Briefly describe the work you do.
My work focuses on the use of body in performance art, coupled with the exploration of the use of video and photography not just as a form of documentation, but also an integral part of the creation process. My practice often revolves around the concept of human endurance in performance art, with performance’s heightened emphasis on presence and process. I emphasize the human body as both artifact and mechanism: an object to be observed, investigated and experimented on, and the body as means of expression through interactions with others.
Aside from my body of work’s dedication to experiment and investigate on the use of body in performance art, I am also exploring more on the possibilities and strength of the discipline – not only its ability to shock, provoke and surprise audiences, but its capacity to give voice to marginalized views and empower the viewers and communities, the people.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I’m a woman from a third world country who experiences the day to day oppression of racism, sexism and discrimination in varying degrees and subtleties. The influences are quite apparent in my body of work.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I don’t have a studio as I don’t have to be ‘in the studio’ to create. I could say that my world or life is my studio but it doesn’t sound like something that makes sense and is also quite cringe-worthy. Most of my works can be done at my place, outdoors or blur the line between art and my personal day to day life, so there is no compelling need to have a studio that may serve as my ‘office’ or ‘workplace’. It is also a question of financial capacity – of course I’d love to have a studio to be a ‘legit artist’ but my reality and that of a lot of artists is that we don’t have the means to afford one, yes, even the very dingy ones in rough parts of the city.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
The best time to make art for me is after procrastinating for such a long time that I feel utterly sorry for myself and I feel like I’m wasting my existence. Idleness is very important to me, so after I have my fix of that, I create. On the other hand, it is when I’m idle and/or procrastinating that I get to think of ideas and in this process finalise them in my head. So, I could argue that it is when I’m not creating in the actual “manual labour” sense that I do actually create.
At the moment, I have works that are set at a specific time like Shellfishperhour, wherein I take a selfie every hour. This is a part of a series of year-long durational projects that take place in various internet platforms and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and Tumblr, wherein I post hourly and daily contents for a year. I’ve also started “Art Race”, wherein I send at least 1 proposal, application to exhibit or collaborate to galleries, institutions and individuals everyday for a year. With the selfies, I don’t really have much freedom or choice but the rest of the daily projects, I get to it whenever I had my fix of idleness, but before the day ends – I’m a crammer so most of the time, very late at night.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
I’ve only been practicing for about five years, including the latter part of my university studies, so I guess I don’t really have that long of a career to analyze and significantly compare. The core is still the same and the focus remains to be the body and the use of multimedia but perhaps not as intense as the earlier works. I can say that the endurance, presence and the process part have been elevated as most of my recent works are longer, more tedious and above all, simultaneous! I seem to be hating and inflicting more suffering on myself or I’m becoming more and more of a masochist, who knows? haha In line with this, I feel that dedication to experimentation and investigation of the disciplines involved in my practice is stronger because I’m trying more to explore the power of my field to give voice to marginalized views and utilize its capacity to empower people and communities.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
Immensely and profoundly that I’m not even sure how to properly describe and be understood. I’m influenced by random thoughts and people and ideas. Random in the sense that they are not all in one category. Most things just hit me on some levels and make me think of completely differing works or ideas. But influence affects me on a personal level first before it bridges to my work. Teching Tsieh’s body of work is an inspiration to me, so as Van Gogh’s, Andrea Fraser’s, Hemingway’s, Camus’, James Blake’s, Nicholas Pervez’s, graffitti in various cities, poems somewhere, an artwork in a gallery or art shows, and the list goes on. I’ve also been really into pop singers and dancers recently as I’m preparing for a new work series – I’m loving Britney Spears and Shakira, among others.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I love swimming, the ocean and the thought of being a marine biologist. I actually tried to push myself to it and still delusional about being pulled to that direction, they just don’t correlate. Same goes with being a multiple grand slam champion of a tennis player, a rockstar drummer, a writer, a war photographer, a supermodel, a nun and a big blue whale. I guess the feeling is not mutual. The nun option is still open though, my aunt in Lourdes said I’ll always be welcome.
Rhine has a BA in Film and Audio Visual Communication from the University of the Philippines and will be taking up MA Photography (Performance pathway) at the Royal College of Art starting October of 2015, for which she was awarded the Abraaj RCA Innovation Scholarship. Her collaborative approach to her craft is based on her belief that art is a catalyst for social change. She has previously established _inventory, a collective/initiative that organizes shows in alternative and public spaces to showcase young artists’ works and offers a residency program to engage communities in art through public performances, events and discussions.
Her work looks to challenge social convention and provoke discussion. She chose to begin one of her recent projects, Female Body Inside, in India to explicitly address the country’s high rates of abuse toward women, which she exhibited at the 2014 India Art Fair in Delhi. Rhine strives to promote the idea that art is non-exclusive, educational, utilizes local resources and is more accessible to people, especially in rural areas.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.