The American Gun Show

Call to Artists: American Gun Show

Open call for artwork:

Few technologies have had the impact on civilization that the gun has had. With a storied history of a millennium and having been woven into American culture, it is not surprising that it is as contentious as it is empowering.

Dorothy Santos and James Morgan are bringing together a series of works across media that consider all sides of this technology. From the historic use in war to the representations in photography, painting and film, we are also interested in the object as it represents an intersection of functional design and technology. We want to look backwards and forwards and seek works that express a viewpoint related to guns and/or the second amendment.

We are particularly interested in the reflections of underrepresented and underserved communities regarding the place of the gun in the United States. Our expectation is that these views are not often reflected in the public and mainstream media.

Our intuition tells us that there are more than two sides of this story, that there is a relationship between queer, trans* and other communities to guns.

We want to tell that story.

The show will take place from October to November of 2015 in San José, California. We are particularly interested in media based projects and visual responses to the topic.

Please respond via email with links to appropriate work to either ags@factorynoir.com or dorothy.r.santos@gmail.com before August 21 for full consideration.

Curatorial Statement

The gun is a thousand year old technology changed by contemporary prototyping and communication processes. The American Gun Show looks at cultural responses in the context of personal liberty at the intersection of our identity, as Americans, and relationship to the network and print-on-demand technologies. Cody Wilson designed a 3D printable single shot pistol in 2013 which he posted as a computer file online for the public. Within days the U.S. State Department demanded that the files be taken down. This dispute marks a significant event in both legal and technological history – the collision of the first and second amendments of the US Constitution. Free speech and personal liberty become central themes to The American Gun Show.

This exhibition is about the artists’ response to guns and, to a lesser extent, the design and aesthetics of the machine itself. The art and technology of guns as an objective focus for this exhibition has been a challenging one to meet, but the much needed dialogue around an object rife with cultural, social, and political meaning warrants examination through a multi-faceted lens. This show is an exploration of the American psyche and history steeped by gun violence. What is the political will of the American public to address the issues related this advanced form of weaponry? As curators, we explored artists, artistic practices, and expressions that can offer a form of neutrality or balanced perspectives on the issue of gun creation and control.

We understand and expect a wide array of reactions to the content and nature of the exhibition. To that end, people will find some of the work offensive or antagonist to either side of the debate. But we ask visitors to consider the work that resonates with them may have the same or different effect on another viewer. The American Gun Show is not anti-gun or pro-gun. Rather, the show seeks to drive more of a census on what can bring opposing viewpoints stemming from the existence of this object as a point of departure for effective legislation while respecting the rights of American citizens.

The American Gun Show

Conceiving Place // In Coversation with Mabel Negrete at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

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When: Friday, August 7, 2015 
Time: 5:00pm7:30pm
Location: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Front Door Gallery
As a culmination of the public programming associated with the current Room for Big Ideas project, Conceiving Place, Bay Area-based writer Dorothy Santos will be in conversation with Mabel Negrete on her work and ask questions that focus on social practice, defining place, current social and political climates, as well as how the project has evolved since its inception. The conversation will be for one hour between artist and writer and 15–30 minutes of facilitated Q&A.The evening’s program will open with a ceremonial workshop led by Khalil Anthony: SONGS FROM PLANET ZERO
Join artist Khalil Anthony on a voyage in creation and song creation. Through this interactive workshop, participants will breathe together, and create music with only their bodies and voices as instruments. Learn to use your inherent rhythm and beat making ability to conjure songs as a group and by yourself, in this improvisational based workshop that pull songs from Planet Zero; a mythical place where all things are possible, as long as imagination and vulnerability meet.From writer Dorothy Santos – “We all carry the burden of punishment in our everyday lives. But at the economic, social, and cultural level, these burdens remain invisible. Whether they are through the taxes we pay perpetuating the prison industrial complex to surveillance technologies, we live in a world where we are unable to truly navigate away from digital and physical landscapes withoutconsequence. MabelNegrete coined the term ‘invisible punishing machines’ as a response to narratives around imprisonment, political oppression, and systems of government. Her work relies on vulnerability, storytelling, and experiential practices that have resulted in works such as The Weight I Carry with Me (2010 – Ongoing) to her founding the research initiative Counter Narrative Society (CNS). The breadth of her work has served as an impactful project that aims to reverse dominant narratives that diminish the untold and often obscured stories of underrepresented and vulnerable populations.”See the entire August 2015 workshop schedule at http://thinkeringschool.sparkmakers.org/july-aug-2015-thinkering-activities/Part of the exhibition, Conceiving Place:

Through a series of public workshops, Conceiving Place will engage the Bay Area community in a conversation about our personal and societal narratives; ultimately turning the weight we individually carry into a communal work. This ever-evolving installation will also frequently include “hands on, minds on” experiences. See more at http://ybca.org/conceiving-place

Artist Mabel Negrete, the founder of Counter Narrative Society (CNS), is a multi-disciplinary artist exploring counter narratives about bio-power, urbanism, culture, and technology. Her project The Weight I Carry with Me is a reaction to the invisible punishing machine, an idiomatic, science fiction-esque research concentration she designed to examine the spatial and technological causes that produce inequality and invisible punishment — a consequence of mass imprisonment, political persecution of individuals, the prison-welfare system, urbanization, neoliberal policies, and social-urban control in the USA. She is a recipient of several recognitions including MIT Presidential Award 2009-2010 and MIT Architecture Department Fellowship 2009-2011, Zellerbach Family Foundation & W.A. Gerbode Foundation 2006, and Osher Memorial Merit Scholarship – San Francisco Art Institute 2003-2006. Her work has been presented in a variety of public spaces and cultural institutions: Boston City Hall, MA; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA; Art of this Gallery, MI; De Young Museum, CA, The Intersection for the Arts, CA; Galleria de la Raza, CA; Primo Piano Living Gallery, Lecce Italy; New College of California, CA; San Francisco World Affairs Counsel, SF; and University of San Francisco, CA.

Conceiving Place // In Coversation with Mabel Negrete at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Silencing the Conscious: The Representation of the API Body in Ex Machina // published in Hyphen

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The plot line dictates, culturally and historically, a dominant narrative told many times in film and media. I wish it were different. With the myriad of racial, cultural, and social stories flooding the media, visibility of API bodies is still so very far behind in the mainstream culture even when it is inserted into film as an aside.

From two teenage boys creating a women in the 1980s film Weird Science to a robotics scientist creating a Voice Input Child Identicant (VICI) in cult classic sitcom Small Wonder, the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on the human condition isn’t anything new. The profound interest in artificial intelligence has gained popularity with surrealist images of Google’s AI perceiving images in nature to self-driving cars. The rapid development in the realms of science enhance existing technologies to make our lives convenient. But the dominant narratives persist in popular culture as seen in the Alex Garland’s directorial film debut in Ex Machina. Since the release of the film, critics laud the triumph of soft spoken and seemingly delicate feminine robot Ava. As she speaks to Turing tester, Caleb, a programmer for Bluebook (Google-esque technology company), we realize she is well aware of the surroundings and has even developed qualities of human behavior that mimic her ability to think of ways to escape her captor-maker.

However, the film seemed to backfire as an interpretation of the battle between the sexes. Nathan, maker of Ava, created a female AI based on Caleb’s pornographic preferences, which reminds us that Nathan himself knew to use one of his own employees as a ploy in confirming his abilities and deftness in using programming and coding to materialize his fantasies and desires. The creation of Ava is also a way for Nathan to assert his control over Caleb.

Read the rest of the piece here

Silencing the Conscious: The Representation of the API Body in Ex Machina // published in Hyphen

Upcoming event: NextDayBetter + San Francisco Speaker Series / Saturday, June 20, 2015

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WHERE: SoMa StrEat Food Park
WHEN: Saturday, June 20th, 2015
TIME: 1:00pm-6:00pm
Drinks. Food. Inspiration

To purchase tickets, click here

What will San Francisco look like in in 20 years? What does it look like now? What challenges does the city face? Considering the challenging issues that face San Francisco such as gentrification, poverty, digital and educational inequity, and entrepreneurship. We have asked our speakers to envision a new San Francisco based on history and their experiences. Building on the art of storytelling, each narrator will share what they feel needs to be built and what it will take to activate the community.

Upcoming event: NextDayBetter + San Francisco Speaker Series / Saturday, June 20, 2015