Fugue encore

Circular wooden display table, AI-generated and 3D-modeled plastic lingling-o variations, single-channel video


Fugue encore parallels the pluralities of meaning and histories of the lingling-o, an object with no agreed upon singular origin, dispersed across various locations within the range of the West Philippine Sea. The lingling-o can be understood as an embodiment of plural, diverging histories and meanings, all embedded within its ambiguous form, subject to speculation and reimagining. The production of AI-generated iterations of the object runs parallel to its indeterminate origin and mode of transmission. The 3D-printed objects actualize the virtual, localizing competing flows of information with no definite origin within the particular dimensions of these “new” or “false” artifacts.

Fugue encore began by generating “new” designs of lingling-o through artificial intelligence, using 549 images, mined from the internet and scanned from publications, all with varying resolutions. Working with artist-programmer Christina Lopez, styleGAN (a novel generative adversarial network) was trained on this data set for it to learn what a lingling-o looks like.

In the two screens installed were generate interpolation videos of dozens of designs the styleGAN had generated, a single lingling-o suspended on-screen seemingly transforming infinitely. 

A selection of “new” lingling-o’s were passed on to 3D modeller Arsenio Lukban, who translated them into print-ready models from a default set and sets of variations. The resulting 60 models were then 3D-printed through stereolithography in translucent plastic resin, from liquid to solid through ultraviolet light. They are powdery and smooth, and in the hand feel like stone or bone.

Integral to the overall concept is that the work proposes a paradox — that viewers can simultaneously recognize that the 3D-printed linglingos were created using a precise, mechanical technology but still suggest an imagination or narrative that they could come or could have come from a less controlled history of craft. In the variations can be imagined a future people, possibilities of inevitable environmental damage, and the passage of time. We can speculate on how these artifacts were or will be shaped by how they were made or used, treasured or lost / degraded / rediscovered.

Cast But One Shadow: Afro-Southeast Asian Affinities
U.P. Vargas Museum
24 Sept 2021 - 15 Jan 2022

Video documentation + recorded talk

Work commissioned by the ASEAN Foundation

Installation photos courtesy of the University of the Philippines Vargas Museum & Gian Carlo Delgado

Way of the Ancient Healer: Sacred Teachings from the Philippine Ancestral Traditions by Virgil Mayor Apostol (2010)