The People’s Island

Project Commissioned by the US State Department, US Embassy and ZERO1. More at:

Location: Bacolod City, Philippines // Duration: 4 weeks, including production and workshops.

The People’s Island is a temporary space / floating platform / Island generated by people (in boats and in land) gathering around a specific spot in the ocean and waterfront, creating a human mass that makes the volume or material of the island. The People’s Island revolves around the idea that “reality is none other but the things we do together” a quote I borrowed from Marx’s Capital when describing the function of currencies.

On the one hand, The People’s Island is a metaphorical site, or perhaps a thinking tool that allows participants to create a fictional place that responds to their visions of what their ideal place or environment could be like. On the other hand, this project is a very tangible effort that suddenly moves from the realm of fiction to reality. After a few weeks of interactions and conversations, The People’s Island becomes a small floating platform composed of a series of rafts joined together (approx. dimensions 10ft x 10ft) made with indigenous buoyant materials like bamboo. 

In a way, this project is about coming together and forming a new space to engage in a critical discussion around the use of land and sea (public space) in the region. This island / platform is also an open laboratory for different makers in the city to create public engagement and enact their vision of possible futures… The Island will move through different regions and engages diverse communities for over three months. 


During this project I presented a series of artist-led workshop, where participants explored current approaches to contemporary public art and its potential to propose new relations between communities and their surrounding natural environment. Therefore, through the public art project, as well as the workshop, I was able to promote dialogue around the environmental conditions of Bacolod’s landscape, while thinking of the nearby ocean as an extension of the public space / public realm for Bacolod’s community.


During the community event leading up to the conclusion of the project, The People’s Island became the host of artworks and time-based interventions (mostly performance), which were visible from Bacolod’s waterfront and for a wide range of audiences. Then, a portion of the island-platform was released in order to travel on its own throughout the open ocean for a longer period, serving as a kind of homage to reification and coexistent relation between local residents and their host environment. A film crew will documented the evolution of this project and produced a short documentary that includes aerial footage of the large community event, showing the formation of people/boats on the water and therefore, making evident the coming-to-life of this temporary space: The People’s Island.

This video was made by volunteers as a reaction to the project. Cinematography By: Andrelene Veloso and Emerie Therese Tangarorang. Edited By: Ira Kristelle Solidum