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Leeroy New (b. 1986, General Santos City) is an artist-designer whose practice overlaps and intersects with different creative industries. Originally trained as a sculptor, he has dabbled signiﬁcantly in production design, costuming, and performance. This inclination to move from one mode of creative production to another has become the spine of his practice driven by concepts of world building and hybrid myth-making.
What resulted were immersive installations that use a variety of found objects directly sourced from the material culture of his current environment. His ‘Balete’ series, for example, using industrial pipes weaved using plastic ties into large-scale forms and environments, began as a casual experiment during a residency where, due to lack of funds, he discovered piles of discarded irrigation hoses in the local recycling centres.
Through his collaborations with local performers, he was able to transform these same materials into set pieces and even wearable sculptures culminating in a cyber-site series called Aliens of Manila, which documents alien characters inhabiting Manila’s often harsh yet colourful streets.
Among his current projects is the development of a ﬂoating performance space/garden, a collaboration with urban planner-designer Julia Nebrija, which was ﬂoated down Manila’s central and most polluted waterway: the Pasig River. The mobile installation is the ﬁrst phase for this long-term project that explores ecological heritage and challenges local perspectives of urban space.
Started in 2014, Aliens of Manila is a multi-platform series directly referencing a certain New York based viral photography blog site.
The series captures strangely costumed bodies interjecting and inhabiting the streets of Manila, this staged displacement eliciting varied responses from the public and somehow transforms the context of the chosen sites.
A collaborative project featuring personalities who practice on the fringe as its models, the series plays upon the idea of the offbeat characters who thrive on the edge of the urban landscape.
The series is expanding to actively include other countries and cultures in the spirit of migration, the artist as service provider, and the OFW (overseas Filipino workers) phenomenon. The artist’s mother who is also an OFW, having worked as a nanny and caregiver in the United States for almost 17 years, supplied valuable information about the migrant condition as well as modelling as an alien at one point. The series is manifested in residency projects, short ﬁlms, photography, exhibits, workshops, and performances.
Leeroy will collaborate together with Singaporean performers Sonia Kwek and Jereh Leung for the first time to present Aliens of Manila x Singapore at Neon Lights Festival.
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