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.

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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 “The American Gun Show”

  1. Greetings Dotothy
    Evie Leder referred me to your call on FB. Looks like a fascinating and timely concept for a show.
    I met Evie back in 2007, while I had a show at SF camerawork-and have been fortunate to stay in touch with her over the years.
    Evie is referring to a 4-channel installation we did (installed at a show at UC Riverside’s Sweeney art gallery) titled “Defense: The body and nobody in self-protection” curated by Lauren Hartman.
    There is documentation on our website and the piece is titled “Draw”
    If you would like to speak further about it feel free to email or call me at the number below.
    Best of luck with it,
    Natalie
    625.923.7026 (mobile)

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