Elmo's House
Artist Residency

Batan, Aklan
Philippines

 
A Look Inside Elmo's Warehouse

A Look Inside Elmo's Warehouse

The warehouse constructed for the sole purpose of housing Judge Elmo Del Rosario's collection of things is still under the process of organization. Many of the books, magazines and papers are still sitting in overwhelming stacks, unsorted and gathering dust. There are rice sacks full of appliances, kitchen equipment and various other house debris. Boxes of office supplies and court paraphernalia are mixed in with suitcases of old linens, law books and silverware.

 
 
 
 

Elmo's collection did not grow overnight. The build up was gradual and steady

 
 
 
 

The clothes were the first items to be arranged and given designated space. Hung on a long rod, about the width of the warehouse itself, are sports jackets and button down shirts in various styles and fabrics. Some items are hand made. There are Barong Tagalogs, outdated trendy polos, PVC sports wear and dress shirts in an array of prints and colors. Underneath the tops are folded dress pants and jeans that have yet to be inspected. On the other side are rows of antique wardrobes that also contain more clothes, coats and jackets. 

To look at the whole breadth of his collection is stunning and a bit confusing. Sizes jump from small to extra large, giving a picture of a man who has battled with weight. But in conversation with Elmo about his clothes, he revealed that the clothes are mixed with ones his brothers had left behind or sent back from America. This explains the presence of outerwear much too thick for life in the Philippines.

 
 
 
 

The single story, 900 square feet warehouse is certainly a trove for the curious. Sheltered by an aluminum roof and surrounded by cement walls, one can spend a few hours reading through Elmo's old law journals and crime novels. In one corner of the warehouse, large plastic bins stuffed with odd colourful shapes are stacked haphazardly on top of each other. The mound of appliances in the other, is another confirmation that Elmo never throws out anything. If an appliance or furniture breaks, it can always be fixed. A busted rotary phone, a toaster oven missing a door or an arm chair with a broken leg, all had at one point a promise of being new again so it was set aside but then forgotten. 

 
 
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As this project evolves and uncover more layers of artifacts, so will the understanding of Elmo deepen. It's vital for the Residency to learn more about its namesake. This room alone is rich in history. So far, only questions follow more questions and the task feels daunting. But Elmo's collection did not grow overnight. The build up was gradual and steady and so will the findings.

De-colonial Design and Indigenous Methodology with Tsēma & Jonathan Igharas

De-colonial Design and Indigenous Methodology with Tsēma & Jonathan Igharas

PROFILES: Notable People That Have Helped Shape Elmo's House

PROFILES: Notable People That Have Helped Shape Elmo's House

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