“Listen with the eyes and see with the ears,” said Dr. Felicidad Prudente, a leading Filipina musicologist, who gave a talk at the UST Graduate School’s St. Antoninus of Florence Lecture on May 7, 2022. Her lecture was titled “From Concept to Praxis: The Making of Textile Art from Weaving Sounds.”
Prudente argued that weaving sounds are not just noise but integral to the production of textile art. They are embodied sounds brought about by the physicality of the weaver’s body attached to the loom, making them one. Sound studies connect with visual art, the art of weaving, and even mathematics in the counting of rhythmic patterns and the endless counting of threads. The uncharted world of weaving sound becomes a multidisciplinary field that merges sound, image, performance, tradition, and technology in collaboration with visual artist Gerardo Tan and Ifugao master weaver Sammy Bule.
The speaker discussed how the weaver now becomes a musical performer with the loom as her musical instrument and projects herself sonically in her own style of handling the loom. The performer deploys and controls her tools at her own pace and rhythm, which generates sound patterns until the cloth is finished. It is like a musician who concludes the piece upon reaching its end.
In her insightful talk, Prudente also provided a modified definition of “translation,” which is now multidisciplinary and not solely confined to language. It is “carrying over” the intangible to the tangible, the transcribed music being approximations of the actual sounds of the loom. She started a musical transcription project of weaving sounds in Miag-ao, Iloilo using non-Western methods (not staff paper, but lined pad paper and graph paper). Filipino indigenous instruments now approximate the different sounds of the loom: loud, soft, hissing, jingling, percussive, and silence when the weaver visually checks her work. Visual artist Gerardo Tan captured the sounds from the instruments in painting, and Ifugao master weaver Sammy Bule successfully generated textile art inspired by the transcribed music. It became a multi-disciplinary union of not only science and art but also of mathematics, movement, music, painting, and textile art.
The project was featured as one of the Philippine Arts at the “Venice Biennale,” whose exhibitions will extend until November 2022 in Italy.
The St. Antoninus of Florence Lecture is an annual event sponsored by the Graduate School in commemoration of its patron saint. This year’s lecture was organized by USTGS faculty members – Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Arenas, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. Antonio Africa, Ph.D., Asst. Prof. Peter John Marie Porticos, Ph.D., Asst. Prof. Rhochie Avelino Matienzo, Ph.D., and Asst. Prof. Marella Ada Bolaños, Ph.D. The welcome and closing remarks were delivered by the Regent and Dean of the Graduate School, Rev. Fr. Rodel E. Aligan, O.P. and Prof. Michael Anthony C. Vasco, Ph.D., respectively.