OOTD

NUNU Fine Art 2016

ABOUT — An acronym which stands for “Outfit of the Day,” the phrase has recently become a ubiquitous tag in social media and fashion blogs, indexing clothing and apparel brands and celebrating the entire culture of its consumption. When adopted to a collection of visual artworks that transform ethnographic records of highland peoples into a parody of fashion photography and advertisements through a mobile application, all the more the layers of meanings and associations resonate with the intersections plotted by the artist in this latest project he had embarked on—the intersections of ethnography, consumer society, and virtual technology.

 

Keb Cerda presents two sets of imagery: the first one being faithful reproductions of old ethnographic photos of the mountain peoples of the Philippines; the second, on the other hand, shows different fashion articles reminiscent of print advertisements. The two sets are linked through the use of a mobile-based application called Omniscope, which merges the images in the two sets of works and reveals texts composed of parodied brand names. In this process, peoples often construed as traditional and primitive enter the realm of the hip and the cool, the flashy and trendy, and become a curious visual presence in the consumerist and global market system.

 

Another playful take of the artist on popular and mass culture, the exhibition reflects on a society, both its virtual and real form, and its obsession with branding and labelling: the premium placed on signature names and its declaration on social media opening up notions of status symbol, exclusivity, and privilege. It the very same society that frames the consumption of goods and services as a semblance of choice in a supposedly free society. It is a society that was, in its colonial era, constructed as uncivilized by its colonial masters, incapable of producing great feats, but now takes pride in being the social media capital of the world. The irony lies very much in the incomplete and unresolved process of modernization, its contradictions and open-ended questions popping up each time a figure in the paintings here is scanned by mobile technology.