Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Art’

Manananggurlash: Transgender, trans-species, trans-dimensional

July 21, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, The Bizarre 2 Comments →


In the scary tales of our childhood, the manananggal was a bisected monster with an insatiable craving for human bopis and dinuguan. In the daytime, the manananggal assumed the guise of a woman who lived alone in a hut in the woods. At dusk, she would rub herself with magic oil that caused batwings to grow out of her back, talons to grow out of her fingers, and her upper body to detach from her trunk. Then the upper half would fly around villages in search of fresh human viscera. She was said to be especially fond of fetuses, which she would slurp straight from their mothers’ wombs with her extremely long tongue.

To kill a manananggal (not the title of a third novel from Harper Lee), you had to find the monster’s trunk and sprinkle rock salt in it. This prevented the upper half from returning to its lower body so it was forced to fly around until sunrise, when it would be vaporized by sunlight.


The manananggal story reveals what Filipinos of the past were really afraid of: single women who lived alone. They were suspected of being grotesque hell-creatures who were out to eat other people’s babies.


What if there were manananggal in our midst, living in the city and hanging out with people? They might look like Manananggurlash by Jason Moss, sculptures in metal, ceramic, resin and other materials. Hey, is that Anna Wintour?


Manananggurlash is currently on view at Secret Fresh Gallery, Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills, San Juan. Telephone +63 2 570 9815. The gallery is open from 10am to 7pm everyday except Monday.

The couch where psychoanalysis was born

May 14, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, History, Places, Traveling No Comments →

The couch in Dr. Freud’s office

We didn’t get to read The Interpretation of Dreams, which we’d packed for our trip to Vienna. There was so much to see that we could not look at pages. And then we took lots of photos at the Sigmund Freud Museum, which used to be the Freud family apartments. Since we’re maniacal about organizing our files, we transferred the photos into our Mac, which was stolen two days later.

Book unread, photos stolen—if as Dr Freud said there is no such thing as an accident, what does this mean?

Dr. Freud and his dog

Fortunately we bought a couple of postcards from the little museum shop, which carries Freud’s books.

The museum is a recreation of Freud’s office where he saw his patients, with shelves containing his books and collections of tchotchkes, and plenty of photographs. Some rooms are used as contemporary art exhibition spaces. There is a replica of his famous couch—the original is in London. Apparently he didn’t write his books in his office, he would work on them during his travels. There are also home movies narrated by the doctor’s daughter Anna. In one of them, Sigmund is hanging out with his grandson Lucian Freud the artist.

The Freuds fled Vienna for London when the Nazis came to power. They took their furniture with them, and of course their beloved Chows.

* * * * *

Speaking of dreams and the contents of people’s unconscious, some images from The Art of Dreams in the Public Domain Review.

henry fuseli
The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli (1781). People who have experienced bangungot say it feels like a monster is sitting on their chest. Voila.

Job’s Evil Dreams by William Blake (1805).

The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife by Hokusai (1814). Tentacle porn is older than we think.

Dream Vision by Albrecht Durer (1525) with text describing what he saw.

What we think about when we look at conceptual art

May 01, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Places, Traveling No Comments →

A bunch of boxes by Robert Rauschenberg at MUMOK, the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna.

Everybody recite Art Criticism by Noel Orosa with us:

Kaya ko rin yan
Ba’t di mo ginawa?
Kaya ko rin yan
Ba’t di mo ginawa?

I can do that, too
Then why didn’t you?
I can do that, too
Then why didn’t you?

We courted Stendhal Syndrome and survived! Today we went to the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Art History, the Sigmund Freud Museum, the Albertina, Museumquartier, MUMOK, and ended the day at a concert in Schonbrunn Palace (the Mozart half, we’re not into Strauss—the waltz guy, not the 2001 theme guy), and not only did we stay conscious despite culture overload, we didn’t get lost once.

Pictures later. Venice is gorgeous, Prague is gorgeous, and Paris, but Vienna is the mother lode. At one point it owned all of the above.



Kunsthistorisches Museum

Art in the Park on Sunday

March 18, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Art 1 Comment →


Gabby Barredo’s Opera: Nightmare laboratory

February 19, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Art No Comments →


We made sure to see Gabby Barredo’s exhibit Opera at Silverlens before it closed. Barredo’s work is always a blast, like fairy tales run amok. This show reminded us of cinematic nightmares. Like the giant with eyes on its hands in Pan’s Labyrinth.


This one could be a dentist’s chair from Marathon Man. Dr. Zell will see you now. Is it safe? Is it safe?


The arty serial killers on the Hannibal TV series would plotz over this.


The wallpaper has eyes.


The suspension tanks from Alien or the human batteries from The Matrix.




Dead Ringers: Gynecological instruments for mutants.

Opera is on view until Saturday, 21 February 2015 at Silverlens on Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati.

The second Euro-Pinoy Jazz Festival is happening this weekend

February 17, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Art, Music No Comments →

flyer front

This goes out to the 5 people who read our Whiplash review.

There’s a lot going on this month, including several plays we must watch (Dangerous Liaisons, Jean Genet’s Prisoner of Love, and Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard in Filipino). We asked Rody Vera why everything has to be crammed in the same four weekends, straining our powers of bilocation. He says it’s because it’s Arts Month.

We propose that the NCCA make it Arts Quarter, so the audience doesn’t have to do the headless chicken dance to see everything.