Our Islands 11°16’58.4 N 123°45’07.0 E

July 1, 2024 – July 31, 2024
Time Square Art Center

669 8th Ave, New York, NY 10036

Martha Atienza, Our Islands 11°16’58.4” N 123°45’07.0”E

Martha Atienza, Our Islands 11°16’58.4” N 123°45’07.0”E

Times Square Arts, the largest public platform for contemporary performance and visual arts, is pleased to announce their Midnight Moment Summer Season featuring digital works by multidisciplinary visual artists Marco Brambilla (June), Martha Atienza (July), and Chun Hua Catherine Dong (August).

As the world’s largest and longest-running digital art exhibition, the Midnight Moment is a staple of New York’s global cultural landscape, displaying innovative artworks across over 95 electronic billboards throughout Times Square nightly from 11:57pm to midnight. This summer season showcases the height of contemporary video art with digital visions of a dynamic world fair of the future, an underwater parade with divers trudging along the Visayan seafloor, and a reimagining of the legendary Chinese folk heroine Mulan using virtual reality to explore gender, the plasticity and plurality of the body.

In Our Islands 11°16’58.4”N 123°45’07.0”E, Martha Atienza—whose practice explores installation and video as a way of documenting and questioning issues around the environment, community, and development in the Philippines—reimagines a yearly local parade from her native Philippines by staging it on the floor of the Visayan Sea. The film’s performers are underwater compressor divers from Bantayan Island, who specialize in a dangerous form of fishing necessitated by the devastating impact of illegal and commercial fishing, industrialization, and climate change in the archipelago. The exact coordinates for the dreamlike underwater procession were chosen by the divers themselves according to the tide, current, and time of day. As they trudge across the seabed, Atienza’s cast of characters and choice of setting presents a critical and humorous take not only on society and culture in the Philippines, but also alludes to the threat of climate collapse to which Southeast Asia is increasingly exposed. Part of her continuing series to establish art as an open source for ideas, Atienza’s moving diorama under the sea is a collaboration with the local community, with whom she creates work to empower and amplify seldom-heard voices.

The original version of Our Islands 11°16’58.4”N 123°45’07.0”E was awarded the Baloise Art Prize in 2017 and acquired by the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2021, with previous screenings across Asia, Australia, and Europe.

Martha Atienza is a Philippines-based artist whose video work documents issues of the environment, community, and development within her island home. Her observational lens takes on both ecological and sociological concerns as she studies the intricate interplay between local traditions, human subjectivity, and the natural world. By deeply examining the patterns within her immediate surroundings, Atienza explores the potential that the video medium holds as a catalyst for societal transformation. She was twice awarded the Ateneo Art Awards in Manila (2012/2016) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artists Award (2015). Recent biennials and triennials include the 2nd Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, Riyadh (2024); 17th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul (2022); Bangkok Art Biennale, Bangkok (2020); Honolulu Biennial, Oahu, Hawaii (2019); and the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane (2018).

In addition to her art practice, Martha Atienza is the president and co-founder of GOODLand, a platform under her Art Lab that develops and applies a creative and collaborative methodology utilized to tackle social, economic and environmental issues on Bantayan Island in the Visayas, Philippines. Its mission is to facilitate the realization of an empowered, self-sufficient, and resilient community.

Silverlens is an international gallery with locations in Manila and New York. Through its artist representation, institutional partnerships, art consultancy, and exhibition programming including art fairs and gallery collaborations, Silverlens aims to place its artists within the broader framework of the contemporary art dialogue. Its continuing efforts to transcend borders across art communities in Asia have earned it recognition as one of the leading contemporary art galleries in Southeast Asia.

Silverlens was founded in Manila by Isa Lorenzo in 2004, and in 2007 she was joined by co-director Rachel Rillo. In September 2022, the gallery opened its doors in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, broadening its international scope and bringing its diverse roster of artists to a new global audience. In 2024, Silverlens commemorates its 20th anniversary, marking a significant milestone for the global gallery and its dedication to championing diasporic artists.