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Lorena Bañares

A Filipino national, Lorena Bañares recently earned her Doctor of Communication degree from the University of the Philippines, Open University(UPOU). Her work explores the intersection of art, communication, philosophy, and the doing of inquiry drawing on the works of Deleuze and Guattari, Michel Foucault, Karen Barad, Donna Haraway and Brian Massumi. As a creative purist, her research interest is on the (im)possibility of communication and the disruption of formalism and colonialism in art practice. Her dissertation led her to develop an ontoepistemological research-creation approach using Deleuze and Guattari’s concept, the Rhizome. Since then, she has been practicing and living the Rhizome, actively exploring and developing new ways of arts-based inquiry. Lorena earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in the Philippines. She been teaching communication arts in the Philippines before coming to Cambodia to teach at Pannasastra University


(under construction)


Since its inception, much of the works in visual art are anchored on the Renaissance classical notion of realism especially in the field of Photography. The latter has been coined as reflections of nature. As a visual artist and researcher, I was overtrained by the academia in applying the structured, rigid methods in creating visual art forms discounting the minutest details in the doing of an artwork. This has piqued my interest triggered by a desire to break away from the conventional modes of photography. I was mesmerized by the movement, the feet careening from one place to another, bodies entangled with machines, words declaring commands slipping and slurring as subjects of photography became hollow bodies manipulated for aesthetic appeal. Despite the realists’ claim of its representational nature, what is behind the creation of image before hitting the shutter is a multiplicity of chaotic movements when nature and culture is one, when matters and bodies, trees, stones, animals, breaths, odors, light, etc. rhizomatically imbricated to create the visual. In the middle of this messiness, the photographer blends and melds with more-than-humans. There is no I; only dynamic relations between humans and non-humans constituting the visual. The photographer only arises from the vital encounters with matters. Karen Barad calls this phenomena, Diffraction. Diffraction is a process taken from quantum physics that explains how waves combine when they encounter an obstacle. Diffraction happens when an apparatus obstructs the passage of the wave. Barad explicates this when one throws a stone in a pond where waves overlap and its amplitude forms a composite. Two overlapping waves result in smaller or larger waves. Resultant wave is the sum of effects of each individual component wave, a combination of disturbances created by each wave individually. Because of the presence of obstruction created by diffraction apparatus, it highlights the entangled structure of the changing ontology of the world. It brings to light the notion that the apparatus and the artist are not separate from the object rather, part of the phenomenon in its constant becomings such that we are part of nature that we are trying to create or manipulate. For Barad, diffractions are attuned to differences that practices make and the effects they have on the world, that is, it's the patterns of difference that makes a difference. Diffractions therefore, are the result of intra-actions of matters that create phenomena. Responding to the posthuman turn, the project will put Bard’s concept of diffraction to work while photographing sites/objects driven by my desire to experiment what a diffractive method might look like in practice when applied to creating artworlds, emphasizing the entanglement of artist-photographer and on what is being photographed. What artform could be produced when accounting for the becomings of artists as always involved in the production of art work? What would work and how would it work, when one lets the (un)thought take over during my photography encounters? Located in the Southeastern part of the Philippines, where nature became my common subject, such speculative project will attempt to (re)create Philippine visual art in the posthuman lens. Blending together photographs, installation art and the doing of photography, the project will take you to the folds, its becomings and transformations: how humans and non-humans are entangled, responds, transforms while being transformed by the affective properties of ecology. Called weaving diffraction, hallow bodies, camera, cultural artifacts, vegetation, grassland, and photographer will be articulated in this speculative visual art project. Since this is an experimentation, posthuman art foregrounds thought in motion as I navigate, engage, create photographs WITH the world. Being entangled with other than humans calls for response-able actions in acknowledging the constitutive materialities of the ecology which we are only part of. The project will contribute to ongoing debates that disrupts representational notion of photography instead; it opens to discourses on photography as a surface diffractive event always entangled with other matters and humans.

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