“The only intuitive interface is the nipple” and 10 other things to know about WSK: Festival of the Recently Possible

“What started as a joke became something bigger than what we expected,” Tengal Drilon, Festival director says of the 5-year-old WSK: Festival of the Recently Possible. Apart from “traffic becoming worse,” longtime followers will notice that, WSK has (finally!) dropped the “Fete dela” from its name. And from just being a one-time underground sound art festival, the fest has now grown to champion digital culture—expanded cinema, new media art, fringe activities on uses of technology.

The festival proper happens on the weekend of Nov 7-9 but that’ll just be like a closing party; a week prior, on Nov 1, things will have started by way of radio. Here are 11 things about WSK:

It’s no longer called ‘Fete dela Wsk.” It’s now “WSK: Festival of the Recently Possible.” “We dropped ‘Fete dela’ in the name as a reminder of our maturity. Five years ago, it started out as a pun on Fete dela Musique,” says Tengal.

The festival actually begins Nov 1. As in, you can start listening to WSK’s a pirate radio broadcast starting Nov 1. It’s 107.9 on FM dial. Also: participating artists will have begun their collaborations on Nov 1 at 1335 Mabini.

But the ‘opening party’ is on Nov 7. And it’s called The Drop x Fete dela WSK. This is because it’s in cooperation with Black Market and Nov 7 is a Friday and Friday nights at Black Market are dubbed “The Drop.”

There are four venues this year. 1335 Mabini (1335 Mabini St, Malate, Manila), where the radio broadcasts take place, as well as where the studio workshops happen. Black Market (Warehouse 5, La Fuerza Compound, Sabio St., Pasong Tamo, Makati), where the opening party is going to be at on Nov 7, Friday. The Tiu Theater (Mile Long Compound, Amorsolo cor Dela Rosa St, Makati), where Sat’s audio-visual concert and film screening is happening. And finally, at the Chino Roces Warehouse (2135 Chino Roces, Makati), where exhibitions and the closing concert are at.

Asian artists are taking the festival’s front and center. Unlike previous years where a shitload of Westerners participated, this year’s headliners come from our region of the globe. Representing Japan are Daisuke Tanabe and Yosi Horkawa, from Indonesia are Lifepatch and Rick Janitra; Thailand is participating by way of Stylish Nonsense. “Since the beginning, we’ve always wanted to have more interaction with artists and communities’ working in the Asia-Pacific. No coincidence here, we really wanted this from the beginning. Thanks to institutions like Japan Foundation, they made it possible for us,” says Tengal.

Children of Cathode Ray reunion! This is the band’s first performance in 13 years, so Tengal and punks of the 80s underground are terribly excited about this. Background check: Children of Cathode Ray is a three-piece outfit in the 80s comprised of names you’ve surely come across: Tad Ermitano is a well-established media artist and filmmaker. Jing Garcia is a well-known rock journo who made the successful transition as a tech journalist, and “Magyar is an all around handy man. They were underground before we were underground,” exclaims Tengal.

WSK is for the artist as it is for the audience. Tengal would like to think of WSK as a “festival as a laboratory” experience. “A chosen methodology of the festival is that of shaping new interactions. There’s a more process-based approach: We fly in foreign artists to collaborate with local artists, and then we present the collaboration to the public during festival proper, be it as a concert, an installation, an exhibition, or a series of interactions in the open studio,” Tengal says.

Get in on the program. Because WSK champions the alternative, Tengal says there are always new people checking them out. “Maybe because what we do is so strange at first, people can’t determine if they would like it. But almost always, there’s at least one fellow who sticks to it [because] it changes his perspective on art, and then moves on,” he says.

But there’s still a long way to go. “In terms of the art market, so far, collectors and galleries [still] get confused and concerned about things that plug in! Ha ha!”

The after-party party: Pork, inasal, Chinatown, and traffic notes. Tengal is looking forward to getting his Japanese and North American guests to try lechon, sisig, street food, “and other evil things. But we will have some Muslim artists from Indonesia, too, so we will have to take them to Inasal places. And Chinatown! Regardless of their nationality, I think we are all united by the same things Filipinos are bound to: good food, booze, and hatred for traffic. It would be fun to compare traffic notes from those guys from Jakarta and Bangkok!”

The wisdom of the nipple. When asked what’s the best thing he’s learn in the five years he’s been at it, Tengal says: “The only intuitive interface is the nipple. Everything is learned after.”

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