Artwork Letters to JB

Letters to JB


Rutgers Camden Center for the Arts,

Rutgers University–Camden,

2012 Paper and sticky rice: 20' x 15' 

A grid of 18 phrases over a period of a month are in constant flux—ranging from clarity to gibberish and confusion, to possible clarity again. A set of nine phrases are pasted to a surface by smeared Asian sticky rice over another set of nine phrases. As the “glue” dries, the letters fall to the ground, revealing other letters behind them. During the duration of the installation, the phrases and words are in various states of intelligibility. Sometime the phrases are comprehensible, sometimes not—akin to our memories and interpersonal communication. 

The idea stems from a memory of using sticky rice as a form of glue (a Filipino practice). Espiritu’s mother suggested this to him when he ran out of adhesive to complete an elementary school project. He was ridiculed by fellow students when all the adhesion did not work. This memory resonated with him as the moment he became aware of his “otherness.” — He was from a culture different from that of his fellow classmates. Layered with personal meanings, Letters to JB explores memory, identity and otherness, connections and communication and the permanent and the ephemeral.