Breaking the Fourth Wall: Filipino Indigeneity in the Diaspora
Cambronero, Lauren J.
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This paper contributes to the literature of Filipino indigeneity in the diaspora, by examining the participation of Filipino American students on the University of Washington campus from the 2013 Philippine Culture Night, (colloquially referred to as “Filnight” or “PCN”). I will draw upon my own working theory and visually represent a roadmap similar to the Borromean rings, which are designed as three inseparably and interlocked rings. I will introduce my own Borromean-inspired analytical lens to re-conceptualize the three relationships between storytelling (both fiction and nonfiction), visual performances, and the spectator-performer relationship to complicate the narratives on Filipino indigeneity within the performing arts. My research includes both on and off stage perspectives, to capture the experience of performers and spectators, both Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike. I will also draw upon Virgilio Enriquez’ groundbreaking research “Sikolohiyang Pilipino” (Filipino Psychology) to ground my study on Tagalog-based terms and explanations, for a comprehensive understanding of cultural performance. Then, this paper will shift the direction towards critiques on the Indigenization movement as it relates to Sikolohiyang Pilipino. The Indigenization movement began in the spaces of academia as Philippine scholars sought to raise national consciousness and “liberate” Filipinos from the colonial mentality that permeated the educational institutions. The paper will also discuss critiques on the PCN culture that makes indigeneity complex for culturally hybrid students. Overall, I argue that despite the complexities and struggles for indigeneity within the PCN, the 2013 Filnight play accomplished a feat that brought together multiple storylines that are culturally indigenous to the Filipino peoples and historically relevant to multiple ethnic communities through the three interconnected rings: storytelling, visual performance, and a dynamic spectator-performer relationship.