Benilde Open Design And Art 2024 Explores The Curious Mindset 

The Benilde Open Design and Art 2024 gives creatives of all kinds the opportunity to see their ideas and projects come to life. 

Curiosity is the driving force behind some of the world’s greatest innovations and creative discoveries. It’s a part of the evolutionary DNA that’s enabled our species to survive and progress. This desire to learn and discover lets us to envision a future of possibilities despite the many challenges present in the world today. 

It’s this curiosity that lies at the heart of De La Salle College of Saint Benilde’s (DLS-CSB) Benilde Open Design and Art 2024. The new program comes in celebration of the school’s 35th year. The university invited creatives of all kinds—from visual artists to textile designers, playwrights to chefs, and even lighting designers—to submit proposals of projects that have not seen the light of day. 

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Panelists received 324 proposals from creative practitioners and Benilde students across the country. They then selected 10 proposals for the Benilde Open category and 17 student proposals for the Best of Benilde category. 

Each chosen project is a testament to the richness and depth of the Filipino imagination. They will also take part in a culminating exhibition from May 23 to June 30, 2024 at several spaces in De La Salle College of Saint Benilde – Design + Arts Campus, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) Manila, and Hub for Innovation.

Benilde Open Selected Proposals 

The grantees of each chosen proposal in the Benilde Open category received Php 300,000 to help bring their projects to fruition. In addition, there is one special mention that received full funding from a private donor in the amount of Php 300,000. Below are the 10 entries and special mention for this year’s edition of the program.

Tropikalye by Nice Buenaventura and Costantino Zicarelli 

Tropikalye is an online index of photographs and text highlighting the accidental intersections of contemporary Philippine aesthetics and the everyday from the vantage point of the street. It is a portmanteau of the words “tropical” and the Tagalized Spanish “kalye”. A popular trend in the index, color-cooling, is the use of mint green on architectural and related surfaces — “malamig sa mata.” 

Nightingales by RJ Fernandez 

Nightingales acknowledges the presence of Filipinos in the UK’s National Health Service. Filipinos are the third largest nationality working under the UK’s health service with over 40,000 and more in the private health sector. 85 percent of nurses trained in the Philippines work overseas.

The filmmaker engages and collaborates with three Filipino nurses from East Sussex through an observational documentary video that shows their daily life, as well their horticultural activities as they learn to grow food in a community garden. The nurses receive technical training in video documentation and have 10 to 12 days to document their daily life. Creative activities that revolve around food are ways of welcoming a demographic that have not historically engaged with the arts.

Stakeholding: Chapter 1, A Developing Tabletop Game by Lyra Garcellano 

Stakeholding explores the various features of the contemporary art and culture world. It involves the players making fun, easy, and occasionally complex decisions in hypothetical scenarios. The game proposes discussions and conversations that take off from philosophical queries, such as: How do we design a new art world? How can we chart our journey? How can we be mobile in that path? What do we do when we collide with other worlds or communities – do we occupy and conquer or do we cooperate and collaborate? 

Art by Lyra Garcellano

RE-MOVE: Unraveling truths behind the spectacle of indigenous exposition through the contemporary performance lens by Aaron Kaiser Garcia

RE-MOVE retraces the history of the Filipino body all the way back to the first Human Zoo in 1989. The Filipino body holds centuries-worth of stories about resistance and triumph against colonial oppression and exploitation. As time passes, memories fail—yet oftentimes, the body remembers. The project aims to highlight how colonial infrastructures remove cultural artifacts from our indigenous communities; and in response to this removal, Garcia shows how we recreate, reimagine, and re-move bodies to shine a light on this spectacle of indigenous exposition and exploitation. 

Aaron Kaiser Garcia in RE-MOVE

Exploring the Use of Philippine Silk in Tausug Pisyabit Weaving by Rambie Lim

Lim proposes to bridge the gap between suppliers, dyers, and weavers to possibly bring about the renaissance of traditional Tausug [a Muslim ethnic group from the Sulu Archipelago in the southwestern part of the Philippines] textiles by working with weavers from Padirna Sanaani of Parang, Sulu and Ruhina Muhaimer of Maimbung, Sulu. Tausug weavers used silk threads from Chinese traders as early as the 15th century, creating textiles for traditional clothing like the pis (men’s headscarf), kambut (stole belt) and the turung (shawl or shoulder coverings). 

Rambie Lim

Through the passage of time, the island’s long conflict, and the changes of trade – imported silk threads are no longer available and weavers use acrylic and polyester threads from Jolo’s Textile Market. Through the Rurungan Sa Tubod Foundation, the designer has been researching and experimenting on how to adapt traditional weaving and dying techniques to find solutions. 

Unraveling Baguio’s Inner Tapestry: A Psychogeographical Exploration Through Sensory Encounters by Gabe Mercado 

Unraveling Baguio’s Inner Tapestry employs creative interventions and collaborative practices to deconstruct dominant tourist narratives, engaging participants in a critical and embodied understanding of the city’s multifaceted identity. Through unscripted walks, a team of artists and explorers with experience in psychogeography, sound art, photography, performance, knitting, design, architecture, and poetry will guide the exploration. 

Gabe Mercado

Maria, Maria by Lala Monserrat in collaboration with Russ Ligtas, Geric Cruz, and Jazel Kristin 

Maria, Maria is a conversation between the resident artists of Casa San Miguel Center for the Arts in the coastal town of San Antonio, Zambales and a spirited group of young locals of the LGBTQ community residing in Barangay San Miguel. The project lends itself to the fostering of collaborative work and collective care for artists and the public by creating a safe space within the intersections of art, community engagement, and cultural mapping through performance, photography, film and sculpture. 

Lala Monserrat and her team

Cosmic Garden by Issay Rodriguez 

Cosmic Garden establishes an empathic connection between human perception and the creative interpretation of data. By merging art and technology, Rodriguez seeks to inspire curiosity and explore innovative solutions that foster positive impacts. The project asks: How can the synergy of art and agriculture 4.0 technologies drive innovation towards positive outcomes rather than instilling fear? Inspired by the phrase, “as above, so below”, the artist aims to evoke the intricate relationship between the universe and earthly gardens, exploring it through the unique perspective of bees. 

Developing Puppetry in the Philippines by Mikayla Teodoro 

Developing Puppetry aims to introduce new puppetry arts to help the country become a puppetry hub in Southeast Asia. They explore advanced mechanisms in the craft, training local puppet makers to create complex puppet joints. Puppeteers then test these prototypes to refine them until they are up to standard before creating a fully-realized puppet.

Mikayla Teodoro

CURIOUS: Spotlight on Filipino Sign Language (FSL) Literature by Michael Vea 

CURIOUS focuses on integrating FSL Literature within the landscape of Philippine literary arts through a pioneering creative signing workshop and an exhibition featuring works from five Deaf literary fellows. It seeks to intricately blend craftsmanship with technology, manifesting through the creation of innovative literary works in FSL that enrich the experience of the Filipino Deaf community. 

SPECIAL MENTION: Baluy Manghagdaway, A Functional Installation Art Created in Collaboration with the Umayamnon Community of Barangay Mandahican, Lambagan and Mandaing Municipality of Cabanglasan by Errol P. Balcos 

Baluy Manghagdaway is about a visual artist’s advocacy for the rights of corn gleaners as Indigenous Peoples. Must public art, such as installations, be in parks in urban areas? If installations can be in remote areas such as corn farms, can one make them functional and livable for the Umayamnon? Can other communities of gleaners in Bukidnon replicate them?

Errol P. Balcos

Best Of Benilde Selected Projects 

The students whose proposals made it to the Best of Benilde category receive full curatorial support to help make their visions a reality. Below are the 17 entries for this year’s edition of the program: 

Designing Space for Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Ryan Jacobson’s Can you Survive Dracula by Louisa Ray Cagaligen 

Cagaligen explores an immersive, stylized exhibition space for a reimagining of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Ryan Jacobson’s Can You Survive Dracula? The designer aims to allow the audience to explore their dark side and satisfy their curiosity by acting as the main character, Jonathan Harker.

Louisa Ray Cagaligen

The Local Identity by Xandrix Antaso Corpuz, Jr.

The Local Identity is an open service directory that brings together emerging creative practitioners. It serves as a comprehensive catalog for quality service at fair rates through an accessible app platform. 

Xandrix Antaso Corpuz, Jr. and team

Ang Paglipad ng Saranggola sa Aplaya by Danielle Cusi 

Ang Paglipad ng Saranggola is an unrealized film thesis project about Diane’s beloved Mangyan friend, Rosie, whose dream is to complete her education. Set in Oriental Mindoro, where Diane spends annual summer breaks with her grandmother, she learns that Rosie made the sacrifice to live far away and work as a domestic helper to support her family. 

Danielle Cusi

Hugo: A Smart Pillow for Self-Regulation by Asia Entico 

Hugo is a non-invasive, non-pharmacological device that stimulates the vagus nerve through vibrations. The vagus nerve operates under the autonomic nervous system & prompts the “rest and digest” system, helping regulate most bodily functions and bringing our nervous system back to a zone of safety. 

The objective of this project is to effectively bring down the fight-flight response of people who have trouble self-regulating through a non-invasive therapeutic device. Hugo is intuitive, comfortable, and provides immediate relief from symptoms of fight-or-flight. 

Asia Entico

Hustlers by Gela Mae C. Gamil 

Hustlers is a platform for freelance physical laborers – such as electricians, locksmiths, carpenters, or welders – to connect with clients through a phone app for home and related services.

Gela Mae C. Gamil

Everglow Art Retreats by Veronica Landig 

Everglow Art Retreats is a fully inclusive yoga and art center that focuses on bridging the gap between the desire to move, create, and just diving deep into it. Landig combines movement through dance and theater with simple yoga sequences, introducing them as play through emotional prompts, paint materials, and canvases as tools that encourage creativity. The process removes all barriers through guided journaling or meditation. 

Veronica Landig

Biyahe: Design of a Board Game for Visual Impaired Filipinos by Pia Maghirang

Biyahe develops a game for the therapy sessions of children who are visually impaired. Its research includes conducted interviews with occupational therapists, a pediatric ophthalmologist, and other individuals who are knowledgeable about the community.

Pia Maghirang

PXXXXXXPORN.JPEG by Earl John Marquez 

PXXXXXXPORN.JPEG is an AR exhibition about the system of consuming poverty porn made by content creators, raising more awareness on the issue among young adult netizens. 

Earl John Marquez

Sinulid 2023: Renascence by Earl John Marquez, Rexcel Cariaga and Dars Juson

Sinulid 2023 is a video production and hybrid exhibition that features fashion design collections by 11 students. They seek to tell stories about social and environmental issues, heritage, and culture.

Project Noir by Camille Jay Pinton 

Project Noir commits to address environmental and social challenges in the Philippine fashion industry. It does this through a curated collection of clothing that uses sustainable practices at every stage of its production process.

Camille Jay Pinton and team

Gender Reveal by Brian Ilustrisimo Razon 

Gender Reveal is an exhibition which aims to explore the intricacies of the human gender, celebrate the art of drag, and promote gender equality. This multimedia exhibition features new work on performance, photography, and sculpture. 

Brian Ilustrisimo Razon

STUDEN.SITE (Student Residences Website) by Jonas Roque 

STUDEN.SITE is a portmanteau of the words student and den, with “den” being a synonym for home. StuDEN is a website platform for up to date, verified, affordable housing options in the vicinity of Taft Avenue. It simplifies the search process by providing necessary details about amenities, nearby facilities, and pricing. It also addresses the concern of parents who are unfamiliar with the Taft area and looking for suitable accommodation for their children.

Jonas Roque

Surreal Portraits by Akira Watanabe 

Surreal Portraits is a photography exhibition on experimental, creative and surreal portraiture. 

Akira Watanabe

PROJECT C.H.A.R.L.I.E (Computerized Hotel Assessment Responder and Learning Intelligence Engine) by Liezel Ann Nierves, Glaeor Magne Dominguez, and Mariana Julian Bernal, with faculty mentor Alejandro Hector Reyes 

PROJECT C.H.A.R.L.I.E learns hotel guests’ profiles, observing their behavior and remembering preferences for products and services that a hotel’s facilities are capable of providing. The rooms and facilities virtual assistant directs any guest request to the hotel systems, and records information to provide customized services in the guests’ future bookings and occupancies.

Project C.H.A.R.L.I.E

Ballpark (Benilde All-Purpose Parking) by Jonas Fabian Roque, Shane Mariel Figuerra, Charles Cedric Quianzon, John Patrick Pascua, and Maria Abigail Uson 

Ballpark is a creative parking facility that promotes green mobility. Through the use of a vertical space in a small lot and the implementation of an automated hydraulic multi-level parking system, grantees will dedicate the remaining space to reverse vending machine, electric bike chargers, and a rainwater catch basin. Users can conveniently access the facility with a paperless ticket through the online ticketing system. 

Layag by Jasmine Fiona Tan, Sofia Anjelik Barrion, and Ynes Sofia Manguerra 

Layag designs a pavilion to promote the economic and cultural industries of the Zamboanga Peninsula. The word layag, which means “to sail,” references the pavilion’s inspirations of abundant water and colorful vintas. With thoughtful visual displays, merchandising, and storytelling through interior design, Layag is able to uniquely promote Zamboanga arts, crafts, tradition, and cultural heritage. 

Team Layag

The Kid in Me by Jasmila Clarisse San, Mary Julianne Capistrano, Mary Joy Velarde, Alfred Alavar, and Nicus Villaluna 

The Kid in Me is an interactive book that delves into the phenomenon of the inner child. The project is for young passionate creatives, taking them on a step-by-step journey of self-development through augmented reality feature illustrations, a website with a digital copy of the illustrations, and related multimedia collaterals. 

The Kid in Me team

Heidi Bucher: and pull yesterday into today 

The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) Manila will also be opening Heidi Bucher: and pull yesterday into today. The special exhibition will feature the oeuvre of renowned Swiss artist Heidi Bucher (1926 to 1993) as part of Benilde Open Design and Art 2024

The exhibition comes to the Philippines after two successful outings at key exhibition spaces Art Sonje Center in Seoul, Korea and the Red Brick Museum in Beijing, China. Manila will have the honor of serving as the final leg of the artist’s Asian sojourn. 

Bucher is one of the most important and groundbreaking artists of the international neo-avant-garde. She initially trained as a dressmaker, studying fashion and textiles at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts under Johannes Itten, a key member of the Bauhaus movement. However, Bucher’s practice developed and extended well beyond textiles, encompassing architecture, spatial installations, drawings, sculptures, and collaborative performances. 

Untitled (1955, oil on canvas, 8.27 x 12.01 inches)

Bucher’s genderless body sculptures Bodyshells and Bodywrappings highlighted her initial fascination with the interplay between art and fashion, which emerged in California in the early 1970s.The Production Design students from DLS-CSB and MCAD will reproduce these wearable sculptures in collaboration with The Estate of Heidi Bucher. A series of performances by the Bachelor in Performing Arts, Major in Dance program students wearing these sculptures will occur throughout the show, as well. 

Das Audienzzimmer des Doktor Binswanger (Sanatorium Bellevue, Kreuzlingen) [The Audience Room of Doctor Binswanger], 1988, gauze, fish glue, and latex/Photo by CJY Art Studio

Exciting Programs For The Public

Audiences looking to immerse themselves in these innovative exhibitions can stay tuned for schedule announcements of the Benilde Open Design + Art public programs from May 23 to June 30, 2024 through its respective social media platforms. 

The sons of Swiss artists Heidi Bucher—Indigo and Mayo—will also be present in a conversation on their mother and their experiences managing her estate. DLS-CSB will also be offering weekly guided tours for free to the public for the Benilde Open, Best of Benilde, and Heidi Bucher: and pull yesterday into today exhibitions. 

The Benilde Open grantees and Best of Benilde students have a line up of talks and activities related to their proposals, such as puppetry, psychogeography, performance, fashion, and board games. There will also be Fireside chats on creative courage, grant proposal writing, women in design and architecture, and creative industry unicorns. In addition to that, Benilde faculty will host workshops on printmaking, prosthetics, intellectual property, and lesson plan design with exhibitions, open to students, faculty, and non-Benildeans. 

Benilde Open Selection Committee 

A committee of distinguished practitioners from various local and international creative industries worked together to shortlist and select proposals for the Benilde Open and Best of Benilde categories:

Jonathan Gander, PhD 

Gander is head of the School of Creative Industries LASALLE College of the Arts, University of Arts Singapore. He is the author of Strategic Analysis: A Creative and Cultural Industries Perspective published by Routledge. He has been an academic for over 20 years, also teaching in management schools in the UK. 

Jonathan Gander

Alexie Glass-Kantor 

Glass-Kantor is a curator, an advocate for the arts, and the executive director of Artspace, Sydney. She was also a former curator of the Australian Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale. She is the current curator of the Encounters section of Art Basel Hong Kong. 

Alexie Glass-Kantor

Mara Hermano 

Hermano is the vice president for Institutional Research and Planning in Boston College. She was the founding vice president of Integrated Planning at the Rhode Island School of Design. Earlier in her career, she served as special assistant to the dean of the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. 

Mara Hermano

Paul Pfeiffer 

Pfeiffer is an internationally-acclaimed multidisciplinary artist. A retrospective of his work—Paul Pfeiffer: Prologue to the Story of the Birth of Freedom—is on view until June 2024 at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles, California, USA. 

Paul Pfieffer

Erwin Romulo

Romulo is a multi-awarded writer, editor, music producer, composer, and creative consultant. He has consistently received awards from the Young Critics Circle, Gawad Urian, and FAMAS, among others, for best in sound and aural orchestration and best musical score for his numerous collaborations with respected, award-winning film directors Lav Diaz and Erik Matti. 

Erwin Romulo

Pauline Suaco-Juan

Suaco-Juan was former executive director of CITEM (Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions) Philippines.

Pauline Suaco-Juan

Ikko Yokoyama

Yokoyama is the lead curator of Design and Architecture at M+ Hong Kong, China.

Ikko Yokoyama

DLS-CSB presents the Benilde Open Design and Art 2024 in synergy with De La Salle University and the Embassy of Switzerland. Other exhibition partners are Friend of Benilde Open Design + Art, Philippine Airlines, Malayan Insurance, Uratex, Lopez Memorial Museum, and POWER MAC Center.

Photos courtesy of De La Salle College of Saint Benilde.

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