Tessa Maria Guazon


I am an art historian based in Manila. My research interest is contemporary public art practice in cities in Southeast Asia with comparative focus on the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia. I consider the many platforms and complex economies of public art production: the state and local agencies, private and corporate entities, and artist collectives and initiatives. This span covers a wide spectrum of forms and practices including monuments and permanent works, installations, site-specific art, ephemeral forms, performances and participatory engagements. My writings and field work examine ways public art forms and practices enable interaction, participation and involvement. This situates contemporary art in the nexus of the city, asking whether art practices and creative strategies enable new and emancipatory ways of defining city life through novel modalities of agency in urban contexts.

I recently completed field work in Thailand and Indonesia for my Asian Public Intellectuals Fellowship sponsored by The Nippon Foundation. I have lived in Singapore and Thailand at various periods for research grants. My recent academic publications include a chapter in Transforming Asian Cities published by Routledge and a journal essay for the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research published by Wiley Blackwell. I attended workshops and conferences in Singapore and Japan in 2014 to share ideas and research findings on topics of urban heritage, resilience and the urban vernacular, and creative practices in cities. My recent publications can be found in my blog.

 I also write commissioned essays for art exhibitions, as well as art and film reviews. I teach courses in art history and developed a special topics course based on my research, City Spaces and Public Art: Social process, situated practice.