Less is (WAY) more ~ Reflections on the Writer/Theorist Life

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Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of being in conversation with writer, culture critic, curator, and artist, Ben Valentine at ZERO1 for the Bring It! Summer programming. Admittedly, it was a small and intimate group that joined us for the talk. When I got home, I read and wrote because I walked away from the evening with many big ideas. One of the things that kept coming up (even well into this week as I mull over the discussion), was a question by ZERO1 curator Jaime Austen. It had to do with responsibility.

What do you feel is your responsibility in terms of my writing, research, and scholarship?

There are so many ways to answer the question. Being a blogger since 2007, I’ve experienced different ways of looking at my writing practice, research, and what this means not only for me but the community I am trying to build around writing, critical theory, arts and technology. It definitely starts somewhere and a writer/theorist life can be rather lonely because it’s not as prolific and doesn’t promise benefits from efforts made to produce content (whether its for media outlets, a personal blog, and/or for print). So, how did I answer the question…well, I’d like to think that the work I’m putting into the community is helping answer that question.

Do you have a story around your commitment to the arts? What do you feel is your responsibility? How do you feel the virtual landscape facilities and allows or hinders and distracts your objectives? I would love to read your stories.

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Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina-American writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She serves as one of the editors-in-chief for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and SF MOMA's Open Space. She has lectured at the De Young museum, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). She is currently a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow researching the concept of citizenship. She also serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism and board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center.

2 thoughts on “Less is (WAY) more ~ Reflections on the Writer/Theorist Life”

  1. That’s a spot-on question! I’m basically a benefactor and not a contributor to the arts per se. I do, though, have artistic inclinations: I am revamping my pet site to, among other things, offer BLING and CUTENESS-ENHANCING pet products to my website. 😀

    Thus as regards the virtual landscape facilities, we’re (meaning me and my pet website) on the border at the frontier. Aggression is minimal because this is a ‘journey-is-more-meanigful-than-the-goal activity’. 🙂

    My two cents, though, perceives that today’s virtual landscape offers a bonanza of unprecedented possibilities and new avenues of creative expression, such that any hindrances or distractions would be reduced to the control of the artist him/her self.

  2. I think the virtual landscape is more of a forum, as in a central meeting place. Artists can show their work and encounter more than they could locally, and generally it’s cheaper than multiple subscriptions to Art Forum, Art in America, etc.

    As for responsibility…I’ve always felt artists have a responsibility to social justice and environmental justice, which I believe go in unison. We owe the world more than just pretty pictures, we owe them a path to transformation.

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