The B.A.O.A.N.G (Bertud, Agimat, Orasyon, Albularyo, Nyoroscope, at Gayuma) Directory: Hoppla Index
The B.A.O.A.N.G (Bertud, Agimat, Orasyon, Albularyo, Nyoroscope, at Gayuma) Directory is a developing database of pages, groups, and profiles dedicated to alternative medicine, folk belief, and contemporary spirituality in the Philippines. With Simulasi, its Hoppla Index invites organizers, co-exhibitors, and audiences in three parts (I. Open Call, II. Featured Posts, and III. Digital Campfire) to further explore the Directory’s initial and possible connections with Japan and SEA by contributing their own links inspired by their local contexts and by joining in a Digital Campfire / Zoom Roundtable / Twitch Livestream towards the end of Simulasi.
Conceptualized alongside Artists for Digital Rights Network and inspired by a hazy memory of the artist seeing an old man juggling three bulbs of garlic in Katipunan, the B.A.O.A.N.G Directory can be situated in the Philippines’s coping mechanism of conjuring medical, social, and personal solutions overlooked by established institutional forces. While the garlic’s efficacy of warding off aswangs and other supernatural entities locally can be traced back to more colonial traditions of fighting vampires, its indigenous and scientific health benefits continue to spark the imagination of people as an antidote to COVID- 19, going as far as having the World Health Organization disseminate a counter-disinformation notice alongside other equally strange remedies and causes such as bleach, houseflies, and 5G mobile networks.
Disinformation also finds parallels in the power asymmetries mapped by Filipino historian Reynaldo Ileto’s Pasyon and Revolution (1979) where millenarian movements acted on a left-field – and ultimately quasi-religious – motivation towards self-determination that nevertheless helped spark liberation movements across the nation as early as the 17th century. Ileto’s call for a better understanding of the folk psyche underscores the eventual roots and disastrous effects of the 2016 (and possibly, 2022) elections.
As the Philippines continues to embrace the Information Age in ways foreign and/or more ingenious to the middle class and the Global North, the B.A.O.A.N.G Directory invites its audiences to play, engage, and familiarize themselves with people, objects, solutions, and communities thriving online in
particular and fascinating belief systems across Asian archipelagos that do not always resonate with normative or algorithmic systems, but have the potential to defy existing attitudes towards truth-seeking.
|↑1||“Bawang” is the Tagalog word for “garlic” while “baoang” is an intentional misspelling created for the database. It is also almost the same word (“bawang putih”) in Indonesian.|
|↑2||In a now-defunct article, historian Ambeth Ocampo dispelled the myth that Filipinos often used garlic to overcome local spirits and creatures because one instance in the senate saw politician Mar Roxas bring a necklace of garlic to supposedly counter the congressmen (considered in his argument as aswangs) in the controversial Constituent Assembly back in 2009. Ocampo insisted that Filipinos often used salt. The retelling of these can be found here: https://bahaytalinhaga.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/aswa ngs-garlic-culture/|
|↑3||WHO employs informational videos from experts to host their ‘Mythbuster’ section on their website here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel- coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth- busters#garlic|
Digital Campfire – The BAOANG Directory Hoppla Index
28 January 2022
Alfred Marasigan (b. 1990) is an artist and educator who conducts serendipitous research and transmedial practices primarily through livestreaming, heavily inspired by emotional geography, Norwegian slow TV, and magic realism. Such format, often via social media, anchors his current explorations on simultaneity, sustainability, solidarity, and sexuality. Marasigan graduated in 2019 with an MA in Contemporary Art from UiT Arctic University of Norway’s Kunstakademiet i Tromsø and is a Norwegian Council of the Arts Grantee for Newly Graduated Artists. His work has been exhibited, screened, and published by Asia Art Activism (WWW/UK/PH), Tromsø Kunstforening (NO/PH), Goldsmiths’ EnclaveLab (UK/PH), Further Reading (ID), Meinblau Projektraum (DE/PH), M:ST Performative Art (WWW/CA/PH), C3 Contemporary Art Space (AU) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (PH). Currently based in Manila, he is a faculty member of Ateneo de Manila University’s Department of Fine Arts since 2013.
Alfred Marasigan biography photo © by Lisa Robert.