Best Thesis for her glass works and her exploration of the theme of ephemerality. Her thesis was also awarded in the 2009 Ateneo Art Awards, where she was the youngest finalist. In the same year, she was part of the group exhibition Thrice Upon A Time: A Century of Story in the Art of the Philippines at the Singapore Art Museum.
Goldie Poblador is proud of her cultural heritage especially to the Philippine pre-colonial culture. In fact, most of her artworks in the exhibit were products of her recollection, inspiration, and fascination with pagan beliefs and culture of some indigenous people. She wanted to share this interest through her artworks. In line with this, the activities and discussions in this education guide are designed to give more value and appreciation to our cultural heritage. Eventually, the students could be able to link the content of exhibition with wider context of Philippine society, culture, and history which are parts of the objectives of this education guide.
About the Education Guide
This education guide is exclusively designed for first year high school students which is tracked with 2010 Secondary Education Curriculum by the Department of Education and patterned after the education guide produced by Vargas Museum in UP Diliman. It also followed the general standards and essentials of MAPEH I (Music, Art, Physical Education, and Health I) and Araling Panlipunan I (Kasaysayan at Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas).
The objectives are:
- To guide users in understanding and appreciating the exhibit and its basic concepts
- To strengthen users’ and viewers’ visual literacy and vocabulary
- To be able to link the exhibit’s content with the wider context of Philippine society, culture and history
To attain these objectives, the teachers must have the passion to teach and encourage the students to participate in discussions and activities.
Plan a schedule for the gallery visit. Do not also forget to give the students a copy of a waiver signed by the principal. It is recommended to coordinate with the gallery owner and inform them about a class visit.
For Araling Panlipunan Teachers:
It is recommended that the teacher must make a discussion and give background on Philippine pre-colonial history, society, and culture before visiting the gallery. The teacher could also talk about some myths and legends for a livelier discussion. Additionally, the teacher may also assign reading materials for the students or they can visit the website given below. It is highly encouraged to read and use these following materials for the discussion:
Agoncillo, Teodoro. “History of the Filipino People.” Quezon City: Garotech Pub., 1990.
Cabag, Ramon. “Quizmaster: Philippine History and Culture.” Quezon City: Katha Pub., 2002.
Fox, Robert. “Pre-history of the Philippines.” Manila: National Museum, 1967.
Guillermo, Ramon. “Ang Kasaysayan at Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas.” Manila: IBON Philippines, 1997.
Lumbera, Bienvenido. “Philippine Literature: A History and Anthology.” Pasig City: Anvil Pub., 1997.
Zaide, Gregorio. “Early Philippine History and Culture.” Manila: The Author, 1937.
“The History of The Pre-colonial Philippines” http://historyoftheprecolonialphilippines.blogspot.com/
After the discussions, divide the class into groups with 6 members each. Have them create a report about a group of indigenous people. The component of their report must contain the following:
- Location and Geographical condition of their place
- Their habitat
- Their religion(s) or belief and discuss it
- Provide pictures to familiarize themselves with how they look like
- Their political system and the structure of their society
After the report, make a story through a short play or any medium of presentation using myths or legends of the chosen tribe/indigenous people.
The grade will be composed of these criteria:
For the report (60%):
For the presentation (40%):
- Clear and coherent (40%)
- Accurate description (30%)
- Use of appropriate terminology (30%)
- Clear tone quality (20%)
- Authenticity (20%)
- Creativity (60%)
For MAPEH Teachers:
The teacher must have already discussed the formal elements of visual arts and the characteristics of sculpture and painting. In class, give the students a long exam for assessment. Do a brief review before the new lesson. If 30% of the class did not pass, it is recommended to discuss it again.
In class, introduce what Installation Art means. Give a brief history and show some works of Installation Artists. Ask the students to watch EEOOY: How-to-make contemporary installation art (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS7U2y8fDrY) on Youtube.
For the new lesson, the teacher must demonstrate and discuss media, techniques, the nature of materials and its limitations. These materials are concrete, glass, watercolor, and oil. The links provided below could serve as visual aid so ask the students watch them on their own time.
“Decorative Concrete Leaf – How to Make Your Own” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuVQyPTDoIg
“Glass Blowing Basics: How to Blow Glass for Base and Missed Sections”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDEzAAQuNO4
Dartington Crystal – Hand Made Glass Blowing Process” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPiCvQ4Swi0
Oil Painting: “Landscape Oil Painting : Landscape Oil Painting Final Foliage Details” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtDp5Iega-4
“Basic Oil Painting Techniques : How to Finish an Oil Painting” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaMDr91NmxQ
Watercolor Painting: “Watercolor Portrait Workshop with Susan Harrison-Tustain” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laTKrKpzrn0
After the lesson, give the students a brief background on gallery or museum. Discuss to them the roles and importance of these institutions to society.
During the Visit
The teacher may ask for assistance from the gallery owner for a walk-through orientation (i.e. rules and regulations inside the gallery, brief history of the gallery, etc). Kindly check if the students have the copy of guide questions. Remind them that the guide questions are just starting points and they could also explore beyond these questions. Ask the students if they have questions regarding any concerns.
- Describe the things you see on The Cabinet of Curiosities. What purposes did the work serve?
- Do you see any representational form in oil paintings? What is the subject matter? What is happening? How are the formal elements composed?
- Are the paper-cuts and watercolor paintings are part of Installation Art? What is your first response to the work? What is the focus of the composition?
- Describe the size and features of glass sculpture and concrete head bust. What does the medium and techniques used indicate? If a different medium was used in creating it, would it have the same effect as the original medium?
- Why are the glass sculptures placed inside a glass cube? Would it be different if they were placed inside a cylindrical glass or any other shape? Is the glass cube also part of the sculpture? Describe the juxtaposition of other glass works.
- In the corner where Goddess of Now and Bird Goddess could be found, would you describe the figures are “godlike”? Why are they connected by cloth and cogon leaves? Why are the feather-like strips on the wall made of cloth? Why not cut-out magazines, plain paper or other materials?
- Do you think that The Ghost in the Machine is site-specific? Will it change meaning or value when it is exhibited in another place?
After the Visit
For Araling Panlipunan Teachers:
- Ask the students to write a reaction and reflection paper about the content of the exhibition in connection with their previous lessons.
- Have the students draw lots for the order of their reports and presentation.
For MAPEH Teachers:
- Ask the students to write a paper about the exhibition. They could use the guide questions as outline for their paper. Remind them again that the guide questions are not necessarily required to be answered and they could also explore beyond these questions.
- In class and for graded recitation, make a discussion by asking these questions:
- How did the artist use the site?
- What spaces did she use and how did she place the works?
- Do you think the placement or layout is appropriate?
- If you were the artist, how do you layout or curate your own exhibit?
- For their final requirement for 1st quarter, assign the class to launch an exhibition by showcasing their own artworks. Do not limit the class by using only one medium and the theme of the exhibition must in connection with the Philippine pre-colonial culture, history, and society. Give the students your available time for consultation regarding the exhibit. The teacher may invite the principal, faculty, other students, or even Goldie Poblador herself to witness the class exhibition.