An Inquiry by Javier Syquia

“Cognitive justice recognises the right of different forms of knowledge to co-exist, but adds that this plurality needs to go beyond tolerance or liberalism to an active recognition of the need for diversity. It demands recognition of knowledges, not only as methods but as ways of life. This presupposes that knowledge is embedded in ecology of knowledges where each knowledge has its place, its claim to a cosmology, its sense as a form of life. In this sense knowledge is not something to be abstracted from a culture as a life form; it is connected to livelihood, a life cycle, a lifestyle; it determines life chances.”
—Shiv Visvanathan, The search for cognitive justice1

First and foremost, this work is grounded on the framework of COGNITIVE JUSTICE. I explicitly recognize that my understanding and interpretation of Filipino post/de/colonial graphic design is just that — mine. Due to the limited documentation and formal study of Filipino graphic design, this acknowledgement is even more important. As these design vernaculars are heavily influenced by form-makers and typographers from the streets, it is arguable that their interpretation and understanding of Filipino design is just as, if not more, valid than mine. My study is coming from a very specific point of view — I am a Filipino born and raised in the Philippines, now studying in the United States, heavily influenced by globalism and colonialism, studying and interpreting Filipino graphic design in the language and on the stolen land of my colonizer.

This framework will allow me to constantly recognize that my work is only one of many possible forms of de/colonial graphic design, and to question how my work and beliefs may coexist with alternate ways of thought. COGNITIVE JUSTICE is vital to de/colonial work.

In line with COGNITIVE JUSTICE, I do not intend for this text to be read linearly. The frameworks discussed in this manifesto are intersectional. They overlap, are dependent on one another, and build upon one another, but do not need to be read in order to be understood. These frameworks may be cross-referenced. Multiple, or just one, framework can be used when evaluating and creating de/colonial Filipino work.

1 “The search for cognitive justice, by Shiv Visvanathan” Indian Seminar. Published 2009. Accessed January 29, 2021. https://www.india-seminar.com/2009/597/597_shiv_visvanathan.htm