On Storms

For our 37th screening, Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock brings us Storm Children: Book One by Lav Díaz as a visual companion to Rendra’s poem An Angry World (1960). Full text of the poem may be found in the series’ full concept.

On the 8 November 2013, the city Tacloban on Leyte Island, Philippines, was largely destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan, causing the death of 6201 people. The city had previously suffered a similar destruction and loss of life in 1897 and 1912. A few months after the catastrophe, Lav Diaz visited the Island to document the lives of children. The resulting film comes to not only document the aftermath of this natural disaster, but to rejoice in the resilience and liveliness of the children who navigate the rubble and continue their lives in spite of the devastation.

Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock the film with this quote by Lav Diaz:

We Malays, we Filipinos, are not governed by the concept of time. We are governed by the concept of space. We don't believe in time. If you live in the country, you see Filipinos hang out. They are not very productive. That is very Malay. It is all about space and nature. [...] In the Philippine archipelago, nature provided everything, until the concept of property came with the Spanish colonizers. Then the capitalist order took control. [...] The concept of time was introduced to us when the Spaniards came. We had to do oracion [pray] at six o'clock, and start work at seven. Before it was free, it was Malay.

Tilman Baumgärtel, Lav Diaz: Digital is Liberation Theology (2007), in T. Baumgärtel (edited by), Southeast Asian Independent Cinema: Essays, Documents, Interviews; Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012, pp. 174–175.

Let’s come together and eat, drink, laugh, discuss and hang out. Let’s get rid of time and reclaim our space. Come early, food will be served at 6pm.

Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock is a curator and researcher at SAVVY Contemporary Berlin and is part of the participatory archive projectColonial Neighbours. She received her MA in Postcolonial Cultures and Global Policy at Goldsmiths University of London and moved to Berlin in 2013. In her work within the permanent collection of SAVVY Contemporary, she looks for colonial traces that are manifested in our present. The collaborative archive dedicates itself to discussing silenced histories and to the decanonization of the Western gaze through objects and the stories behind them. In close collaboration with artists, initiatives and activists, the archive is activated through hybrid forms of practice. Most recently, she collaborated with the Maerzmusik festival (Berliner Festspiele, March 2017) and assisted the management for the documenta14 radio program–Every Time a Ear di Soun, SAVVY Funk in Berlin (June–July 2017). She supported the artist Bouchra Khalili with several projects and exhibitions (May 2015–May 2016).