This video was created for the WATERMARK group exhibit at Tin-aw Gallery, Makati, Philippines in February 2012. The show was about Typhoon Sendong (international code name Washi) that ravaged the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan two months before and killed thousands. The show was also about floods in general.
I had very limited resources when I made this, there was no time and finances to gather the equipment, the city was still recovering from the catastrophe. I only had a digicam, an old computer, a cheap cellphone, and my only available software was Windows Movie Maker.
The gallery or curator suggested that I use images and sounds of water, such as drops of water on a basin, to evoke the flood experience, but I chose to avoid the literal element of water in this video.
What I did was I used the flicker effect of my old CRT computer monitor. Since the slower refresh rate of the monitor does not synchronize with the camera frame rate, a flickering dark bar would appear moving downwards on the monitor. I typed the word TABANG on a white background, inverted it, and took a blurry shot of it as it was intermittently washed over by the dark bar.
During editing, I picked the best footage, and further cut it into a tighter clip and then looped the clip to arrive at a one-minute video.
I kept the ambient noise recorded as audio in the video because it sounds like the rushing waters I saw on video documentations of floods. It is actually the electric fan blowing on the digicam.
The other audio which I put in the background is my whistling out of the word TABANG (which means HELP! or S.O.S. in the vernacular). The cheap phone was pretty handy for this because it produced a raw sound. I then lowered the volume of this audio so it would sound like it came from a distance. When I interviewed my cousin who survived the flood on a rooftop, she told me she could hear a lot of people wailing TABANG that night. The voices would approach and then recede in the darkness.
Another cousin in Iligan also said that for him the flood had a certain menacing sound, like the humming of high tension electrical cables.
The dark flicker bar represents the rising waters drowning out the cries of HELP, or in Bisaya vernacular, TABANG. The flicker bar also looks like a sweeping water line engulfing a field when seen from above, much like a scene from the Japan Tsunami disaster.