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Shireen Seno

To Pick a Flower

Doc. expérimental | hdv | couleur et n&b | 16:57 | Philippines | 2021

My mother used to tell me that our dining table was as old as I am. I wonder how old the tree was when it was cut down to be turned into our table. I am fascinated in this kind of transmutation from the natural world to the human one, and how a tree takes on new lives long after it has been cut down. This video essay incorporates archival photographs from the American Colonial Era in the Philippines (1898–1946), exploring the sticky relationship between humans and nature and their entanglements with empire. Taking plants and trees as starting points, it aims to reflect on the intertwined roots of photography and capitalism in the Philippines.

Shireen Seno is an artist and filmmaker based in Manila whose work addresses memory, history, and image-making, often in relation to the idea of home. A recipient of the 2018 Thirteen Artists Award from the Cultural Center of the Philippines, she is known for her films which have won awards at Rotterdam, Shanghai, Olhar de Cinema, Vladivostok, Jogja-Netpac, and Lima Independiente and have screened at festivals including New Directors/New Films, Yebisu International Festival of Art & Alternative Visions, NYFF Currents, and institutions such as Tate Modern, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, NTU Center for Contemporary Art Singapore, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, and Portikus.