Tropical Futures Institute (TFI) is a multidisciplinary think-tank studio founded and operated by Chris Fussner which explores the tropics through various mediums. TFI was founded in 2015 as an experiment in contemporary culture in Cebu, Philippines. TFI produces everything between art exhibitions, residencies, zinefests, loud parties, community shows, workshops, and talks, blending different disciplines and communities to create diverse cultural programming. TFI works with New York, Cebu, Bacolod, Manila, Bali, and Singapore collaborators.

Chris Fussner is a Filipino American designer based primarily in Cebu, Philippines, and the tropics at large. He focuses on looking towards new ideas, models, practices, and communication related to the tropics, crafting and supporting the diffusion of new narratives around this climatic and geographic space that wraps around the world and connects various ecologies and peoples. Chris graduated from the School of Design Strategies at Parsons School of Design.

In this episode on Extended Asia Vol. 3, “Discovery,” They have a work entitled HQHD in collaboration with Tropical Future Institute, DJ Love, & Angeline Meitzler.

Tropical Future’s interest in ‘diskoral,’ or pop-up block parties, near their family’s house in the Philippines led to their interest in budots and the Philippine sound system culture. This situation prompted a collaboration with the producer, musician, and DJ known as obese.dogma777 at a party in Cebu called Tropical Diskora (2017). Obese.dogma777 became attracted to budots because of the genre/style’s uniqueness and the adequate representation of Filipinos’ laid-back, high-energy, and idiosyncratic nature. The diskoral party was hosted inside an art gallery with other artists and designers with aspects of a traditional diskoral recreated, such as using palm leaves and artists’ performing as MCs.

While this audio/visual project emphasizes a playful interpretation of budots, we look towards hybridity and the reinterpretation of budots into other club genres by dispersing their signature samples and essence. Angeline’s interpretation of the track into a world built using game engine software furthers this vision of increasing notoriety for budots locally and internationally. Incorporating mythic symbols of Philippine culture alongside references to the genre adds a rich context to the essence of the track as a cross-genre, budots remix. We hope this track spurs more interest from musicians, dancers, and fans to explore this dance/music genre that originated in the Philippines.


Image by Tropical Futures Institute

This work is part of “Islandwide Coverage,” a multi-site, multi-author project by AWKNDAFFR is an artistic operation situated at the intersection of art, theory, and praxis by Wayne Lim and Soh Kay Min.

Part of “Natasha,” Singapore Biennale [SB2022]—across a network of sites, including the Singapore Art Museum [SAM] at Tanjong Pagar Distripark. It will take place from 16 October 2022 to 19 March 2023.