How does Turalba’s piece talk so fluently about something as intricate and embedded as violence? The work’s components, as articles of personal clothing, connote intimacy. They also claim their place in shared public space, the res publica, the realm of power and authority that belongs to all. This easy crossover from the closed to the open, through the action of the wearers themselves, articulates Turalba’s view of the insidious nature of violence, its easy penetration, and more surprisingly, the non-distinction of perpetrator and victim. Elliptically the piece (Scandals) asks each experiencing it to consider his or her place in violence, and the willingness to be its subject as much as its instigator. In this fun, game-like participative work, Josephine Turalba thus exposes violence and its hold.

   Associate Professor, MFA Programme
   College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines

The work of Josephine Turalba is a culmination of more than an endeavor that was precipitated by a personal tragedy. Informed by her practice that includes photography and time-based media, Turalba, instead of dramatically depicting violence, chooses to focus on the dynamics of the infliction, with the following elements: the instrument of violence, the mode, the target, and the effect of the hit - as if to show the visceral perspective. In Turalba’s works, the victims of violence are mere suggestions, and where depicted, a trace. This is expedient to Turalba’s approach - to focus, which is to frame. And, as Susan Sontag has said about taking photographs in Regarding The Pain Of Others: to frame is to exclude. In this case, with the exclusion, a space is opened up for our sensibilities to imbibe, not the spectacle of violence but the experience. Suspiciously, the strategy is for experience to translate easier to empathy, making the healing of our own wounds more bearable.

   Art historian, curator and critic of Southeast Asian art
   Asian Art Histories MA programme, Lasalle-Goldsmiths College of the Arts, Singapore

Scandals III: Walk With Me

Installation + Single-Channel Video, 2013

I am continuously intrigued by the struggle of wealth and power brought about by war and peace, in particular how victims of violence are only ‘collateral damage’ in the race for control, whether one is for or against a ‘gun culture’ that continues to proliferate. I investigate notions of crossing boundaries, private property, disparitiesin power and technology amongst human societies. The violence that claimed the lives of 12 French journalists early in 2015, ostensibly in the name of religion, is anathema to these universally held values of liberty, equality and brotherhood - concepts which are part of the fundamental tenets of all Abrahamic religions. Such repeated acts of radicalism instigate research questions that link very much to Okui Enwezor’s proposition of proposed futures of our world, questions that direct my work: How are we to exist today? Do we not live in the age of reason? Are those acts due to the subjection to impunity for centuries, that today one ought to raise the level of humanity and take personal grievances to democratic processes? After all, does democracy offer solutions better than any other?

In my two-part installation Scandals III: Walk With Me, I explore some of these questions. Indoor slippers in many Asian cultures, better known in its local term as “Alfombra”, (derived from Spanish) are most comfortable, durable and colorful footwear when inside one’s home. The Asian practice of leaving outdoor shoes at the door is still observed today, psychologically conscious and symbolic of stepping into an altered level of someone’s private space and perhaps even psychosomatically an invitation to restore and relax. The concepts of the ‘interior’ versus ‘exterior’ communicate boundaries of space within the social, cultural, psychological and political spectrum.

During a research period at the Lopez Memorial Museum, I worked with a collection of 4 x 5 inch glass photo negatives of the Philippines in the 1930s. They document Filipinos in this period. The collection consisting of anthropological photographs clearly recognized the ‘colonial gaze,’ as well as trade along the Pasig River, coming to and from Laguna de Bay and the Manila Bay. This is reminiscent of “Pagdaong”, a colloquial term referring to docking of a boat. The ‘docking’ of foreigners in our islands echoes on, as it did once upon a time in Colonial history as these pictures illustrate.

Scandals III: Walk With Me offers an experiential happening episode for the viewer. I invite them to ‘walk with me’, by wearing a pair of sandals offered at a particular choreographed point of the space. This act of walking, or sharing the walk, is hence simulating a moment that sheds a partial regard on a colonial strategy, an integral part of the history of the Philippines, a space/land that hosted some indigenous people who are the actual owners of the land, and who have been exploited by colonial powers for centuries. The symbol of the sandals has different influences from colonizers --Spanish, Japanese, American and/or Chinese--, as well as those who engaged with trade with South East Asia, the Philippines included.

Material: 30 pairs of Sandals made from more than 3000 spent bullets of calibers 45, 38, 9mm, 22, and Shotgun shells

Public Screenings: Lopez Museum Manila Philippines 2013 Single-Channel Video (v.1 6:16 mins) ARTER Space, Istanbul, Turkey 2014 Single-Channel Video (v.2 2:47 mins)

Venice 2015 Press Kit


Русская рулетка (Russian Roulette)

Sculpture + Sound Installation, 2013

A game of chance in life – is it destiny, fate or created? This discarded piano was shot at with .22-calibre rifles. Sounds of the bullets striking those strings were recorded in collaboration with composer, Jason Mitchell. The remaining piano was then recreated into a new form. This audio plays from inside the soundboard. The roulette wheel is turned to strike remaining strings as fortune is told.

Material: upright discarded piano, shotgun, .45, .38, .22-calibre bullet shells, wood, brass

Movement in 33''

Interactive Performance + Single-Channel Video and Animation 4:30:00 + Sculpture Bullet Headpiece and Sleeves, 2013

In collaboration with composer, Pips Brown, Movement in 33” is a performance that reflections of a journey through time, within the constrains of one’s experiences, crossing through herstory in fragmented reality. This is an artisticcross-disciplinary collaborative work across various media.

Using samples from a recording of an old discarded piano being shot at with various caliber guns and ammunition, this piece was assembled and restructured using the random percussion incited by firearms. An explosive experimentation of sound and time, this composition explores the atmosphere of the aleatory.

Material: 1226 pieces shotgun shells, wood, plastic

Public Performances:
CCAMS Gallery, Philippine Women’s University, Manila, 2013

Public Video Screenings:
Lopez Museum, Manila, Philippines, 2013


Out of Echoes

Performance + Photos + Sculptural Bullet Armour Dress, 2013

Out of the Echoes is a performance and photo project set in one of the main cities of the Great Silk Road, Samarkand. Collecting the debris of memories that once breathed there, now just echoing through its walls, I explored the nostalgia of the lost city and forgotten in the name of progress. The Silk Road was the bridge between Asia and Europe, a cradle of trade and civilization. I paid homage at the mausoleum of the great Timur (known as Tamer the Lame), the last extraordinary nomad conqueror. A meditative dervish swirl dance was performed with the awesome backdrop, a major thoroughfare of trade and civilization. As I greeted their people, reactions were varied, an Imam rejected any kind of interaction. I greeted with cupped hands and reverential salutation, Namaste (I bow to you); as our hands clearly spoke of different languages.

During the VII Tashkent Biennale. I was allocated a space I felt did not do justice to one of my works. My piece had to breath and take life in the streets of this great land. I decided to explore the idea of spontaneity in a biennale setting, where artists, curators, organizers, and audience are programmed to act in a certain way. Like in any international conference, we were herded like sheep and given a strict schedule. The recounted my days under the Martial Law in my country.

Weight: 10 Kg
Dimensions: Life-Size Armour Bullet Dress
Material: 4352 spent shotgun shells, .45-calibre bullet shells, copper, leather

Public Performances: Samarkand, Uzbekistan 2013

SMS Double Barrel

Performance + Installation + Single-Channel Video 11:56:00, 2013

SMS Double Barrel is a interdisciplinary piece created for the curatorial project of Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez, entitled Pagtitipon/Gathering. SMS Double Barrel comprises a performance act across distance using the semaphore flag messaging system that was used in the maritime industry in the 19th century. The international peace sign ☮ --that represents letters ”N” and “D” in a circle-- signifies the two words “Nuclear Disarmament” is one of the best know semaphore signals.

On this day, 3 August 2013, I had the image from my dream that the rooftop of the Henry Sy building transformed into a big ʻbancaʼ (boat), in a sea with other bancas (rooftops) in the urban cityscape. Although the Henry Sy building was initially designed in the image of a tree, I have interpreted it as a naval vessel, where as Manila swims in floodwaters during Monsoon rains and typhoon Maring. On this boat, the performance entails viewers to look through my ʻdouble barrelʼ binoculars installation, across to a fellow traveller on Burgundy Tower building who waves. In this project, body movements and extensions are used as a transmitter of codes. These codes/messages are free of the emotional and cultural biases of social behavior. The semaphore flag signal system goes on to question digital versus analogue communication within this fast-paced society, filled with high-tech devices. This performance investigates and questions of social face-to-face interaction versus the virtual, utilized by most of the young generation.

This consists of a performance of flag signaling from one building to another. The artist stands atop a 30-storey building and uses flag signals for a video shoot taken from across another building. The next day atop the building across, the video is played on a phone screen installed at the end of the ʻdouble barrelʼ sculptural binoculars, installed to face the building rooftop where the artist will have performed a day earlier. An earlier segment of the performance consists of flag signaling from one building back to the other. The act confuses the viewers and mingles the real with the simulation.

Material: Double Barrel Telescope made from 510 pieces 9mm, M16 Brass Bullets & spent Shotgun shells

Public Screenings: De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines, 2013


Video 2:04:00 + Performance + Sculptural Bullet Armour Dress

Diwata is a performance, video installation with bullet dress sculpture that explores notions of place, frontiers and shifting geographies. This interdisciplinary project investigates physical and emotional territories, a process of mapping of memory and travel, both mental and physical. In Filipino mythology, Diwata is goddess and guardian of the place –the Spirit– Genius loci. Clothed in bullets as Diwata, the notion of protection is juxtaposed against universal notions of exploitation and struggle between wealth and power in a neo-colonial world governed by corporate transcontinental economy.

Through performance and video narrative, Diwata brings forgotten trauma from the unconscious back to consciousness; she is carrier of reflection and awakening. Diwata is not the guardian of place anymore; she becomes the critical reflection of “place” by reminding people of who they were before colonial times. Diwata questions, investigates, transforms and re-defines identity today.

Weight: 14 kilos
Material: Made of 1448 bullets and 1704 shotgun casings and leather

Public Performances:
Manila, Philippines, 2009
Berlin, Germany 2009
New York, USA, 2011

Public Video Screenings:
12th Cairo Biennale, Egypt, 2010
Yuchengco Museum, Manila, Philippines, 2011
South Hill Park, Bracknel, UK, 2011
Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, Germany 2011
KIT Kunst-im-Tunnel, Düsseldorf, Germany, 2011
The Sub station Theatre, Singapore, 2011
Pier-2 Art Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 2012
M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, 2012

Diwata Uber Berlin

Performance + Video installation 2:04:00 + Sculpture Bullet
Armour Dress

Diwata comes to Berlin, a city of riddled with violence and haunted by memories…memories that tie us with a place, memories that involve or not, where we tell and retell our stories…what can be seen what is no longer there.

As I explored Berlin around the Landwehr Canal, I found the Rosa Luxemburgʼs memorial, along the water where she was shot and thrown – either dead or alive. The memory of a political activist, feminist, and writer who upset societyʼs norms speak of societyʼs treatment of those with avant-garde ideas. With appropriations from the film, Metropolis, this video performance project attempts to connect place with its memories in the past as well as those made in the present.

This performance explores the relationship of trust between the man and woman echoing a landscape of memories within acceptable societal and political norms. Diwata is slowly lowered down as the man moves inches away from the pole, then when a final large step is taken away, Diwata falls to the ground in an instant.

Weight: 14 Kilos
Material: 1448 bullets and 1704 shotgun casings and leather
Production Year: 2009

Public Performances:
Manila, Philippines, 2010 - (in collaboration with Neil de la Cruz)
Berlin, Germany 2009 - (in collaboration with performance artist,
Luis Malvacias)


In Wonderland

Video 4:11:00+ Performance + Sculpture Bullet Armour Dress, 2011

In Wonderland is an interdisciplinary project that explores through video, photography, drawings, and sculptural elements the notion of power struggle in various locations of the world described in political literature as “Third World” or “South”. Josephine Turalba plays on the universal memory of the audience and their acquaintance with the fable of Alice in Wonderland to propose that all and everyone exists in the artist-assumed wonderland, a wonderland of continuous conflict. In the threeminute video, a goddess comes out of the fields, dressed up in a bullet dress (fabricated by the artist in Schöppingen, Germany last year out of around 3000 bullets and shotgun shells). This almost science fiction protagonist walks on asphalt, a road within the fields, flirts with camera, and goes back to the mysterious wonderland, never be seen again.

The ambient sounds used in the video – also shot in Schöppingen in 2011-are composed of a juxtaposition of harsh metal sound of the bullets and shotgun shells of the dress dragging on the road, as the goddess-protagonist dwells, and the serene sound of wind and windmills. The images depict the artist playing a mixed role of goddess of the fields, as well as a vulnerable human engulfed in bullets, both roles engage audience to contemplate the thin line between fiction and reality.

Weight: 35 kilos

Material: Made of more than 2500 pieces .45-calibre, 1465 pieces 9mm caliber bullet and shotgun shells and leather

Public Performances:
Schöppingen, Germany, 2011Münster, Germany, 2011

Public Video Screenings:
Stiftung Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, Germany 2012

Mighty Ballistic

Single-Channel Video 2:35:00 + Performance + Sculpture Bullet Armour Dress, 2008

In 2006, my father was shot dead with 4 bullets by a hoodlum gang, headed by an ex-military intelligence man. His body was dumped on the side of a provincial road. Unconsciously I was preoccupied with the image of the last moments of him falling to his death. I explore the idea of being a prey, the target of violence. My case of personal trauma exists all over the world; the excessive death toll continues today with continuous unsolved killings and abductions for all sorts of personal and political reasons. The prevailing actuality is that human life is cheap in the quest for wealth and power. Walking the streets of the city, slowly like in a ritual of a spirit re-visiting a place, the bullet armour dress allowed me to view the world like a viewer instead of the one being viewed. In a society where women are still viewed as objects, I am used to being self-conscious when walking the streets, however, in Mighty Ballistic I moved from the spectacle to the spectator.

Material: 20kilos, 1226 pieces .45-calibre, 1465 pieces 9mm caliber bullet and 864 pieces shotgun shells and leather

Public Performances:
Tanzfabrik Kreuzberg, Berlin, 2009
Manila, Philippines, 2008
Munster, Germany, 2011
New York, USA, 2011

Public Video Screenings:
Yuchengco Museum, Manila, Philippines, 2011
Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, Germany 2011
M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, 2012
Nuit Blanche, Paris, France 2013


Single-Channel Video 1:16:00, 2007

Is it true what they say, that overexposure to violence hardens people to the reality of it? Focusing on works that engage the concept of target (prey), an object of violent intent, this project gives form to emotions, both personal and universal, referencing the murder of my father by ruthless exploiters. This process is an attempt to plumb the depth of human emotion on violence and purge myself of it.

Public Video Screenings:
Linz, Austria, 2008
Manila, Philippines, 2008


Manhattan Reloaded

Single-Channel Video 8:29:00 + Performance + Sculptural Bullet Dress, 2011

New York City, the heart of America: Ground Zero where the most horrible atrocities in recent years took place. During my residency at Art Omi, I discover that in New York, arms and bullets are easily accessible to the public. I went to the local gun shop and shooting range and found hospitable gun aficionados eagerly supporting my request of bullets to make my dresses with. The prime mover of peace and war in the annals of history, USA continues to baffle me. This urban intervention and performative work explored the city and its relationship to the notion of violence in urban spaces of busy peace. The last spot to be visited was ʻGround Zero,ʼ where police told me: “do not walk around in this area.”

Weight: 15 kilos

Life-size Sculpture Bullet Armour Dress
3586 spent bullets of calibers 45, 38, 9mm, 22, and Shotgun shells


Public Performances:
Manhattan, around Ground Zero, 2011

Public Video Screenings:
Art OMI International Residency, 2011
Yuchengco Museum, Manila, 2011

No Man's Land

Sculptural Installation with spent bullets & shotgun shells, 2011

During wars, the term “No Manʼs Land” designates the transitory (on neutral ground) makeshift area between two opposing armies; the physical form of the term rapidly transforms according to movements.

The wall-bound sculptural installation investigates the emotional and psychological states we experience while living and working in transitory territories; the non static, volatile, constantly shifting, mutating and in-flux space that Nicolas Bourriaud calls “mental nomadism” where “ trajectories become forms.”

With a past marked by personal tragedy and a year marked by a multitude of changes and travels, No Manʼs Land, focuses on the sensibility of being ʻnowhere and somewhereʼ within my own states of trauma and those of renewal. Traces of the past refer to emotional displacement, leaving marks and contributing to the mental phenomenon of shifts in consciousness. Precarious snippets of images that constantly flow in and out of the ʻpresentʼ are somehow linked to the future, and to mental and emotional detritus.

Dimensions: 7.5 x 6.0 x 3.0 meters, two pieces (7meters apart) installed across each other in a hallway, lined by blue LED bulbs

Material: 5852 spent bullets of calibers 45, 49, 38, 9mm, 22, 5.56, 308 and Shotgun shells
Weight: 25 kgs

Русская рулетка (Russian Roulette), 2013
Русская рулетка (Russian Roulette), 2013
K9, 2013
SPOT, 2012

MURDER, 2007
EPONA, 2013
LAY BY ME, 2012
GLANCE, 2011
ASH, 2008
MOLA, 2004
MATRIX, 2007
LYN, 2009
MILIEU, 2007

Josephine Turalba is an interdisciplinary artist based between Manila and Boston, who incorporates intersecting layers of different media: performance, sculpture, video, sound, photography. Exploring issues of divide and convergence within a volatile geo-political world order, her works focus on visceral approaches to the politics of violence and dynamics of infliction, trauma.

Turalba exhibited at the London Biennale, European Cultural Center in Venice (concurrent with 56th Venice Biennale); Hofburg Innsbruck, Austria; Arter Space, Istanbul; 12th Cairo Biennale, Egypt; Malta Contemporary Art Center; Cultural Center of the Philippines, VII Tashkent Biennale of Contemporary Art Uzbekistan, 2nd Kathmandu Intl Arts Festival Nepal; La Cinematheque Francaise, École des Beaux-Arts Paris France; M1 Singapore Fringe Festival; Malta Contemporary Art Center; Simultan Festival #10 Romania, Kunst-im-Tunnel Düsseldorf Germany.

Turalba holds an MFA in New Media from Transart Institute, New York, validated by Donau Universität Krems, Austria.


Exhibitions Include:

     - 2017 Art Fair Manila, Philippines
     - 3.2.1., Ricco Renzo Gallery. Manila Philippines
     - 2016 London Biennale: Synchronisations/Syncopations
     - Homeland, 5th International Çanakkale Biennial, Turkey
     - Vagari, Galeria Duemila, Manila, Philippines
     - Cairotronica, Palace of the Arts, Cairo, Egypt
     - Onufri XXII, National Gallery of Arts, Tirana, Albania
     - Multiples, KUAD Galeri, Istanbul, Turkey
     - Personal Structures – Crossing Borders, European Cultural Center, Palazzo Mora,
        Venice, Italy (concurrent with the 56th Venice Biennale 2015)
     - Speak Together, Hofburg Imperial Museum, Innsbruck, Austria
     - Caravanserraglio, PoliLab, Arezzo, Italy
     - Fusionera, Thompson Giroux Gallery, Chatham, New York, USA
     - Studio 300 Digital Art and Music Festival 2015, Kentucky, USA
     - Handmade, Cultural Center of the Philippines
     - From Venice to Miami, Florida, USA
     - Alay Sining 8: Save Hearts with Art, Manila, Philippines
     - En Masse, Thompson Giroux Gallery, Chatham, New York, USA
     - The Roving Eye: Southeast Asian Contemporary Art, ARTER Space, Istanbul, Turkey
     - Mother Load, MET Open, Metropolitan Museum Manila, Philippines
     - Fractured Focus, Koussevitzky Art Gallery, Massachusetts, USA
     - Relative Realities, Yuchengco Museum, Makati City, Philippines
     - Terms & Conditions, Simultan Festival #10, Arthouse, Timisoara, Romania
     - Dornier, Royal Armed Forces Museum, London, United Kingdom
     - Small is Beautiful, KUAD Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey
     - Yesterday Once More, Erehwon Art Space, Quezon City, Philippines
     - Alay Sining 7: Art with a Heart, Manila, Philippines
     - Split Vision-Southeast Asian Contemporary Art, ARTER, Istanbul, Turkey
     - Koussevitzky Art Gallery, Massachusetts, USA
     - Grounded, Lopez Museum, Philippines
     - The Story of the Creative, See // Exhibition Space, New York, USA
     - Six Pack Abs, Ricco Renzo Gallery, Makati City, Manila, Philippines
     - Pagtitipon, DLSU-M, Philippines
     - Ricochet, Nova Gallery, Manila, Philippines
     - 2nd Izmir International Biennal, Turkey
     - The Toronto International Art Fair, Canada
     - Earth Body Mind, 2nd Kathmandu International Arts Festival, Nepal
     - In Wonderland, Stiftung Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, Germany
     - M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2012, Singapore
     - Beautiful Life: Memory and Nostalgia, Pier-2 Art Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
     - Connecting the Dots, Arnica Gallery, Kamloops BC, Canada
     - Human Frames, La Cinémathèque Française, Paris, France
     - Human Frames, Wits School of Arts, Johannesburg, South Africa
     - Human Frames, École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France
     - Human Frames, Werkstatt der Kulturen, Berlin, Germany
     - Nowheresville, General Hardware Contemporary, Toronto, Canada
     - Nothing to Declare, Yuchengco Museum, Manila, Philippines
     - Beautiful Life: Memory and Nostalgia, South Hill Park, Bracknel, UK
     - Human Frames, KIT Kunst-im-Tunnel, Düsseldorf, Germany
     - Human Frames, The Sub station Theatre, Singapore


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