WHWrLAB 2015

Micol Hebron, ARTIST

Micol Hebron is an interdisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles and is an Assistant Professor in the Art Department at Chapman University in Orange, CA. She has been engaged in individual and collaborative projects in Los Angeles since 1992. Her work frequently explores the artist’s relationship to art-making, art history and modernism in particular. Her current projects are focused on re-examining essentialist feminism in the context of the contemporary art world. Her latest solo exhibition, Reverse Engineering, at Jancar Gallery in March 2013, examined the confluence of the personal, political, and historical aspects of feminism and emotion in the role of the artist/author.

Hebron has served on the editorial board of X-Tra Magazine since 2004 (as an Editor until 2012, and now as a Contributing Editor), and writes for several international art magazines (Art Forum, Arte Contexto, and Art Pulse). She is a founding member of the LA Art Girls, a 30-member collective of women artists in Los Angeles (since 2004). Curatorial projects include: Transmediation, a Survey of Graduate Student Video Art from 10 east coast colleges, at CAA and Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, New York; Doublespeak: Codes and Entendres by Contemporary Women Artists, at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and Forward Thinking: A Curatorial Exchange at the College Art Association 2012 Annual conference in Los Angeles. Recent writing projects include Judy Chicago: Experienced, a catalog essay for her recent exhibition at Jancar Gallery; and Soft Science; or, How Cute Can Save the World, a forward to the Complete Characters of Mr. Winkle, by Lara Jo Regan.  Hebron is represented by Jancar Gallery in Los Angeles, where she lives and works.  micolhebron.com

Hope Hervilla, ACTIVIST

“Since childhood Hope Hervilla has seen the dark side of globalization and violence in the Philippines. She walked to school barefoot after selling eggs and cigarettes in her nation’s ports and toiled in banana plantations to earn her way through college. Her dream is to see her people free from poverty and oppression and free to chart their own destiny.

Hope speaks out as a journalist and activist in one of the most deadly countries to be a journalist in the world. Sadly, in 2009 two of her women colleagues were killed in the largest massacre of journalists in recorded history. For her, the risks she faces by speaking out are outweighed by the risks of continued silence. For this reason, last year, Hope was invited to run for Congress in the Philippines as the only woman on the opposition platform. She decided to do it, saying that “being a leader means having a big heart for compassion and a courageous heart to battle against all forms of discrimination and oppression.” Though her party lost the election, she is considering running again and she tells us, “I left footprints of a real politics of change with every handshake and smile I gave.”

Hope is a social worker by trade and a tireless activist in practice. After obtaining her college degree, she taught social work at the university level, focusing on social issues and women’s advocacy. She taught for many years but her political activism put her at odds with the university’s philosophy. Thus, she decided to resign and focus on social and environmental justice work. In 2006, she founded Save Our Lives, SOS!– Panay and Guimaras immediately following the worst oil spill in the Philippines’ history. SOS is an alliance of women activists, human rights groups, local legislators, scientists, lawyers, academics, and victims of the spill who came together to respond to the damage done to the area’s land and livelihoods. This coalition of victims and advocates has grown into a permanent organization committed to empowering communities, especially women and children, to demand economic and environmental justice and accountability from the government and corporations in light of several overwhelming natural and man-made disasters affecting the area in the past few years, including the oil spill and the devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda last year.

In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, with the Philippines government struggling to assist survivors of the devastation, Hope did what came naturally to her: Along with her husband, she stepped up to organize relief efforts in her hometown.

Hope is an exemplary example of a courageous, determined woman who puts all of her efforts into creating change and a brighter future for her community and her country.” (womenhavewings.org)

Hope writes under her pen name Malaya Pinas for World Pulse:  https://www.worldpulse.com/en/community/users/malayapinas/posts/37337

July 6 - 10, 2015

Day 1: Hope and Micol arrive

Sunday Morning, July 5th, we all gathered on the porch of the cabin for breakfast and first day introductions. Micol and Hope were asked to help brainstorm what the week could look like with the help of Eliza and Catherine. The search for a theme for the week began. Some topics that came up included empathy & vulnerability, strategies & tactics of activism, collective authorship, loss & absence from a man’s perspective vs a woman’s, self-doubt, the inherent difficulties of being a woman leader, audience – why is it that male voices are implied to speak on behalf of everyone and women’s voices are implied to speak to other women?, navigating power dynamics as a woman, the struggle for local control with international aid, injustice of foreign aids, the problem of tax exemption for foreign corporations, and how to build solidarity.

Day 2

For our second lunch together we were so grateful to enjoy an amazing meal from the Taj Indian Restaurant, one of our community supporters.

For our second lunch together we were so grateful to enjoy an amazing meal from the Taj Indian Restaurant, one of our community supporters.

Hope aspires to work on her book during the residency, at least getting a solid start and sorting out the many articles she has written over the years. The time and space to focus on writing her book has been a major challenge as she balances her many roles within her community and family.

Hope aspires to work on her book during the residency, at least getting a solid start and sorting out the many articles she has written over the years. The time and space to focus on writing her book has been a major challenge as she balances her many roles within her community and family.

Micol referring to Nina Smart’s book Wildflower. 

Micol referring to Nina Smart’s book Wildflower. 

Micol shares her thoughts on the conversations from the last 24 hours.

Micol shares her thoughts on the conversations from the last 24 hours.

Hope's Writing Practice

Hope writes under her pen name Malaya Pinas for World Pulse: 

https://www.worldpulse.com/en/community/users/malayapinas/posts/37337

When I asked Hope which article she felt was most important to share, she chose this one, which I pasted in the body of this entry: 

https://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/blog/2014/08/07/still-devastated-eight-months-after-typhoon-haiyan/

“We are losing hope waiting for the fulfillment of the government’s promises for our livelihood and repair of our damaged houses. Almost all of us are already heavily indebted. We are homeless, jobless, and hungry. We can’t return to our community because have been evicted by the government from our own residential places due to its ‘No Dwell Zone policy’”.  - Dionesia, Typhoon Haiyan Survivor

Typhoon Haiyan: The worst of our times

Eight months after the strongest typhoon hit the Philippines, the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda in local name) on the island of Panay are still struggling to rise up from the ravages of this deadly storm. On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan hit central Philippines leaving more than 10,000 people dead, affecting 16.1 million people across nine regions, and displacing around 4.1 million people.

The World Bank report further said that in March, initial government estimates put the total damage to public and private physical assets at P424 billion (approximately 9.7 billion USD), or 3.7 percent of GDP. Recovery and reconstruction will cost P361 billion, or 3.1 percent of GDP, of which around P125 billion (1.1 percent of GDP) would be borne by the government in 2013 and 2014

On July 8th, exactly eight month of the Typhoon Haiyan devastation 100 survivors of Panay Island in Central Philippines came together in Iloilo City to discuss their plight and shared their heartaches and their desperation. The group called themselves “Kusog sang Pumuluyo” or People’s Strength. This became an alliance of Typhoon Haiyan survivors and advocates demanding basic social services and government support for their immediate recovery from the devastation.

During their exchanges, everyone shared their own experiences and perceptions of government negligence. Livelihood and shelter were their outmost concerns, as well as issues affecting education were aired out. School buildings have yet to be repaired. Children are suffering from the difficult learning environment inside tents donated by foreign donors.

Tent school

Tent school

Parents are afraid that their children will get sick due to the congestion inside the tents. On the onset of rainy season, children are vulnerable to upper respiratory diseases. Tents are being blown by strong winds and their children are left with little or no protection from the heavy rains. Storms hit one after another.

It has been a long eight months of agony yet many people feel that the government has not given them the support necessary for immediate recovery.

Estancia: A Small Paradise Crumpled

Estancia is known as the “Alaska of the Philippines” due to its rich fishing grounds. Its panoramic beauty glossed by the different lovely small islands and pristine blue waters of the Visayan Sea charms everyone. Mouth-watering grilled fresh fish, shellfish, and shrimp make delightful meals one can never refuse.

Estancia is a fishing community and a home of more than 25,000 residents primarily engaged in fishing. Its fishing port is a place that never sleeps. It’s a respite from long nights of fishing and a sanctuary as well for fishers and anchorage of boats from neighboring islands during typhoons.

This small paradise island was the hardest hit municipality in Northern Iloilo. It was hammered and crumpled. When Typhoon Haiyan hit the island, it never came to anyone’s imagination that they would be able to survive. Stories of survivors make you shiver to the bones of how they struggled to go through the ordeal of world’s deadliest storm that ever happened in their lives. According Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System, Estancia had the highest storm surge measuring 21.8 meters high compared to other affected areas in the country.

The Survivor’s Ordeal

This is the story of a Mary Ann, a survivor, and a mother of four children.

My two year-old daughter was sick and had just gone for a medical check-up when Typhoon Haiyan hit us. In the morning of November 8, I told my eldest daughter to cook some food in preparation for the typhoon. The wind began to blow hardly starting 8:30 in the morning and by 11 o’ clock, our plates from the kitchen were blown and our house received the strong winds. I was afraid and crying holding my 2 year old baby. My husband told me to transfer to another house for safety. Braving the storm, I wrapped my daughter with blankets going out with my husband and other children.

Sadly, the house we went to collapsed, as did the next house. My daughter was shivering, so we looked for a tarp to cover her. My husband was hit by a hard wood injuring his head. By 3 o’clock in the afternoon, our kids were crying because they were hungry and cold. We had no food left for the rest of the day and upcoming night. The next day, we took some fresh coconuts for breakfast.

Until now, our house is not done, we got some sheets for roofing, but we don’t have other materials for the house, the whole house needs to be rebuilt. We had a boat, but it’s missing. My husband was a fisherman, but now we have no income. We used the trees that fell to make charcoal, and sold it to buy food.

Voices of Hope: From Victims to Activism

Mary Ann is just one of the more than 25,000 Typhoon Haiyan victims and survivors of Estancia whose voices remained unheard. Many feel that the government have not felt their agony or listened to their small and unheard voices.

Voices of Hope: From Victims to Activism is a project passionate to empower the affected communities of Typhoon Haiyan by giving their voices back again transformed to brave the storm of government negligence and callousness. Resisting victimization is activism fighting for human rights. The world needs to hear their stories and compel the government to listen and act according to the needs of the people. We need to give birth to grassroots citizens’ journalists in trumpeting our own collective stories, define solutions and be heard.

The Voices of Hope project will mobilize and equip local residents to be citizens’ journalist. This is a citizens’ journalism training for 15 leaders in trumpeting the stories of people’s courage and hope from the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the oil spill and government negligence. This aims to enhance our community radio program in empowering the affected communities of Estancia, Iloilo in rising above and speaking out loud our advocacy for environmental, economic and political justice. Stories will be posted online through Facebook, YouTube or a group blog. We believe that the project will create strong waves of voices that will fuel positive responses to the urgent needs of the survivors in the communities of Estancia, Iloilo.

We are so excited for the workshops and the whole program as well. The fifteen trainees were also excited come July 18 to attend the workshop. We had already prepared the venue and the resource persons to help us facilitate the workshop. Unfortunately, Typhoon Glenda (Rammasun) hit the country in July 17 resulting to our postponement of the workshop. According to Manila Bulletin Correspondent Chito Chavez in July 19, Typhoon Glenda left at least 64 people dead in Luzon and Metro Manila. After 48 hours that Typhoon Glenda battered the country, Typhoon Henry (Matmo) entered the country while victims were still reeling from the wreckages of Typhoon Glenda.

It’s heartbreaking to see images of people hit by typhoons one after the other. Thus, Voices of Hope team firmly believe that we need to pursue the project against all odds to enable the collective voices of survivors demand justice and basic social services during pre-to post-disaster times. The workshops will be delayed a little while but as of the moment, we are working on the preparations and the scheduling the workshop and we have already the commitment of some media friends to support the project. One of them is a news director of a TV morning show and willing to assist us in the workshop. We did already orientation with the fifteen trainees and the support of the whole community.

Voices of Hope volunteers

Voices of Hope volunteers

We are looking forward to the emerging young citizen’s journalists who can amplify the voices of the least privilege sectors of our society, the disaster ruined communities like Estancia. We are thankful for the support of Rising Voices that will pave the airwaves for us and let the whole world know that we need to be heard and our concerns will be addressed in due time. With full of hopes, we are also calling the support of the international community to join us in our cry for justice and survival.  -Hope Hervilla

Hope's Detox Tonic

Hope’s Detox Tonic Recipe:

Add 1 tsp of each to a cup of hot water :

  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Honey
  • apple cider vinegar

*Proportions can be adjusted to suit individual preference

Day 3: Micol's Nipple Explosion

I find Eliza pulling weeds in her garden at 9 in the morning as I arrive, she tells me, “Micol has a viral thing…her nipple exploded…so she needs to deal with that this morning.” Or at least that’s what I heard. My mind was racing through my knowledge of biological ailments, and I couldn’t think of a time other than early motherhood when nipples were prone to bursting. Micole came up and said, “I’ll tell you about it in a minute” with a very serious expression on her face.

It turns out Micol had posted a male nipple online last year with instructions for topless women to paste the “acceptable” male nipple on the topless female images…to avoid internet censorship of “unacceptable” female nipples. The nipple was picked up again by Buzzfeed yesterday at 11:52 a.m. and has gone viral since. Micol’s dealing with her “viral thing” means her phone has been blowing up and she’s been asked to do three interviews this morning. So we’re going to give her some space today to manage her nipple explosion.

Check out the Buzzfeed article:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/juliegerstein/women-are-fighting-boob-censorship-with-male-nipples?bffb&utm_term=4ldqpgp#.jjdw6rDRY

nipple-sidebyside.jpg

Micol’s contributions to the web can be found through:

https://www.facebook.com/micol.hebron?fref=ts

Twitter: Unicornkiller1

Pinterest (Username: micol hebron)

Youtube (Account name: Unicornkiller)

Vimeo (Account name: Unicornkiller)

Micol on her work:

I have a socially integrative, interdisciplinary practice that includes performance, installation, photography, and video. My body is my medium and site of discourse. I am interested in the social, cultural, and historical constructions of identity, particularly within the role and image of the female body in the wake of modernism and second wave feminism. I use art history, social games, folklore, mythology, everyday actions, memes, and humor to destabilize expectations and stereotypes of gender.

My current bodies of work address how ideas of essentialist feminism and central core imagery might open new dialogues in contemporary art. These ideas have been historically rejected by Post-structuralists as being anti-intellectual. In a post 9-11 world that is still heavily informed by patriarchal and capitalist notions of power, I hope that by returning to these artistic strategies that explore collaboration, empathy, and consciousness-raising, I can offer an alternative conversation about the roles of identity and subjectivity in cultural production.

My own body, history, and socialized identity frequently become the topic of the work, though I hope that there is also the potential for an allegorical association with and for the viewer. My recent photographs have aimed to use art history, humor and intimate body imagery to explore how the female body can create positions and images of empowerment. I have also sought to do performances that encourage greater cultural awareness, increased empathy and generosity, and the valuing of an experience rather than an object or relic. My performances and videos often involve participants as they address how social interactions contribute to our sense of self and subjectivity. I am interested in the ways in which art can facilitate interpersonal relationships, community building, gender equity, and curiosity about how and why we are the way we are.” (micolhebron.com)

The view from Micol's cabin.

The view from Micol's cabin.

Micol shows us her journal that was converted from an old book titled "A Man Can Be..."

Micol shows us her journal that was converted from an old book titled "A Man Can Be..."

A stack of Hope's articles.

A stack of Hope's articles.

Micol is finding internet where she can keep up with all the media attention.

Micol is finding internet where she can keep up with all the media attention.

Micol shows our recently arrived lunch guests her digital pastie project.

Micol shows our recently arrived lunch guests her digital pastie project.

For lunch we were joined by two women entrepreneurs Kathryn Callahan (http://www.coopercreative.us) and Kael Robinson (http://fleeps.com/shop/).

For lunch we were joined by two women entrepreneurs Kathryn Callahan (http://www.coopercreative.us) and Kael Robinson (http://fleeps.com/shop/).

We insisted Kael model some of her product.

We insisted Kael model some of her product.

The conversation turned to social entrepreneurship / art & commerce / art & social justice and a few projects came up as examples. The mural above is an anamorphic text mural in a favela near Sao Paulo, Brazil by the Spanish collective Boa Mistura.

The conversation turned to social entrepreneurship / art & commerce / art & social justice and a few projects came up as examples. The mural above is an anamorphic text mural in a favela near Sao Paulo, Brazil by the Spanish collective Boa Mistura.

Homeboy Industries is a non-profit in L.A. that teaches ex gang members culinary skills, and offers legal assistance, tattoo removal, and more. Find out more: http://goldenhourblog.com/2012/06/26/homeboy/.

Homeboy Industries is a non-profit in L.A. that teaches ex gang members culinary skills, and offers legal assistance, tattoo removal, and more. Find out more: http://goldenhourblog.com/2012/06/26/homeboy/.

Project Row Houses is an art project integrated into the underserved African-American community of the 3rd ward in Houston, TX. PRH offers public arts programming, resource directories, a single mom’s program, collaborates with Rice Universities Architecture program, and more. Find out more: http://projectrowhouses.org.

Project Row Houses is an art project integrated into the underserved African-American community of the 3rd ward in Houston, TX. PRH offers public arts programming, resource directories, a single mom’s program, collaborates with Rice Universities Architecture program, and more. Find out more: http://projectrowhouses.org.

On the subject of art and commerce, it was pointed out that it’s a sticky subject. There’s a money problem with art as well as with social service funding from NGOs in the Philippines. The history of patronage in the arts is a long and complicated one, but we see it’s fruits in today’s economy with art slapped on all sorts of consumer products as a marketing tool aimed at the high-end consumer.

On the subject of art and commerce, it was pointed out that it’s a sticky subject. There’s a money problem with art as well as with social service funding from NGOs in the Philippines. The history of patronage in the arts is a long and complicated one, but we see it’s fruits in today’s economy with art slapped on all sorts of consumer products as a marketing tool aimed at the high-end consumer.

Day 4: Chautauqua Trip

Micol and Eliza deep in conversation in the garden early morning. The book being discussed was “Sex, Time, and Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution” by Leonard Shlain.

Micol and Eliza deep in conversation in the garden early morning. The book being discussed was “Sex, Time, and Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution” by Leonard Shlain.

Hope in front of the flower garden.

Hope in front of the flower garden.

Micol and Hope had decided they wanted to visit Chautauqua park. The Chautauqua movement of the 1920s was one of the first movements of its size that promoted accessible education for all, spawned the first national book club by mail, and circuited great speakers to rural cities across the country- including Jane Adams. It’s history is founded on the healthful and spiritual benefits of nature and rested on the ideals of democracy and accessibility.

Taking shelter from the rain.

Taking shelter from the rain.

After moving to the Chautauqua dining hall to sit by the fireplace Micol finds out that Facebook removed an image from a different body of work and sanctioned her by removing her ability to post, comment, or like anything on Facebook for 24 hours.

After moving to the Chautauqua dining hall to sit by the fireplace Micol finds out that Facebook removed an image from a different body of work and sanctioned her by removing her ability to post, comment, or like anything on Facebook for 24 hours.

Hope tells us about how she has experienced and seen gender based oppression in institutions and social sanctions in the Philippines. Divorce is prohibited, so many couples end up physically separating but annulments are reserved only for the very wealthy who can afford the legal cost. Hope told one story of how she was stopped by customs agents, separated from her daughter, and questioned to find out if the girl with Hope was really her daughter only on the basis that she didn’t share the same surname.  The social taboos around many topics lead to discrimination and ostracization of women. Men in the same circumstance rarely suffer similar difficulties navigating society and business. Hope shared her experience of being blackmailed out of educational benefits for her child on speculative “moral” grounds, and her decision not to fight against the situation as the best strategy to protect her overall commitment to effective leadership in her community.

Hope has experience as a leader in her community tasked with coordinating with government officials, church leaders, and NGOs. She has shared with us how women leaders in her community are trained in leadership by her organization, then sometimes hired by NGOs and taken away from leadership roles within the community. She has seen corruption, human rights violations, distrust of the local leadership by, and resistance of the government and NGOs to give agency to the grassroots community groups. Hope and Micol have been thinking how great it would be to make a brochure with compelling infographics for NGOs and aid workers who desire to help foreign countries with disaster relief efforts. Often this good intention acts on a community with misguided notions of how to best impact change where it is needed most. Hope has some very solid ideas on how these organizations could improve their approach and practice, have greater positive impact, and cause less damage.

Day 6

Artist Angela Ellsworth joined Friday’s breakfast session, gets to know the residents, and catches up on what has been discussed during the week so far. Angela points out that the mobilization of women is a significant commonality that the two share. We discussed the tactics each uses to mobilize, and find out that Hope’s organization uses an educational model and focuses on leadership training for women. Her organization Hugpong Kababaenhan offers  “National Democratic Cause Basic Training” which lays a foundation for looking at the situation through looking at society, classes in the Philippines, basic problems in the country, the history of struggle in the Philippines, the history of colonization, and the point of view of the progressives to lay a foundational understanding of the context surrounding the current issues in the Philippines.  Her group also teaches a trainer’s training, so that more women can be equipped to teach these courses in order to disseminate information and train new women leaders in other parts of the region. The group’s activist training course teaches community members how to speak out, how to have successful dialogue with officials, tacticiszing, and how to translate these things into meaningful action.

Meanwhile, Micol has now been banned from Facebook for 3 days, she has been receiving many phone calls from strangers and telemarketers for no reason, and her computer crashed. She had to make an emergency trip into town in attempt to get her computer back to working order. No news yet on how that went, but the powers that be have definitely tried their best to silence her from participating in social media during this time of intense attention to her work and activism… or it could all just be coincidental?

Klaus and Marlow listen intently. 

Klaus and Marlow listen intently. 

Lunch from Thai Shi House and Verde…was delicious.

Lunch from Thai Shi House and Verde…was delicious.

Hope working on sharing some of her materials with us. She shares her power point on the typhoon below and comments, “It’s really sad the situation in the Philippines. The people were victimized by the typhoon, and again by the actions of the government”.

Hope working on sharing some of her materials with us. She shares her power point on the typhoon below and comments, “It’s really sad the situation in the Philippines. The people were victimized by the typhoon, and again by the actions of the government”.

State of Yolanda Rehabilitation

We also discussed in the morning the criterion that the government established for granting aid. Hope said the government will not grant aid to families living closest to the coast. The land is declared a “No-Dwell” zone for safety reasons and families are forced to relocate to receive relief assistance. Meanwhile the ten wealthiest men in the country have already started dividing up the real estate, some to develop the prime coastal locations for new tourist attractions. The document is shared below.

Memorandum circular 24

Images from Protests organized by Hugpong Kababaenhan, Hope’s women’s organization.

Day 7: Community Gathering

Hope and Micol record a video interview while peeling nipple stickers before the community dinner.

Hope and Micol record a video interview while peeling nipple stickers before the community dinner.

Hope and Micol speak about their backgrounds and reflect on what they learned through spending the week together.

Hope and Micol speak about their backgrounds and reflect on what they learned through spending the week together.

Setting up

Setting up

It was truly amazing to bring together such a diverse group of people. From filmmakers to academics, the group’s great diversity provided for a beautiful and interesting evening.

It was truly amazing to bring together such a diverse group of people. From filmmakers to academics, the group’s great diversity provided for a beautiful and interesting evening.