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.

Photo above: HISTORY

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.

Photo above: MODERNITY

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.

Photo above: CONJECTURE

The exhibit opened to the public from May 28 to November 27, 2016 at Palazzo Mora in Venice, Italy.

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