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LUPANG
(The Land That…)

An 8-channel film installation and cookbook.

THE FILM

Filmed on two separate but parallel planes by Carlos Casas (ES), Lobregat Balaguer (PH/ES) and Stefan Kruse Jørgensen (DK), LUPANG documents the present condition of the Ayta tribe, over 20 years after the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 forced them to abandon the ancestral lands they had inhabited for over 30,000 years.

Casas’ camera travelled to isolated upland villages in search of ways of life that survived the eruption, seeking to understand the Aytas’ relationship with the landscape they see now and the one they only remember. Balaguer and Jørgensen got to know a lowland village, born after the eruption. Their collective goal was to understand how assimilation to contemporary culture has impacted the tribe’s sense of identity and to search for ways of life that had grown after the eruption.

The result is an unusual film about a volcano and a tribe, disaster and survival, ancient rituals and karaoke, and the equally uncomfortable sensations of remembering and knowing too much or too little.

Funded by the Earth Observatory Singapore Visiting Artist Program of Nanyang University.

THE COOKBOOK

During filming, the crew noticed disconnects in the Aytas’ memories of their culture. The descriptions of the rituals and beliefs recorded in several interviews were sometimes incomplete or inconsistent. Accounts also varied depending on tribesperson's region. The one thing, however, that all Aytas remembered perfectly and recounted with passionate detail was food. Following the train of thought that smell is the sense most intricately linked with memories, a simple idea arose, one that would hopefully kill several birds with one stone. The artists resolved for the film to come with a cookbook that the Aytas themselves could sell.