images by Kiam M. Junio

the dead are not altogether powerless
2019
installation with sound, archival objects, and sculptures
boundary
Chicago, IL

“He gave his life to satisfy the State”
Last Mile Blues, Ida Cox

“If there is no fear in the law, wala yan …Yung hanging, once the spine is ripped off inside, wala na. Just like putting off a light.”
—statement by then presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte, May 17, 2016

This is an elegy for the departed, for the incarcerated, for those forced out from their lands. It is a pause and a repeating, a suspension of time tracing theshape of a fall tethered to imported wooden posts. A displacement of time, aconsolidation of space, it echoes from the then and there only to be amplified in the here and now. Split by the ocean, it is a place outside of empire while acknowledging its tragedy. It is a haunting and a recurrence, a consistent presence of being.
 

It loops in the moment before the light goes out. It sways between the black and brown. It slows before the moment of rupture only to reiterate the conditions of its existence.

It is alive in its entrapment, caught before its transition. It cannot be lost for this is what remains.