• Miko Revereza
    by Christian Vistan

  • Posted by @hauntprojects on 13/04/2020
    View original Instagram post here.

    I’m listening to Miko’s mix online on NTS. I am recently back from being home. Field recording and music fills the apartment. Cars and tricycles passing by sound like waves breaking on the shore. Pop songs are fuzzy and familiar. I recall the perpetual ambient karaoke that accompanies the days and evenings in my hometown.

    Frankie Reyes’ synth rendition of a traditional Latin American song plays. Miko’s voice untangles his thoughts in Tagalog. I recognize the thinking in his words. The labour of translating oneself—of speaking oneself into a place.

    ‘Kung bumalik ako dito,’ he says.

    I listen and translate to myself.

    If I were to return here.

    This sentence is excerpted from a voiceover in his short film Distancing.

    Shot in 16 mm, Distancing documents Miko’s return to the Philippines after living as an undocumented immigrant in America for over 25 years. It opens with a fragmented portrait. Views of his grandfather’s head and face fill the screen. These intimate closeups are accompanied by the voices of Miko and his grandmother.

    [Image Description 1: A film still from Miko Revereza’s Distancing, 2019. The image shows a close crop of an older man’s face with a neutral expression. His hair is silver and his brown eyes look away from the camera.]

    They talk about air travel. His grandmother speaks in Tagalog. Miko responds in English. They converse, moving from one language to another.

    Miko continues the conversation alone in the sequence that follows, moving through streets, terminals, airports. He labours to speak in Tagalog. Memories layer. Speech tangles.

    He imagines returning here.

    He recalls immigrating to America.

    The year he forgot.

    He is not comfortable here.

    I struggle to place his words, ‘dito’—here, unoriented in fleeting shots of parking lots, a baggage carousel, escalators. I imagine a place somewhere between ‘dito’ and here. In this language, a diasporic body projects itself to another place.

    A computer screen displays a spinning animation as DVDs are being ripped—films by Jonas Mekas, Chantal Akerman, Wong Kar-wai, and others. Audio excerpts accompany each of the titles as pictureless voiceovers. Mekas speaks: ‘We are, we still are displaced persons even today… The minute you left, we started going home, and we are still going home. I am still on my journey home.’

    In the last scene of Distancing, Miko arrives. His feet move through streets, sidewalks, grass. His steps overlay and blend together. He walks.

    -Christian Vistan

    [Image Description 2: A film still from Miko Revereza’s Distancing, 2019. The multiple exposure image looks down at a person’s legs and feet walking in a flashlight beam. The person is wearing black Nike slides with a white swoosh.]

    Miko Revereza, Distancing, 2019.

    Images courtesy of the artist:
    Miko Revereza, Distancing, 2019.

    This post was made possible through a private donation of $250. The author was paid $225 for their work and $25 was allocated to administrative costs. To support further haunt texts with a donation please direct message @hauntprojects or email us at info@hauntgallery.ca