Camping Trip II: Mark Santos | Reen Barrera | TRNZ

1 - 18 August 2020

Curatorial notes by JT Gonzales


We emerged from the tent, blinking in the light of dawn, confused. 


A year ago was a very different world. A camping trip was an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. A plunge into the great outdoors.  A communion with nature, listening to the sounds of fauna while breathing in the aroma of flora. A getaway from monotonous normality, as we tune out from electronic signals and mental stressors.


Who would have predicted a world suddenly gone still.  Airports become echoing caverns.  Boulevards of incredibly wide lanes and random litter.  A populace locked in and left to amuse itself (if it was lucky) or to fend for its survival (if not.)


What would a camping trip be like in this new normal, then?  What would it achieve?


Originally, we had explored the simple, playful idea of Ohlala, Sasquatch and Loon just visiting each other. It would be a riff of each other’s iconic inspirations, a lark of an adventure, a rollicking echo chamber of ideas from three extremely talented artists.  It was going to be a joyous reunion, where the simple pleasures of friendship, good food, and new friends would collide, and then leave us and the audience chuckling and gurgling with delight.


Enter the pandemic.


Friends can pull us through this. Bosom buddies. Gal pals.  Friends for life.  These are who will save us.  If we reach out and communicate, if we bond over interests and find commonality.  Zoom calls. Simple messages.  Touching notes.  A home-cooked meal dropped off at the doorstep. A bunch of flowers.  Glasses of wine clinked over laptop cameras.


This is still an adventure, and unfortunately, it is not yet over.  Much to fear. More to vanquish.


When we zip open that tent tomorrow, though, we will have reached another day.  We will brave the rapids and the valleys, the highs and the lows. We will soldier on, resolute in the belief that yet again, there is a tomorrow. It will bring a new reality, the new normal.  We may not like it, but it will come.  And meanwhile, we will create.