A freelance photographer with a diploma in Photojournalism from the Konrad Adenauer Centre for Journalism in Manila, Estan Cabigas, born in 1974, combines the language of social documentary with his interest in contemporary urban architecture. His ongoing study on social behavior and expressions of faith and spirituality in what he sees as The New Cathedrals in the Philippines is a metaphor for what consumerism and urbanity do to spirituality.
Curator: Alexander Supartono
The New Cathedrals
The grand shopping malls that dominate the major urban centers in the Philippines are more than focal points for shopping and leisure. These 'non-places' of supermodernity, as Marc Augé would put it, offer a dynamic space for social interaction that reflects and caters to the pace of life in fast-moving cities. This is why the Roman Catholic Church has capitalized them as places for congregation for the 80% worshipers among the Philippine population.
Cabigas documents how malls become the new urban cathedrals: the holy mass takes place at busy pristine malls surrounded by colourful insignia of consumerist culture and idealized material life. The visually enticing geometrical patterns and the architectural grandeur of these colossal indoor marketplaces engulf the religious ceremony.
Where Andreas Gursky presented consumer culture as a new type of religion in his meticulously constructed, exclusive shop displays, Cabigas looks at how religiosity can be part of everyday life and practiced together with consumerism and leisure.