Reblog: John Levi Masuli’s Notes on Angelo Suarez’s “Materializing free time: Notes towards a new constructivism”

‘To conceive of [the radical autonomy of art] as a mere ‘privilege’ is to snatch it from the social and place it within the realm of the individual and the universe of his/her labor – each of us with our own little, private rebellions.’

Thorough take by John Levi Masuli on an essay by Angelo Suarez: I am glad to discover these two names in Philippine LitCrit today!


Suarez’s essay can be read at this link.


Like conscience, the phantom of the Rizalian tradition continues to haunt us even today at the cusp of communicative capitalism and surplus digital technology. Perhaps the persistence of ‘socially-conscious’ art, from the time of the Propagandists, Jose Maria Sison’s Second Propaganda Movement, until today’s incarnations only emphasize the continuing dominance of the elitist patronage-centric art market, sustained by the rich, and the dominance of art-as-entertainment-as-commodity in Philippine commercialized culture.

Yet the old contradiction between ‘elitist’ art vs ‘socially-conscious’ art, framed within the conditions of Philippine culture and society, chronically re-phrased as the drama between the formalists vs Marxists, art-for-art’s-sake vs commited art, Villa vs Lopez, Almario vs Guillermo, and other countless permutations, seems to be founded on the lack of contemporary theorization on the subject of Philippine art and commitment, apart from the usual bearings set by the colonial-learning academia and…

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