21AM, the 21st Century Art Museum of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) will be launched on February 25, 2022. Three years in the making, the pre-pandemic concept of a digital museum as a key project of the 50th anniversary of the CCP was conceptualized in 2018 to facilitate the entry of contemporary artists into the intensifying ways digital technology is re-shaping reality.
The new museum to be run by the CCP Visual Arts and Museum Division (CCP VAMD) will present exhibitions of artworks created to investigate how the character of cybernetic space facilitates the manipulation of truth; but also how such manipulations can be understood, arrested, engaged by the imagination.
21AM opens on the day of commemoration of the EDSA People Power event to stress and communicate the new museum’s mission of participating in the character and arcs of contests for truth.
The inaugural exhibition, “The Jane Ryan and William Saunders Jewelry Collection: Augmented Reality” by the couple Pio Abad and Frances Wadsworth Jones, with the assistance of curator Kenneth Paranada, is a digital iteration of a long-duration artwork series probing and exposing the excesses of the Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos regime, through up-close views of this one jewellery collection named with their pseudonyms.
The artwork series has been an intensive artistic probe over nearly a decade for Abad. His wife, the accomplished jeweller Jones, collaborated with him in this project over the past years, contributing to the exhaustive imaginative exploration of a social transgression through the micro-level characteristics of staggeringly expensive jewellery.
The EDSA People Power event of 1986 is recalled, not only in the inaugural exhibition but in the launch of 21AM itself as the new “actor” in the museum world and a wider field of cultural production. The Abad and Jones work in Augmented Reality speaks to both the future and past of truth and its circulation within Philippine society.
The live stream of the launch may be viewed on February 25 at 3pm at the CCP Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/culturalcenterofthephilippines/ and the CCP VAMD Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ccpvamd. The website itself may be accessed at: https://21am.culturalcenter.gov.ph/