The Filipino word muhon, translated roughly as “monument” or “place-marker,” evokes contemplation through the primal act of marking a fixed point in both space and time. For the construction of a muhon is an act of affirming one’s existence and staking a claim in the universe. Thus, the exhibition anchors on the notion that the interpretation of the built environment is a critical method of understanding one’s sense of and belonging to a place.
As it stands today, the megalopolis of Metro Manila arose from the ruins of an older colonial city levelled by the Second World War. As such, the re-born capital is conceived in its current context as an adolescent city in flux.
In theory, “adolescence” describes the struggle for identity that Metro Manila now confronts. Through the selective investigation of nine post-war buildings and urban elements, Muhon aims to elicit conjectures that reconcile opposing vectors of progress and of permanence. It essays the implications of the careless destruction of a fraught architectural inheritance and the lack of consciousness about the dilemma.
In tracing each muhon through its history, modernity, and conjecture, the Pavilion is an attempt to understand a city’s identifying markers — to interpret their meaning, and to discern their value. It aspires to be a platform for a collaborative and collective act of reflection about a built environment on the brink of vital renewal or irreversible decay.
The exhibit opened to the public from May 28 to November 27, 2016 at Palazzo Mora in Venice, Italy.