Sore Throat
Davide Bugarin & Adam Castle

10.11.23–12.11.23

Sore Throat, (or Magang Lalamunan in Tagalog) is an interactive film that explores the impact of sound overheard through walls and how this has impacted queer people and queer spaces in the Philippines, where the interpretation of sounds is informed by monstrous mythology and the distortions of colonisation and gentrification. The research-driven work is filmed in Edinburgh and Manila and features music from Manila-based band Kalye Teresa. Produced by queer arts company Pollyanna, Sore Throat blends cabaret and moving image using a newly developed interactive technology made with Studio Autonomic.

A knock at the door. ‘Tao po!’, the traditional announcement (‘I am human’) is heard. It declares that the voice is not a monster’s. Filipino folklore has long been filled with Aswang, monstrous creatures who shape-shift into animals such as dogs, crocodiles and birds. As Spanish colonisers set upon the Philippines in the 16th century, they exploited pre-existing beliefs to propagate the notion that women and queer people were Aswang. At night, it can be hard to tell if the noises heard through the walls of rural homes are the calls of jungle animals or the cries of an Aswang.

A sole performer, appearing as a young queer person and a figure reminiscent of both a cabaret emcee and matador, emerges from the glowing midnight world of Sore Throat. Surrounding them is our audience, who are conducted to make noises, breaking through the theatrical fourth wall.

On screen, the malleable walls of theatrical backdrops struggle to contain either safety or sound. In this world of illusion, monstrosity lingers but cannot be pinned down. Rejection and self-judgement swirl, and music and costume pluck our sole performer from rural Luzon to Manila, a city that has long been a destination for queer Filipinos. Areas such as Malate have come alive at night as queer districts, with karaoke bars bustling and streets becoming overflow social spaces. Yet in the glittering night, the vested interests of new businesses and residents desire a more quiet and respectable neighbourhood, as the play of sounds shake the certainties of this contested world.

Davide Bugarin is an architectural designer and regular performer with Pollyanna. He is the artistic director for the Italian Pavilion at the Malta Art Biennale 2024 and has participated in a residency at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2023. He is on the New Architecture Writers (NAW) 2023 programme, and has been published in The Architects’ Journal and upcoming in Architectural Review. He received a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Dissertation Medal Commendation and Bronze Medal Nomination. He has won architectural prizes from the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects and FAT Architects. He has worked for Foster + Partners and Mott Macdonald, Glasgow.

Adam Castle is an artist and curator. He has created moving image and performance works commissioned by Talbot Rice Gallery and BBC Scotland / LUX Scotland. His work has been exhibited at galleries including Kunstmuseum, Bonn; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson; Baltic, Gateshead. He has curated for BFI and Historic Environment Scotland. He performs as his queer creature alter-ego Pollyfilla. He won the Leadership Award at the Creative Edinburgh Awards in 2016 for founding and producing Pollyanna and Edinburgh Artists’ Moving Image Festival. Adam is a Lecturer in Fine Art at Newcastle University and a Teaching Fellow in Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art. adamcastle.com

Pollyanna produces queer art and cabaret in Scotland. Their cabaret shows have hosted over 250 queer performers, described as ‘a show, a happening,
a movement’ (ScotsGay), and are working with film and installation to reimagine cabaret in digital forms. pollyanna.org.uk

Studio Autonomic is a creative technology and art studio that creates interactive, networked and sonic art. They develop their own technology to produce and support other artists in installation, music, fixed media and performance work.

Funded by Creative Informatics, The National Lottery through Creative Scotland, and Newcastle University.
With thanks to Edinburgh College of Art, Reid School of Music, Edinburgh Dental Institute, ECA Film & TV Department, Julie Bills and Ross Buchanan.

 

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