Why do you take and create images?
It makes me feel alive.
How do you define your photographic/artistic body of work? What subjects do you often explore in your work?
I am as fascinated by the relationship of memory and history to myth- and image-making.
What motivates your work?
The urge to engage with myself and my surroundings, to be more present.
What relationship does your work have with reality?
Most of my photographic work comes from capturing unstaged situations that I encounter. Recently, however, I have tried to push myself to somehow engage more with what I am shooting, a kind of performative gesture.
For you, what is the purpose of art?
It’s a way to both make sense of and question everyday life and to pose different ways of seeing/being.
How do you want the public to respond to your work? Do you have a particular audience in mind?
I hope that my work resonates with others in some way.
What is your training? Were you trained as a photographer?
I have no formal training in photography or art-making. I studied film — not filmmaking, but more of critical studies, or writing and talking about film. I also studied architectural history and theory.
How do you define your actual professional situation? What are your expectations?
I consider myself a lens-based artist, working mainly with images, both still and moving, but I also collaborate with others as Tito & Tita, and our work takes on a more conceptual and performative dimension. I curate as well—mostly film and video work, in the form of both screening programs and exhibitions.
It’s hard to live off art. Does this affect you and your work?
The question of livelihood often finds its way into my work…
Have you worked with gallerists, curators, institutions and other art professionals? Can you discuss more about this particular relationship?
I have worked more with curators rather than gallerists. I find it as important to talk about my work as to merely show or exhibit it, and curators can be very supportive and insightful in engaging with both myself and others regarding my work.
In your opinion, what is the current state of contemporary photography in the Philippines?
It’s still conservative in a way but this is changing. Gallery-based shows tend towards the expected and are, after all, governed by or responding to the art market. But there are interesting things happening outside of this, on a more informal level. We now have a burgeoning print culture, which is important because it pushes us to be more selective.
How do you want contemporary photography to develop in the Philippines?
I hope that those working with photography keep pushing the medium and our expectations and to be rigorous in our ways. Just as importantly, I hope people stay humble and generous.
Name: Shireen Seno
Location: Manila, Philippines
2002-2005, Honours B.A. Double Major in Architectural Studies and Cinema Studies. Minor in Semiotics and Communication Theory, University of Toronto, Canada
Awards and Recognition:
- Finalist, Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, 2016
- Grantee, Global Film Initiative, 2014
- Studio residency, Objectifs Centre for Photography & Filmmaking, Singapore, 2013
- La Opera Prima (Best First Film), Festival de Cine Lima Independiente, Perú, 2013
- Studio residency, Green Papaya Art Projects, Quezon City, Philippines, 2013
- Grantee, Hubert Bals Fund, International Film Festival Rotterdam, 2013
- Finalist, Biennale College Cinema, La Biennale di Venezia, Italy, 2013
- Finalist and Grantee, Cinema One Originals, Manila, Philippines, 2011
- Delegate, Imagining Asia conference, Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations, Tokyo, Japan, 2005
- Getty Multicultural Internship, Los Angeles, California, USA, 2004
- LACMA Summer Internship, Los Angeles, California, USA, 2003
- 2013, Wild Grass, Light & Space Contemporary, Quezon City, Philippines
- 2012, Mystery Terrain, Republikha Gallery, Quezon City, Philippines
- 2016, Alternative Instructions, Altro Mondo Gallery, Makati City, Philippines
- 2015, Material Practices in the Everyday, Artery, Quezon City, Philippines
- 2014, Hang ‘Em High, Blanc Gallery, Quezon City, Philippines
- 2012, Wearable Portable Architecture, Green Papaya Art Projects, Quezon City
- 2012, Through the Looking Glass. Manila Contemporary, Makati City, Philippines
- 2012, Tito & Tita, Ishmael Bernal Gallery, University of the Philippines Film Center, Quezon City, Philippines
- 2009, “Serial Killers II”, Green Papaya Arts Projects, Manila, Philippines