Finally, a response to the Filipino Awareness Forum. Kinda.

Here is I guess the complicated process of how I came to start calling this puppet a self portrait. Around the time I started doing research on puppets, I attended a forum discussion on Filipino Identity in Canada. I have been doing a lot of work on identity beforehand, but nothing about my Filipino background. During the forum, someone mentioned the thousands of islands that are strung together to make up the fabric of the Philippines. When I saw images of the unclothed Bunraku puppets, I started to associate each segmented limb as an island part. That is why I originally wanted the puppet to be naked and for the construction of the body to be seen. But when I performed with the puppet, he felt really incomplete. I guess this was around the time I started to call the puppet "Little Elfred" and in that process, the final direction of where the piece is headed was decided. I am notorious for always wearing black and aesthetically I thought that the puppet would look better wearing all black. Naturally, I started to make an identical outfit of the clothes that I was wearing when I planned out his clothes. I put a hole on the elbow of the cardigan, just like how my cardigan has a hole on the elbow. I scuffed the back pocket from wallet wear. I even rolled up the pant legs cause mine are always rolled up from biking. I could only relate to what I know, and I only really know the wear of my clothes. So I came upon this new position; his body and face doesn't even vaguely resemble me, but his clothes are identical to mine. I guess what I eventually want to say is that the body of the puppet conforms to the idea of segmented body parts like how the Philippines is built from segmented island parts. The body is the core, the structure that allows the puppet to move and make gestures. And the clothing is the layer that works around the shape of the body. It is what you see, it is what creates the idea that the puppet has mass and a personality. And together they work to create a self portrait of who I think I am.

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