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April 25, Manila—Mitzi Borromeo of Solar Nightly News interviewed me about The Apocalypse Project: Imagined Futures at The Mind Museum, and featured Climate Change Couture (Singapore and Manila), The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store, and the Apocalypse Commander Badge. I’ll post a link to the interview when it’s available. Scroll down for a link to the video.

Thanks so much to Lisa Nicandro of The Mind Museum for additional support!

With Mitzi Borromeo of Solar Nightly News

With Mitzi Borromeo of Solar Nightly News

with Mitzi Borromeo of Solar Nightly News

with Mitzi Borromeo of Solar Nightly News

The link to the video is here, somewhere past the 30′ mark:

Solar News filming The Apocalypse Project booth during Media Day last month

Solar News filming The Apocalypse Project booth during Media Day last month

Edit: An earlier link mistakenly linked to Solar Network News, instead of Solar Nightly News. Apologies to people who were confused (sheepish glance at SVA’s Communications person who emailed me). 

April 25, Taguig, Philippines—The Apocalypse Project: Imagined Futures is now open for your interactive sensory pleasure at The Mind Museum. I have five exhibits curated by the awesome Maribel Garcia, with the exhibition installation managed by Marge Arciaga, the museum’s assistant exhibition manager (and my former capoeira classmate).

Here are some quick photos of the exhibition:

The show is at the second floor, in the museum’s Technology Gallery.

The Apocalypse Project: Imagined Futures at The Mind Museum

The Apocalypse Project: Imagined Futures at The Mind Museum

Climate Change Couture, volume 2, Manila

Climate Change Couture: Volume 2, Manila

Climate Change Couture: Volume 2, Manila

The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store, a collaboration with Givaudan:

The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store, a collaboration by The Apocalypse Project and Givaudan

The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store, a collaboration by The Apocalypse Project and Givaudan

The Planetary Poetry Board, a collaboration with poets and my friends Alena Widows and Harriet Sandilands:

The Planetary Poetry Board: a collaboration between The Apocalypse Project and poets Alena Widows and Harriet Sandilands of The Poetry Machine

The Planetary Poetry Board: a collaboration between The Apocalypse Project and poets Alena Widows and Harriet Sandilands of The Poetry Machine

More documentation as well as images coming soon! In the meantime, a huge thank you to the museum staff—this was a brutal installation because there were so many exhibits to be installed in one night after the museum’s operating hours, but this was hands down the calmest and cheeriest installation I’ve had. Thank you for the help and for being game with everything!

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(22 March 2014, Manila)—Yesterday, I had a booth at The Mind Museum’s Media Day, where the museum celebrated their second birthday. In the second photo, you can see Maribel Garcia, curator of the museum, and Manny Blas, managing director of Bonifacio Foundation, Inc., speaking about their activities for the year, as well as talk about the museum’s accomplishments in the past two years, including winning the 2014 Thea Award in the Museum Exhibits category by the Themed Entertainment Association. Solar News presenter Mitzi Borromeo hosted the show. (Fun fact: She and I used to go to the same boxing class and just formally met yesterday.)

In the middle of other booths, where the museum’s Mind Movers (resident scientists and all-around awesome people) presented their own projects, I gave people a preview of the show that will open next month (NEXT MONTH! Ayayay.) I wore my Apocalypse suit, now upgraded with a Commander’s patch, and remixed some Climate Change Couture. When taking a break, I helped myself to some salted butter ice cream by Sebastian’s, and a tiramisu cup made to look like a plant by Kyle Imao of Kyle’s Lab.

The show is getting really close and I am freaking out. Only because I care.

On a trip to Corregidor Island, the largest of the island defenses west of Manila and a memorial to the Filipino and American forces that fought the Japanese during World War II, I came across this acacia tree that survived one of the bombings. You can tell—there’s a concrete block still stuck to it.

An acacia tree that survived a bomb explosion. Go, tree, go!

An acacia tree that survived a bomb explosion. Go, tree, go!

Let’s take a closer look.

Close up of the concrete block

Close up of the concrete block

It’s quite a poetic thing to see in an island that has seen both grisly and heroic things.

Some updates from this end of the apocalypse: I am currently working on at least five more projects under this platform. Questions I am asking are: What are disappearing because of climate change? How do we adapt? How can we train ourselves to think deeper about the future of the planet?

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I am working on these while doing a self-directed art/science residency at The Mind Museum, a science museum in Manila. This location seems to be a perfect fit for me for the following reasons:

1. The Philippines is one of the top countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. Unlike Singapore, where this project began and where natural disasters are relatively rare, the Philippines often experiences extreme climate events. I think there will be a lot of opportunities for discussion and learning around this topic, and I am sure these projects will give birth to new projects.

2. The Mind Museum is one my favorite places. I never thought Manila would have anything like this—I started knocking on their doors before they were even built. I had to be based in different countries in the past several years, so I think it’s a wonderful opportunity that I have right now. I really believe that science museums are an important bastion of knowledge and inspiration for a city. The curator and the staff have also been really amazing in terms of supporting my work and giving me constructive critique.

3. A science museum will allow me to reach a lot of children, which I’ve always believed are a crucial part of my audience as an artist/designer. I think the most heartstopping questions and feedback I’ve had in the past have come from five year olds.

4. This is my home city. After living in different countries for the past decade, this is an interesting homecoming of a sort.

I hope to exhibit by late April, which isn’t too far away. At this stage, I am already excited and overworked. It’s always great to have a personal project that consumes you. Check back here for updates!

Hello, apocalypters! Thank you so much for all the support you’ve given The Apocalypse Project, especially Climate Change Couture. I’ve updated the press page with all the links to the blogs and magazines who have featured the project. Many thanks for helping keep the discussion alive.

I’ve been receiving questions from readers, journalists, and friends alike, that I decided to put them together into one FAQ post. I’ve grouped some similar questions together. If you have any more questions, please do reach out.

1. Why the name, “The Apocalypse Project”?

Although it has end-of-the-world connotations, which could be what can happen if we keep mistreating the planet, the word “apocalypse” comes from a Greek word that means “disclosure” or “to take off the cover” or “to unveil”. The Apocalypse Project isn’t solely about potential catastrophic events, it’s also about revealing the face of environmental problems through these projects.

2. How did your project in Seoul influence you to do projects on the environment?

(Pre-apocalypse, I hiked all 43 mountains of Seoul for an installation and community project about the environment. View that project’s website here.) 

Seoul43 was the most physically demanding and personal project I had. I nearly died on a couple of those mountains, and I would not recommend hiking that much in such a short period of time—the staff at The National Art Studio of Korea were definitely worried for me! That project made me witness how human activity was affecting the environment (and vice versa). Don’t get me wrong—I think the Seoul government is doing a relatively great job protecting its mountains and most of the hikers I’ve met were very respectful of the environment. I’ve definitely seen worse in other cities. But some mountains were disappearing or were repurposed as parks or apartment buildings. I wondered if this was ok or not. There is such a big population there that I can understand that they need space. Does that mean it was ok to eliminate a tiny hill or two for the sake of a growing population? Is it ok to make a mountain “bigger” by adding fake soil to it? Is it ok to modernize nature so that we can better take care of it? I still don’t have the answers to that. I usually design my projects around the questions that I’m curious about, which for now are those that are about how we relate to the world.

3. What are your intentions? / Why speculative design? / Is Climate Change Couture a satire? 

I want us all to think about our relationship with the planet and make better choices.  There are many ways by which we can catalyze discussion and take action about these issues. These projects are my own way of doing that.

I chose this type of design (i.e. design that thinks about the what ifs and what could bes) because I want to remove climate change from its usual political strings, which for me sometimes miss the more crucial seeds of a conversation about the environment. With this type of creative platform, I can engage people of all ages and backgrounds. We should think about the planet with respect to our humanity, not in terms of power and money.

Yes, Climate Change Couture is a bit of a satire. The stories that go with them definitely have a tongue-in-cheek tone in them. Remember, these are dystopias—I actually hope that we won’t ever have to use these designs. I wanted to highlight the scenarios we may get ourselves into.

4. Why climate change? Don’t you know it’s not real?

Oh my god.

5. If the Climate Change Couture images are dystopias, why are the photographs beautiful?

Beauty is one of the best ways to get you to look. (P.S. Thanks!)

6. What influenced you? / What is your background?

My background is a bit eclectic. I studied molecular biology and contemporary art, and did my MFA in Interaction Design at SVA. I’ve lived in about five countries, which helped me see that there are many sides to an issue. I feel like I soak up everything around me and I’m inspired by a lot of things, from books to conversations to things I see everyday. I also worked as a journalist, so I’m used to asking a lot of questions. As an artist/designer, I can turn those questions into projects.

7. What was your previous work like? 

My earlier work had to do with interactive projects about our senses. For example, I designed the Hug Vest, which changes color if you hug the wearer; an Olfactory Memoir which is a book of printed smell memories that you can smell; Rorsketch, an illustration project of drawing what I see in clouds, etc. I also started DrawHappy in Iceland a few years ago, which is a project about drawing your happiness.

8. How can I support this project?

If you’d like to:

• collaborate on a project

buy an Apocalypse Patch to help fund the project

• invite me to speak in your school or organization to spread awareness of the project

• share your research on climate change so I can do another project based on your data

• model for one of my projects

• make a donation either in cash or in kind to help bring some projects to life (for example, I need help from a carpenter right about now)

• just drop me a line to offer constructive critique or recommend books/movies/projects/people to check out

…I would be extremely grateful.

9. Where are you now? / What’s next after this?

I’m in Manila working on five projects under The Apocalypse Project and I hope to have my first solo show this April. Check this site for updates.

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