detail from Labels for Hair Ribbons by Manuel Ocampo a delectable selection of oriental appetizers
Sunday, September 15, 2002

: . The Noranian Imaginary:


from Himala (Miracle): The Heretical Potential of Nora Aunor's Star Power by Neferti X. M. Tadiar:
    [T]he Noranian imaginary is a historical experience that is at the same time a collective constitution, a form of "class" and "gender" in the making in the 1970s and 1980s in the Philippines, whose paradigm is the fandom of Nora Aunor. The Noranian imaginary consists of sociosubjective practices and relations that are mediated by the figure of Nora Aunor, but its operation is not limited to her actual fans. What I am calling the collective constitution of Nora Aunor's following is part of a process of making, a historical process out of which emerged a new form of sociality--domestic labor--whose exploitation has become the basis for the founding of a new political-economic order. The collective constitution at once exemplified and instantiated by Nora Aunor's following might hence be viewed as a passage in a historical movement. It is this movement that Himala theorizes and re-mediates. It is a movement that is not merely represented and critiqued by the film but one that exceeds and traverses it. In looking for an understanding of this movement by way of the film, I am not looking at the film as a text to be read for its truth content--that is, I am not making an ideological critique of the film. I am looking at the things in and about the film that partake of the process of constitution of both Nora Aunor and her following, in an attempt, on the one hand, to bring this process back into vital relations with the prevailing mode of production and social struggle in the Philippines during the height of Nora's spectacular power and, on the other, to reconnect this process to the situation that now weighs on us as the inescapable global present.

If anyone out there can tell me how I could get a hold of a Himala in any format, I'll be eternally grateful. After reading Tadiar's article I would love to see the movie again.

For those who are new to Tadiar's work, here are two of her older (yet still timely) essays: Personal Diaspora (on her experiences as a Filipina in the US) and Manila's New Metropolitan Form (on the political and libidinal economy of flyover construction).

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