June 23, 2024

How well can you describe Dulthe Carlo Munar? Architect, painter, professor, mentor, loving,and devoted husband to Kerolaynand, father to Chloe and Dulthe Jr,  poet, writer, archer, traveler, health enthusiast, articulate, story teller, musician, inventor or weird?

On top of all these descriptions, I call him the Prince of Automata in Baguio.

Amazed at the uniqueness of his automata or automaton exhibits, I Googled the exact definition of automata. I have seen it many times on mainstream and social media, but I never understood how it works.

Some move with the wind and some with mechanized contraptions.

Automata means “robots or machines that operate under their own power or a machine or control mechanism designed to follow automatically a predetermined sequence of operations or respond to encoded instructions.”

The ones at the beaches and plazas are really astounding.

A chance encounter with this amazing retiree at the Baguio Museum, he served the Saint Louis University College of Engineering and Architecture for 36 years, made me remember his exhibit at the YMCA Design Museum about three years ago.

I could hardly recognize him with his facemask. He had other exhibits at the MandëkoKito 4, the Podium Botique, etc. I prefer to call him Carlo though, as I get tongue twisted with his unique name.

When asked how he started with his creations Dulthe, he replied: “During the process of creating, I look at my surroundings and use old household products and other refuse as part of my work.” 

He momentarily stopped and continued with his story, “When the visual part flows with my feelings, it’s time for the actions to stop. Every time I sit in front of the art piece, it becomes a new challenge. I don’t lay down a sketch and paint. I have a general idea of what I want then start adding objects and applying pigments. Occasionally the subject, form, and content flow well together. However, most of the time, they do not.”

He added:“Colors, lines, shades, and shapes all fight on the surface of my paintings. Sometimes it is so jarring that I must step back and wait for everything to calm down. I create my own unique tools and to the extreme – automated tools in the form of automata that does a certain amount of the process. But when everything lines up and the piece is complete, I get a sense of completeness and accomplishment that money could never buy.”

Dultheexpressed his deep sense of artistry with, “Everything is part of constantly discovering who I am. Unraveling Pandora’s box inside of me is sometimes full of contradictions. But the one part of my identity that doesn’t change is my passion for making art. This is the biggest motivation that I have and is something essential in my growing and my validation as a person.”

Numerous write ups have been written about Dulthe. He is fondly called the Renaissance Man by his students.

Maribel Shingo Go described his creativity and innovativeness, “he turns the ordinary into something extraordinary or eccentric”.

His architecture background probably gavehim an edge in expressing his art thru automata.  His upcycling talents has given his audience the magical world of automata.

Here are samples of hisremarkable works. He also explained that some of his art and paintings were done with the help of his automated creations. (Photos provided by Dulthe)