My research investigates the current societal trauma from the imbalance of power caused by the One Belt One Road Project (OBOR) of China in the Philippines and the historical trauma that informs it. It intends to interpret and process, through a transformative lens, the gravity and sensitivity of the subject matter: political tensions and socio-cultural effects, concepts of expansionism, occupation, and neo-colonialism in the geo-political context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) - a massive Silk Road-like infrastructure scheme connecting Europe to East Asia. These well-traveled land and sea routes that brought a reciprocal kind of economic development and wealth around the world long ago have resurfaced as China’s present-day grand vision to sustain itself as a superpower.
This project will present new ways of seeing and alternative pathways for discourse so that a stronger sense of awareness emerges, highlighting power plays, dominance and inferiority, within the discourse of decolonization, using art as its conduit.
Readings will include the current BRI news and the new history of the Silk Road. Central to this is how art utilizes play (Lenzi 1, 2015) as a mode of introducing and dissecting difficult concepts centering on aggression, trauma, and violence. I will explore different connotations of ‘play’ beyond fun.
I intend to create a video-animation installation project using data mined from online news and interviews regarding BRI, deconstructing and interweaving them with narratives from Chinese- Philippine legends, as well as my personal and collective memories. The process will explore social and political issues that we are living through today employing a non-confrontational approach, which animation cleverly and indirectly achieves. I may employ interactive monitors and performance on a green screen to collage onto the video.
In my practice, I usually operate with multi-method approach and oscillate between 2D and 3D media in the process. Thus for this project, I will also experiment with the process of printmaking.
1 Lenzi, Iola. “Public Play: Audience Involvement and the Decoding of Concept in Socially-Engaged Southeast Asian Contemporary Art.” Obieg Quarterly, No. 2/ 2016, Warsaw, 1 Jan. 2016,
Josephine Turalba is an interdisciplinary artist and art educator, based between Boston and Manila, who explores issues of divide and convergence within a volatile geo-political world order. Her research and works reflect on the politics of violence and dynamics of infliction and trauma, depicting spaces where empathy translates into healing. She negotiates influences from different cultures, taking on an investigative approach to place and time, in relationship to a sense of self. Turalba’s nomadic relation to various forms of media, including performance, installation, experimental video, photography, tapestry, and painting, allows her to explore her obsessions with socio-political narratives, myths and personal histories.
She holds an MFA in New Media from Transart Institute New York (USA) and Donau Universität Krems (Austria). She serves as Dean at the School of Fine Arts and Design at Philippine Women’s University. Fellowship/Grants/Residencies include MIT Future Heritage Lab, Council for Arts MIT, Art Omi International, Stiftung Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Fondation La Roche–Jacquelin. Her works have been exhibited at ICA Singapore, London Biennale, European Cultural Center (concurrent 56th Venice Biennale), 12th Cairo Biennale, Arter Space Istanbul, VII Tashkent Biennale of Contemporary Art, Malta Contemporary Art Center, Cultural Center Philippines.