Ian Rafael Ramirez
Art History and Art Curatorship
Ian Rafael Ramirez (He/They) is a Filipino queer artist and doctoral researcher who works across queer cultures and performance research, dramaturgy, curation, and performance-making. His research is broadly concerned with the multiple articulations of kabaklaan and queerness in performance and new media. His artistic practice explores his lived experiences as a bakla and other(ed) narratives of the bakla in relation to the greater struggles of the LGBTQ+ community in the Philippines. He recently published an essay about queer nightlife in Manila in the Australasian Drama Studies Journal.
The Kanal and Queer Worldmaking in Metropolitan Manila
Kanal or gutter, commonly the passageways of water and waste in metropolitan Manila, names an embodied practice in Philippine urban queer modernity that deviates from what is orderly, tasteful, and respectable. It usually manifests in the artistic, cultural, and life-making practices of the bakla - a local gender identity construction in the Philippines. Colloquially, to be hailed as baklang kanal is a pejorative that implies a filthy, disorderly, and messy faggot but it has been recently "reclaimed" by progressive queer individuals on Twitter to mean warriors of social justice.
This research project will problematise the multiple meanings of the kanal vis-a-vis urban queer worldmaking in the Philippines. More specifically, this research plans to map the constellations of the baklang kanal and examine its multiple embodiments to understand their relations to the broader socio-political contexts in which they unfold. Drawing from multiple cultural sources ranging from literary texts, films, performance art, new media, personal narratives, and lived experiences, this project will envisage a "kanal worldmaking", what it entails, and what it interrogates.