Project Space Pilipinas (PSP) presents Barter as its parallel exhibition of the 2016 London Biennale MANILA Pollination. As an artist-led platform that develops traditional, alternative and emerging art approaches, PSP supports this socially oriented and collaborative art project conceived by artist and priest Jason Dy, SJ. Generally interested in responding to the changing religious and cultural circumstances, locations and events through his community and studio based art practices, Dy’s current art project is informed by socially engaged creative practices that attempts to break away from conventional modes of art exchanges, i.e. institutional and commercial, to propose an alternate route of engaging people who are at the peripheries of art discourse and interaction (cf. Decter, 2014, pp. 16-17).
Barter has evolved from initially responding to the incongruous government response to the El Niño stricken Kidapawan farmers last 1 April 2016 (as hinted by the rice scooper created from cut down 6-pounder shell casing, 57x306R, 1890s-WWI) to the specificity of the PSP’s exhibition space in Lucban as a site of multiple engagements and exchanges with artists, curators and the local community. The notion of barter, though treated as a “myth” as well as a “thought experiment” by several anthropologists that disagree that this kind exchange of goods was a precursor of money as popularly posited by 18th century Scottish philosopher Adam Smith (cf. Strauss, 2016), is proposed as discursive framework of reflecting on the multiplicity of interactions of the site.