Project: Hasa

Tagahasa or Hasa (to sharpen) is traditionally a person who peddles his service of sharpening household blades in the Philippines. He rides a bicycle which converts into a pedal powered grinder, and shouts out a chant of seemingly distorted pronunciation but actually an articulated version of the word hasa. This trade involves cycling in communities to reach homes in a semi door–to-door manner.

This project presented at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2007, is concerned about the memory of this traditional industry, which in current days have faded due to the developments in modern trade and urban circuiting of communities. It also investigates the sculptural possibilities inspired by this trade focusing on particular aspects such as: the process of sharpening through a grinder, the presence of small articles as part of publicly known sculptures and the coverage of distances in the process of circulation.

The project involves the solicitation of small objects and information regarding the contributor’s address and memory of the Hasa. The objects solicited, though not all metal were subjected to a grinder as a means of charging them with a particular aura, paralleled to that of newly sharpened objects by the Hasa. 

On a separate activity photographs of public sculptures all over Metro Manila were taken and printed. Small articles that were depicted as part of the sculptures were encircled in each of the photographs. On the wall of the gallery, the sharpened objects are positioned side by side to the marked photographs. This positioning is to highlight the presence of small objects in publicly known sculpture.

As part of the installation, a map of the whole Metro Manila was printed in a size that would fill the entire floor space of the gallery. Each of the contributor’s given address was marked by a dot. Using a kiddy bicycle, associating it to childhood memories, I made a drawing using paint-soaked wheel marks by trying to connect or pass by the dots like a route. The floor construction shows the expanse by which the memory of the Hasa was renewed through the project.

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