CSEAS/MAI Seminar Series presents – City Sense: Sensing Manila in Literature, Arts, and Popular Culture

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Date(s) - 03/10/2013
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Gallery Building 55 Clayton Campus



City Sense: Sensing Manila in Literature, Arts, and Popular Culture


Gary Devilles, La Trobe University / Ateneo de Manila University


 October 3, 1.00-2.30 pm


Arts Faculty Meeting Room/Elisabeth Burchill Room, G.04, bld. 55 (opposite Law Faculty near main bus-loop)


This research is an exploration of Manila’s sensorial dimensions, its visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, and tactile landscape, through literary texts such as stories and novels, paintings, and popular cultural forms such as music, food, festivals and billboards. Understanding how Manila is depicted, imagined, or revealed in these discrepant texts, I argue that Manila is a site of incongruities and contradiction itself is an aesthetic mode that structures ways of sensing the global city. In other words, sensing Manila is sensing its historical, colonial, commodified and oppressive conditions but as an aesthetic mode, it is also a form of engagement in the everyday life, a negotiation, and a viable political strategy in reasserting one’s place and self. City Sense is an articulation of being a citizen in a Foucauldian sense of power and governmentality where relations are in as much as in the service of economic interests taken as primary, are also being utilized in strategies and modes of resistance. Foucault believes that resistance, like power, is multiple and can be integrated in global strategies. By understanding how Manila is sensed discursively, this study hopes to contribute to the growing understanding of global city, its formation and dynamics, and also to the rich literature of sense perception towards a constitution of an ethical self amidst the


concomitant current problems of modernity and urbanization.

Gary Devilles is taking his postgraduate studies in Media Studies and Sociology at La Trobe University. He teaches Philippine Literatures, Popular Culture, and Marxism at Ateneo de Manila University Loyola Schools. Gary writes art, book, and film reviews for Philippine Daily
Inquirer, Manila Times and Metro Magazine.