What would the world look like if you could see it again through the wide eyes of childhood? To wander expectantly through everyday life as if it were brand new, all vibrant and glittering; to feel the innocent joy sparked by sugary treats or cheap toys? Filipina artist Tyang Karyel offers her bubbly take on what that felt like with her new installation, Playtime Paradiso, which recreates slices of everyday life in the Philippines. Local staples such as a sari-sari convenience store, a palengke food market, and a banketa household goods shop all make appearances in her immersive installation. Instead of their usual utilitarian appearance, they’ve been reimagined with a candy-colored palette and wavey edges, populated with products that seem to come from a cartoon universe.
如果能回到小时候，你看到的世界会是怎样的？你是否会满怀期待地过好每一天？或者因为几颗糖果或廉价玩具就能收获快乐？菲律宾艺术家 Tyang Karyel 在她的全新艺术装置“Playtime Paradiso”中给出了生动且形象的答案。该沉浸式艺术装置，重现了菲律宾的日常，譬如当地常见的“sari-sari”便利店、“palengke”食品市场和“banketa”日用品小店，那里摆满了仿佛来自卡通世界的商品。
Across Manila, street sellers hawk items on overpasses and sidewalks—their cheap wares laid out on the ground atop a piece of cloth. Karyel pays homage to the practice at the exhibition by offering some of her own artistic takes on these products in a similar manner—items such as dust pans, heart-shaped mirrors, and packs of clothes pins are scattered across a fruit-patterned cloth.
At the convenience store, she offers exaggerated ceramic sculptures of San Miguel beer done in collaboration with Mansy Abesamis. Across the way, an ukay thrift shop displays other-worldly outfits designed by Salad Day, and a butcher stall offers cartoon-like drumsticks with smiling faces alongside checker-patterned cuts of meat. You can even play the “lottery” or sign up for her email list at the tanod stand, which are stalls where civilian peace officers hired by the neighborhood-level government usually keep watch.
Since Karyel’s childhood years, she has found inspiration in Filipino design. “Street snack packaging has squiggly lines with very erratic prints. They’re very unique, it’s an art in itself,” she says. “My family never understood what I saw in them until now; to them it was just the same old thing they always see, something purely functional. But they let me do what I wanted as an artist and child so I was free to explore my interests.” To this day, she still collects old packages and toys from the ’90s, citing nostalgia as a core element in shaping her identity as an artist.
Tyang 从小便对菲律宾传统设计充满兴趣，创作时自然会从中汲取许多灵感。“其实街头小吃的包装本身就是一门艺术，”她说道，“对观众来说，这些都是稀松平常的事物，因此能产生极大的共鸣。成为一名艺术家让我保持童心，父母也都支持我想做的事情，让我可以自由地探索自己的兴趣。”现在的她仍然会收集各种 90 年代市面上的旧包装和玩具。怀旧，是她艺术创作的核心。
For all the love Karyel finds in these designs, there’s an element of commercialization that she prefers to avoid. Unless the items in her show are actual snacks or products used as props, she doesn’t include their brand names on her art. “I want it to be timeless, not an advertisement. I want to show my culture with my own style,” she explains. But of course, most of the designs are instantly recognizable and viewers can find that connection regardless. Pest control products, canned meats, prophylactics, cigarettes; all these items purchased on a regular basis without much thought that are in fact central to many of our lives.
创作过程中，她会尽量避免商业化元素，减少品牌名称的出现，她解释说：“我的创作不是广告。我想让观众把注意力放在文化上面，而非品牌或消费观。”当然，大多数商品的设计非常显眼，观众仍然可以一下子猜到商品对应的品牌。这不仅引我们思考 —— 大众经常购买的口罩、杀虫剂、肉类罐头、避孕用品、香烟等等日常用品，却很少想到它们在生活中的重要地位。
Most of the items on display in the shop are made from styrofoam coated in epoxy resin, which is then painted over with acrylic paint. All of the items created for the show are attached to the specific shops they’re displayed in and are not meant to be separated, including the outfits in the ukay. But certain ceramic pieces, such as the beer bottles, the Karyel-branded household items, or her artworks can all be purchased individually.
The full installation, which was shown at this year’s annual Art Fair Philippines, took four months from proposal to finish. She asked local tricycle rickshaw drivers for carpenter recommendations, but unexpectedly they insisted on helping her themselves: “They made a wonderful installation, you never know what an individual’s potential is,” she says. “They’re real DIY guys.”
该系列在今年菲律宾艺会 (Art Fair Philippines) 上展出，从提案到最终完成花了四个月的时间。她找到当地三轮人力车夫，希望他们能帮忙介绍合适的木匠，但出乎意料的是，这些车夫坚持要亲自上阵，“他们是我的技术指导！你永远不知道一个人能藏得多深，”她说，“真是高手在民间！”
Karyel views the installation as something of a possible road map for local sellers with entrepenuerial goals. Much of the cheap plastic items are manufactured in China and shipped to the Philippines, but there’s nothing stopping locals from turning them into white-label products to give themselves a competitive edge. “It used to be that only big companies could do this, but we can do it DIY now. Mom and pop shops can build their own empires,” she says. “These hole-in-the-wall, family-owned and -operated stores can expand their businesses.” To create her own logos she uses a simple inkjet printer and acknowledges that her background in graphic design gives her an advantage over everyday shopkeepers.
Mainly though, she sees the installation as a way to pay homage to her roots. “It’s not just about where I started as a Filipino, but as an individual,” Karyel explains. “I grew up with these types of businesses and was raised in that culture. As an artist, it’s humbling to represent where I came from. And I came from humble beginnings. We have to love our country. Be in love with it despite everything that’s happening. Teach our children to love it. Because this is all we’ve got.”
与此同时，Tyang 的装置也为本地具有商业头脑的卖家提供了一个有力的参考。在菲律宾当地，许多廉价塑料商品均来自中国制造，而本地人完全可以利用这些资源、或是手头材料来制作一些白标商品，参与到市场的竞争中来。“之前只有大企业会这样做，但我们也可以自己行动起来。这样，阿妈、阿爸也能成就自己的商业帝国，甚至有机会让小店形成家族产业并不断扩大影响，” 她说道。对于她自己的商标，一台简易的喷墨打印机便可完成。她承认，平面设计方面的背景，让她比普通店主更具有优势，而这也正是市场中缺乏的环节——包装。