Artist Michelle Dizon explores identity through COLA installation

Thick navy blue curtains lead into darkness as the gentle whispers of rain and an artist’s narration fill the room. Projected photographs decorate the blank walls as 218 years of exchange between two women are delivered.

An overview of Michele Dizon’s art exhibit “The Archive’s Fold.” (Photo by Tina Takhmazyan)

The department of Cultural Affairs in the city of Los Angeles is hosting its annual Individual Artist Fellowships Exhibition until June 24. Among the 14 artists chosen to present their work, Michelle Dizon explores the Philippine diaspora through her installation “The Archive’s Fold.”

Dizon chooses photos of only women from her own family albums, albeit she does utilize archive photographs which includes male presence.

“A lot of it has to do with the relationship that women across generations hold. It is also a counterpoint to the patriarchal violence during the U.S. colonial project. How men were to think about the Filipino women as a sight of sexual availability,” Dizon said.

Through the use of projectors, film and a lightbox, Dizon uses old-school technology to remind the visitor of history and simplistic values.

“My project has been influenced in questioning who it is that sees and what are the conditions that allows that scene to take place,” Dizon said.

She also combines still images with movement as the projectors flicker and pictures float across the walls.

The larger frame of the project is a conversation between time and space. Dizon’s great-great grandmother in 1905 and her great-great-great granddaughter in 2123 are living on different planets. They exchange letters between each other.

Incorporating audio aspects, Dizon personally narrates the perspective of her future granddaughter. The exhibit explores themes of feminism, family, imperialism and climate change among others.

Dizon hopes art goers leave her installation asking themselves “Where do I come from?” It is not just a simple question — it is always full of history and politics, as she said.

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