Merv Espina (Philippines) is an artist and researcher based in Quezon City, Metro Manila. His practice involves moving images, sound, performance, and text, to play with the lapses of cultural institutions, mistakes of current historiography, and the problematics of archives. His interests span the half-life and migration of ideas, images, sounds and spices, and how they sometimes became an essential part of localities and specific cultural landscapes. Traversing 60s Pop Yeh Yeh ecologies to failed nation states, spycraft and espionage to the white rajahs of Sarawak, Badjao gypsy electro to distilling the scents of cities, his projects attempt to tease out propositions and alternatives, through off-tangents and fuzzy juxtapositions, aimed at new knowledge production.

Merv helps run Green Papaya Art Projects, an independent arts initiative founded in 2000 that’s slated to close in 2021. He’s also one of the organisers of WSK Festival of the Recently Possible (founded in 2008), an experimental music and media art festival. In 2014, he started the Kalampag Tracking Agency with artist Shireen Seno, an initiative that explores the screening program as participatory archive of Philippine experiments with the moving image. He was part of the curatorial team of SUNSHOWER: Contemporary art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now (2017) at the Mori Art Museum and National Art Centre Tokyo, the largest survey of Southeast Asian artists to be exhibited in Japan. More recently, he was one of the curators of VIVA EXCON 2018, the longest-running arts biennial in the Philippines. An upcoming exhibition is Motions of this Kind at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London in April-June 2019.

With support from

Mercedes Zobel


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Please note all artist-in-residence biographies are accurate at the time of their residency. For up-to-date bios please visit the artist’s website.