Neither Here Nor There But Just As Important
Joanne Cesario (Philippines)

Neither Here Nor There But Just As Important is originally a multimedia work consisting of photographs, videos, and text weaved into a photo set and a silent five-channel video installation intended to be simultaneously played and looped. It was created in 2020 as an expansion of Here, Here, a short film that I wrote and directed in 2019, centered on a town in slow decay as a result of large-scale mining operations. Both works are loose visual studies on the various ways and degrees in which the human body relates with the physical environment in a colonized land. In a country like ours, land is synonymous to life, thus the long-standing dispute over it.

What triggered the creation of Neither Here Nor There But Just As Important at that time was the departure of two of my closest friends from and to the mountains to take part in the struggle for societal liberation, and the subsequent inquiry and introspection on my inability to make the same choices. I was supposed to show the work in a public exhibition, but decided to back out at the last minute. I felt that it was too personal, and chose to store away the files in an old hard drive that I barely use.

I chanced upon the files again in 2023. So much has changed in the past few years that I could barely recognize myself in the work. The current iteration of Neither Here Nor There But Just As Important is a single-channel mixed media work consisting of the same photographs, videos, and text that it originally had, but now feels closer to fiction than fact - a development that I am proud of. No grudges, no regrets, I now happily consider it as an ode to our collective capacity for growth and evolution, and for making and accepting difficult decisions.


Joanne Cesario works across film, photography, and publication. She was awarded the 2023 SGIFF Southeast Asian Documentary Grant, the 2022 Prince Claus Seed Awards, and the 2023 NoExit Grant for Unpaid Artistic Labor. Her short films have screened at various international festivals such as Locarno and the Hong Kong International Film Festival. She currently works on film and art projects while advocating for labor rights as part of an independent trade union center in the Philippines.