Journeys across the Philippine archipelago: co-performative accounts of disaster and resilience

The intersections of performance, disaster, and resilience.

What does it mean for people to live in a country with 7,100 islands, beyond the fact that the cultures in these islands differ one from the other? Is there such a thing as an archipelagic consciousness? If this consciousness be seen as necessarily about ties, rather than separation despite the physical barriers of seas or mountains, what practices/objects/documents/monuments/events embody this consciousness and in the process also shape it? What creative/ expressive/artistic products/practices/traditions/performances are sustained or made and why?

These practices might be counter-intuitively thought as ways by which people live life on the islands always on their own terms, which means they always already prove the limits of even an archipelagic mode of consciousness. How then do we make sense of the much touted ‘Filipino resilience’ in what Greg Bankoff (2003) calls ‘cultures of disaster’ in the archipelago?

These are some of the questions and provocations explored in a paper that draws straight from actual journeys across the Philippines, conducted from the end of March to late July 2015 for the project ‘Fluid States Philippines: On tilted earth: performance, disaster, and resilience’.

Navigating a sea of stories using performance as rudder, the paper will be a sharing of the experience of the journeys and gatherings, as well as a critical and reflexive afterword on ‘findings’ from the project as performance research and on the methodology of travel across the multiple spaces of the archipelago, especially as it addresses the intersections of performance, disaster, and resilience.