“Tell Me What You Want” is about the exchanges of the gazes, desires, friendship, and wanting between a traveler and an exotic culture. This relationship of exchange started when David was on the street in Malate, Manila. He engaged with the marketeers (or “marketings”) on the street as a foreigner, and from this strange encounter, they developed friendships. Owing to the needs of shooting the films, a negotiation as well as transaction came along. The various relationships and processes of exchanges are intertwined with reality, the social network, the diverse desires and imaginative gazes and illusions across cultures local to Malate. From November 2015 to June 2017, David constantly flew to Manila, shifting his identity between traveler, friend and film producer. Via these ambiguous narratives, the complex multiple meanings underneath the cross-cultural appearance is revealed.
In this project, the artist arranges four mockumentaries: “Malate”, “David”, “Joara”, and “The Shop”, which are intertwined, yet independent from one another. Each film symbolizes the products deriving from various peoples, cultures, viewpoints, gazes, and wants. Through the mirror of this alien character “David”, who is the point of intersection between the four films, many of the core issues of this exhibition are exposed. A common greeting, “Tell Me What You Want” refers to the transactional structures on the street of Malate. The artist incorporated the negotiation into the production of the films. He kept experimenting with the social and economic frameworks beneath these relationships of exchange. At the same time, he attempted to draw out the definitions of a friendly transaction from the viewpoints of different cultures, disclose the bias rooted in different nations, and uncover the hidden class consciousness behind the tourism, entertainment and international trade.