by Trixia Adre
As early as last week, the stage was set for a woman who defied convention. Twice as tall as the average man, she stands on a pedestal that adds another half-foot to her already-formidable frame.
Donned in a Filipiniana gown, with butterfly shoulders, gold sequins and ever-changing colors, even the infamous fashion icon Imelda Marcos might turn a shade of green. And when one gets the chance to look directly in her slowly swiveling face, one sees that it is unlike any other – for it reflects the familiar and unfamiliar, the then and now.
“Lahat ng karanasan ay may konteksto ng nakaraan,” says the short blurb posted beside her. Symbolizing the importance of history and context, she stands tall and proud, though she is created from materials which many may already consider as trash.
College of Mass Communication’s newest leading lady, who will make her debut into the UP community at the Lantern Parade this Friday, December 14, did not have a definite identity to begin with. It came together “by intuition” and was done so as “to give it more character,” according to College Secretary and Lantern Parade Committee chairperson Randy Jay Solis.
The college administration, led by Solis and with the assistance of the CMC Student Council (CMCSC), student volunteers and college personnel and staff, had to rummage in every corner of Plaridel Hall to find pieces uniquely found in the college that, once put together, could bring their vision of a light-giving body to life.
As for the idea, Solis shared, “We thought of citizen journalism – the idea that anyone can actually serve the country by becoming silent heroes by uploading media content through technology like iPads, smart phones, and so on. The idea here is we have a robot representing the technology that we use as media men and women.”
A webcam will soon be attached to one of her arms, which will feed live footage to the first screen serving as her face. Another screen, placed lower, serves as a “womb” where she bares media output such as those uploaded on Facebook and shown on television.
Mario Urrutia, CMCSC chairperson added, “Nabigyan na lang siya ng identity along the way since yung available materials, mas madaling gawan for a girl.”
From her electric-fan head (complete with swinging action), to her tripod-supported shoulders made of bubble wrap attached to plastic, umbrella-cover arms to a billowing gown of film negatives and reels, CMC’s “lady of steel” looks more like an ad for recycling than its latest muse.
But come dark skies and twinkling lights in the distance, the college’s recycled creation becomes a source of holiday spirit. “Nag-wowork talaga siya ‘pag gabi because of the lights kasi recycled materials… so ‘pag nakikita [ng students] sa gabi, mas nagiging hopeful sila na pwedeng manalo,” Solis said with a laugh.
Her stage has been set, her gown laid out, and her screens polished. As CMC’s female robot flashes red, blue, and green while playing music and capturing live footage to boot, she bears a wish in her recycled heart: that media men and women do not forget admist the parade hype what she truly represents: using technology and media as means for “pag-uungkat, pag-uulat at pagmumulat.”