Drawings by Panch Alvarez
The word "paranormal" denotes that the world--understood by our systems of knowledge--is normal, and that anything above, beyond, or contrary to that is para. While causes of complex para-normal events have been dismissed in the frameworks of modern sciences and religious teachings, occurrences of such phenomena are ever-present, arguably as "everyday" to those whose experiences of such are lived. Visual artist and clairvoyant Panch Alvarez' awareness of ghosts and apparitions can be traced to his childhood in his home apartment in Naga, Camarines Sur. An Apartment in Naga is a visual record of the artist's formative years surrounded by spirits both playful and persistent, elemental entities, and memories of strangers and friends who have since long passed. Illustrating visions of non-physical beings in ink on paper, the artist engages in a modality of manifestation, materializing the formless with immediacy, as his mind's eye saw them. In varying states of being and non-being, the apparitions are given a semblance of physical form: space as body, blur as visage, and weighted only by line and shadow.
It is said amongst psychic circles that in the face of death, the clairvoyant is asked to be a guide, serving spirits into the next realm when they are ready to ascend. The apartment thus becomes a signifier for states of confinement, not only in that the spirits exhibit earthbound qualities, but also as the artist-as-child chooses to observe in the corner of his room, awaiting logical answers to complex phenomena. As an artist, Alvarez now revisits this disposition by way of seeking understanding, with an acceptance of their existence outside logical systems of the seen vis-à-vis the unseen. In one of the drawings, Alvarez imagines himself as ghost smiling back in the mirror. An Apartment in Naga reclaims the artist's actual experiences of the para as personal reflections of normal: in the face of death, remember life.
John Alexis Balaguer
Cover Audio: "Astral" by Mettaverse, 4 Hz (Theta Frequency) binaural beats, associated with hypnagogia, creativity, & prayer.
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An Apartment in Naga attempts to shed understanding on things that aren’t normally there.
People with canvas-like faces appearing habitually but in moments. They move in a pattern and disappear correspondingly with fists clenched or loose. The collection touches on sobs anchored in the darkness’ throat. How sight betrays and sensations become more reliable. How the air turns stale and logic suspended along with it. Panch Alvarez