Island of Thought: Pilipinx Purgatory


When I am with my mother, I am expected to wait. I am expected to exhibit patience. When I’m with another, I am expected to breathe in silence while I give them the time to speak. Our “kapwa” mentality of the shared inner self, reflects in our gathering of large groups and spending many minutes and hours waiting on other people. In Filipino Time, what happens before we are considered ‘late’ to our Western thinkers? Do our Filipinx bodies ‘wait’ on the clock, or do they just float from moment to moment? Lorén Ibach creates a virtual space that imagines a purgatory where the Filipinx consciousness lives, and completely abandons the Western numerical concept of time through creating “tableaux” images of Filipinx bodies “waiting” in a pinxy-purgatory. The “tableaux vivant”, a still living image, establishes the Filipinx body with an  agency to take up space and time for the viewer to become transfixed on. The tableaux protests the Western pace, by living through a still image with no regard to the past, present, or future. The tableaux will be superimposed into a zero-gravity space of floating imager. In the past century, the Filipinx diaspora has stretched themselves along the earth’s land masses and bodies of water, farther and farther away from their homeland. We were never meant to live on one singular mass of land - our DNA was bred across seven-thousand islands to begin with. Our skin, our food, our colonizers were always changing. How do we define a collective Filipinx reality when our diaspora continues to permanently live amongst the globe? This purgatory becomes another nation beyond our physical world, where the entire Filipinx diaspora can upload themselves indefinitely, unanchoring us from our native land, and to exist within the spectrum of identity that we traverse on earth.

Salazar Ancestral House. Circa 1999. General MacArthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines.

3D Model Rendering by Tristan Espinoza. Modeled after an image of Ibach’s Family’s Ancestral House in General MacArthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines. Which has now been demolished.

Exploring themes of domesticity, escapism, death, and ritual - The Ancestral House is a karaoke video installation featuring the song “Dahil Sa ‘Yo” by Pilita Corrales, a famous Filipino pop-singer of the late 50’s and early 60’s. This song was played at Ibach’s grandmother’s funeral, which inspired the karaoke video to be installed on a CRT-TV, surrounded by flora and electric LED tea lights, representing a gravestone or altar, using the real and the faux.

The sounds from the karaoke video leaves a ghostly haunting echo throughout the space that it is installed in. The image of the first part of the video was 3-D modeled by Tristan Espinoza and represents Ibach’s ancestral house in Eastern Samar, Philippines where her mother grew up. This house was eventually bull dozed in the early 2000s and is now an empty lot with a mango tree.

Karaoke, originating from Japan, formed its own culture in the Filipinx diaspora. Karaoke takes form in mimicry, assimilation, and escapism.

The Ancestral House

A Collaboration with Tristan Espinoza


Hand-knitted vinyl tubing and latex balloons: materials brought together inspired by the structure and mechanisms of the respiratory system. This garment functions as an imitation of the intensive labor of our lungs. We take about 12 to 20 breaths per minute subconsciously. Breathing Is Presence is about creating a mindful meditative state that is achieved by paying close attention to our breathing.

Breathing Is Presence