January is coming to a close! How is this possible? In any case, this is long overdue, but I figured I would look back at 2013 to re-invigorate and remind myself of what is possible in 2014!
February – Hosted a Wednesday Forum at the California College of the Arts with forum for the Visual and Critical Studies department with brilliant scholar Mabel O. Wilson
March – Had the pleasure of presenting on a panel at the Theorizing the Web 2013 conference and my recap of the event was published to Creative Applications Network and wrote features for artist and designer Kristin Neidlinger and Scott Kildall for Ideas Issue for Asterisk SF Magazine
April – Had the opportunity to get a review for Will Rogan’s exhibition Blanking Out at the Altman Siegal Gallery published to Daily Serving / Attended A Simple Collective Salon on New Media Arts in the Bay Area. This space is absolutely worth checking out. For a (physically) small space, founder and director Rhiannon MacFadyen has A LOT of big ideas and events happening in 2014.
July – Jennifer Locke performance ~ Yes, that is me in Appointment 5
August – Helped organized and co-facilitated a class on fourth wave feminism and digital activism at the AF3IRM Summer School of Women’s Activism / ZERO1 Summer programming for 2013 included co-presenting with Ben Valentine on the topic of new media and internet art and the role of the writer
September – Such a treat to see biological anthropologist present at the Being Human Conference 2013 on one of my favorite topics…love!
October – AF3IRM Congress and annual conference on transnational feminism in New York. I must say, it was a beautiful sight to see almost every face at the annual conference belonged to a womyn of color. Phenomenal.
November – I had the pleasure of co-presenting on panel with The Civic Beat (Ben Valentine and An Xiao Mina) at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts – Dissident Future Arts and Ideas Festival / Saw Janelle Monae at the Warfield with my high school best friend ~ Such a great night! / Berkeley South Asian Radical Activist History Walk with the AF3IRM SF Bay Area Chapter members
AND had a pretty sweet year in grad school. NOW, I’m getting ready to finish off my last semester!
SAN FRANCISCO — As fleets of shuttle buses take employees to their respective Silicon Valley campuses, resentment and tension grows in the Bay Area. Last week, protesters blocked one such Google bus in an effort to draw attention to the widening gap between the technology industry and the communities it affects; a union organizer impersonated a tech worker to incite dialogue through performative gesture. Within days, further demonization of tech figures, like the entrepreneur Greg Gopman — guilty of making crassly disparaging remarks about the Tenderloin area of San Francisco — continued to fuel divisions across the city.
In an effort to broaden and expand the conversation, ArtUp, a “community blog, meetup and monthly grant,” partnered with online magazine Art Practical to host the “Re-engineering: Arts and Tech in the Bay Area” event at Ratio 3 gallery in the city’s Mission district on December 11. The night started off with a panel discussion between Anthony Discenza, Josette Melchor of Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA), Olof Mathe of Art Hack Day, and Dena Beard with the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. [Read the rest here]
The Honeymoon’s Over: Reflecting on the Internet Utopianism and the Arts Published to The Civic Beat
A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of co-presenting on a panel with An Xiao Mina and Ben Valentine. Below is my excerpt of the full write up by all three of us published to The Civic Beat! Exciting!! Please feel free to share thoughts and comments. Or feel free to connect with me via Twitter @deedottiedot
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After the wonderful opportunity of co-presenting with Ben Valentine and An Xiao Mina of The Civic Beat, I have to admit, I actually looked up the term “honeymoon period.” The good ole internet actually provided two distinct definitions. Apparently the honeymoon phase for diabetics signals the start of insulin treatment while the Urban Dictionary states, “The three-month maximum period between a person’s entry into a new situation and a person’s complete screwing up of said situation or essential elements of it. This phenomenon is backed by massive amounts of studies in social psychology and even more massive amounts of personal testimony from bitter, angry people.”
The second definition sounds about right. But this reliance on the internet for research needs, a good laugh, and engaging in human rights activism has some disadvantages to it as well. Taking into account the very name of our panel, we tasked ourselves the tough question of whether the internet utopian vision and ideologies of the earlier internet still rang true today. We had three different ways to discuss the question. Not so surprisingly, I answered with a desire to not forget the body and our sensations. From social networking to internet bots to memes, my plea to the audience for the evening was to not forget our sense of self and body in this highly mobile age.
While technology moves at a feverishly rapid pace, we may find ourselves lost even before we figure out the best way to look, research, and obtain exactly what we need. I decided to focus on how new media artists use the internet and mobile technologies that incorporate the body somehow. Whether through augmented reality or applications to actually embodiment of a fictitious or mythical character or creature online, I found myself interested in how new media artists are dismantling such ideologies.
During the presentation, one of the individuals I focused on was new media artist John Craig Freeman. He uses augmented reality in his artistic practice, which is heavily used by advertisers to overlay landscapes and buildings with branding for marketing purposes. But Freeman uses this technology to interrogate the politics of space. Essentially, anyone with a smart phone and the internet can find out about the objective and purpose of each of his interventionist projects.
For the past year, I have examined his piece, Border Memorial: Fronteras de Los Muertos, which enables a viewer to download augmented reality application Layar. Once downloaded, the user has the option of travelling to specific locations, in this case, the US Mexican border, and holding their phone to the landscape. Calacas or skeletons appear on the screen. These serve as markers to specific spots within the landscape where the remains of migrants attempting to cross the border have been found and identified.
Now, I don’t want to end on such a sad note but you’re probably asking yourself why I’m so interested in addressing the original question or problem statement with emphasis on such a tricky concept of embodiment. Quite frankly, the word alone makes me feel like I’m falling into an abyss. But it also reminds me that the internet has a way of making us forget about our bodies and our senses. Rather, it amplifies this need for us to only focus on vision.
Perhaps, my academic research and investment in in real life (IRL), physical activism prompts me to try and strike this unending balancing act. While I straddle the lines of loving and hating the internet, I’m forced to have a relationship with it. So I wonder if there was ever a honeymoon period to begin with? Am I not in the dating phase of still getting to know this rhizomatic entity that continues to excite yet infuriate me? Ha! Sure sounds like one a rewarding relationship and like any relationship…one that takes A LOT of work to understand.
Full write up can be read here.
I am THRILLED to co-present along with An Xiao Mina and Ben Valentine at the Dissident Futures Art and Ideas Festival. Please RSVP through YBCA’s site here. It will be good times and lots of great conversation. It’s been a great year thus far. Although it’s been extremely challenging to balance work, school, and freelance work, I’ve been handling it without my head completely rolling off and away from my body! Please consider checking out the festival and paying our panel a visit and talking to us.
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Dissident Futures Art and Ideas Festival
Sat, Nov 23, Noon–9 PM
Grand Lobby, Screening Room, Third Street Courtyard, Youth Arts Lounge
FREE w/ RSVP
YBCA invites you to participate in a one-day interactive festival in conjunction with the Dissident Futures visual arts exhibit in our Downstairs Gallery. The festival will bring our communities together to explore and investigate possible futures envisioned by artists, urban planners, environmentalists, scientists, robotic experts, designers, programmers, and food activists through dynamic workshops, lectures, performances, interactive media, music, and more.
In the Bay Area, there are a wealth of future-facing projects, involving practical innovations in technology and science. Some of these creative yet pragmatic endeavors are informed by utopian dreams and fueled by a local culture that looks to the future with hope and a predominant strain of optimism at what may come. The worldwide effort to consider and shape the future is being conducted by diverse actors including artists, scientists, teachers, and activists. The breadth of ideas and emergent forms ranges vastly, and given the scope and rising pace of these activities, ideas, and aspirations around the future, it is an exciting time for us to look critically at the participants and the outsiders in this conversation.
We want to bring people together in dialogue with members of our Bay Area community who have the tools to envision a future that expands on the best of our aspirations and builds on our technological advances, but keeps in check negative vectors such as climate change, rising income inequalities, and gaps that exist for power distribution and influence. We want to look at the entire ecology and foster discussions that move us forward.
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Noon: Opening Remarks by YBCA Executive Director Deborah M. Cullinan and Talks by Ray Gilstrap and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), Grand Lobby
Noon–8 PM: Artist booths by Fantastic Futures, Takehito Etani, Peter Foucault, Young Gifted and Black, GAFFTA, and Institute for the Future, Grand Lobby
Throughout the Day: Food, Music, Performances, and Mini Maker Faire, Third Street Courtyard
1–8 PM: Artist Presentations
1–2:30 PM: Future Cities Lab: Work of Future Cities Lab, Screening Room; Walidah Imarisha: Workshop on Sci-Fi and Social Movements, Youth Arts Lounge
2:30–4 PM: Code for America: Discussion on Open Government, Screening Room; Long Now Foundation: Manual for Civilization and GAFFTA: Creative Technology for Social Good and Urban Prototyping, Youth Arts Lounge
4–5:30 PM: Institute for the Future Fellows: Creating a Future for Good, Screening Room; Green House Project: Urban Agriculture—Rethinking Urban Density, Youth Arts Lounge
5:30–7 PM: InsTED Talks with Jaime Cortez, L. M. Bogad, Bill Hsu, and Jenifer Wofford, Screening Room; Kal Spelletich: Research and Survival in the Arts, Youth Arts Lounge
8–9:15 PM: Video Game Monologues, Screening Room; Dorothy Santos, An Xiao Mina, Ben Valentine: The Honeymoon’s Over—Arts and Culture Criticism in the Age of Networked Power, Youth Arts Lounge
2–4 PM: Performance by Michael Zheng, Grand Lobby; Performances and music by Brontez Purnell, Majo, Pangea F.C., Third Street Courtyard
7–8 PM: Performance by Jenifer Wofford and Kyle Herbert, Grand Lobby; Music performances, Third Street Courtyard
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Dorothy Santos is a freelance art writer, blogger, curator, and visual and critical studies geek. Born and raised in San Francisco, she holds bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and psychology from the University of San Francisco. As arts editor and curator of Asterisk San Francisco Magazine + Gallery, and blogger for ZERO1 and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA), she enjoys writing about artists and engaging with the community. Her work appears in ArtPractical,Stretcher, Creative Applications Network, Daily Serving, Hyperallergic, Art21, and Planting Rice. She serves as a board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in visual and critical studies from the California College of the Arts. Her research emphasis is on computational aesthetics, programming, coding, and open source culture and their effects on contemporary art.
An Xiao Mina is an artist, designer, writer, and a technologist. In her research and practice, she explores the intersection of networked, creative communities and civic life. Calling memes the “street art of the internet,” she looks at the growing role of internet culture and humor in addressing social and political issues in countries like China, Uganda, and the United States. Her writing and commentary have appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, Fast Company,Wired and others, and she has lectured at conferences such as the Personal Democracy Forum, the Microsoft Social Computing Symposium, and Creative Mornings. She is a 2013 USC Annenberg / Getty Arts Journalism Fellow and is co-founding The Civic Beat, a global research group and publishing platform focused on internet culture and civic life around the world.
Ben Valentine is a strategist and contributing author for the Civic Beat as well as a freelance cultural critic, curator, and creator based in Oakland. He recently organized Global Space, a groundbreaking exhibition for the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art on the changing face of the individual in a neoliberal and networked world. Valentine also co-curated the world’s first Tumblr Art Symposium, which included commissioned essays, panelists, and an exhibition on the visual networked culture emerging all over the world, especially on Tumblr. His writing has appeared on publications like Hyperallergic, Salon, and Medium. He is currently preparing for a residency at the Internet Archive in San Francisco and working on building a Spanish and English Twitter translation platform for citizen journalism across linguistic and geographic borders.