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.

Chance Operations

Time-Out / Temps Mort by Ogrydziak / Prillinger Architects ~ Image Source: Ogrydziak / Prillinger Architects

A couple of weeks ago, I attended an Upgrade! SF meeting filled with artists, writers, theorists, and curators within the new media arts community. The evening was filled with conversation around Chance Operations and stochastic methods related to the art making process. Luke Ogrydziak, principal architect at Ogrydziak / Prillinger Architects gave a brief talk around chance in the architecture and design processes. His presentation touched heavily on the idea of indeterminable factors affecting a final outcome or product. For instance, some of the objects constructed through C++ programming language. Although there is an element of precision through the computation, the digital environment also allows for chance to create sculptural pieces such as Time-Out / Temps Mort (pictured). Specific constraints may prohibit physical and manual production of this piece but Chance Operations, with advancements in technology, allow for organic forms to emerge.

Matt Ganucheau, San Francisco based artist, views chance as a sterile aspect of the art making process. Chance requires a bit of action. He stated,

Chance is a stimulant that requires an agent and a seed. Once you increase the production, you begin to see repeat occurrences, thus chance increases. It is always apart of the process but only through repetition do we see its potential.

Another interesting point brought up during the evening was the intent of an artist. Intention plays a major role in how chance is revealed. It’s one thing for an artist to work in solitude and engage in experimentation strictly for oneself. It’s a completely different story and outcome when the artist relinquish control of production and leaves chance up to the viewer thus making them a producer. Essentially, everything produced within an art practice and process still requires calculation and precision. Regarding John Cage’s methods of art and music making, I’m curious how technology eliminates, illuminates, or adds yet another layer or modality of Chance. Even after acts and gestures are performed within an art practice, choice determines an outcome and not necessarily chance. I’m curious, as an artist, a writer, technologist, etc. what do you define as chance operations and how has it played a role in your practice and creative process?

Please log onto ZERO1’s Facebook page, make sure to “Like” us, and post your thoughts on Chance Operations.

Look for the following question and join the discussion, “With advancements in technology, from photography apps to programming language to 3D printing, are Chance Operations necessary in the art making process? Why or why not?”

Originally posted to ZERO1, please view the blog post here

Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance @ SOMArts Cultural Center – Opening Night

Getting Lucky at SOMArts Cultural Center

We create a community of multi-disciplinary artists who fuse eastern philosophies and practices in their work. This new community engages musicians, architects, visual artists, sculptors, videographers, and others in a conversation and exchange that evokes the spirit of John Cage and his impact on avant-garde art that permeates and vibrates throughout the bay area. ~ Hanna Ragev, Co-Curator

Mathematicians, scientists, and artists are all driven by uncertainty. Chance operations might entail risk but it also lends itself well towards calculated steps. All of these factors drive innovation. As difficult as it may be to relinquish control in anything we do, chance is what helps create substantive work. This is particularly true for artists. But the belief that chance will deliver success is futile. Yet, with these elements, any favorable outcome from chance offers a catharsis from unproductive habits and stagnancy. One of the most notable iconic art figures, John Cage, best known for his experimental methods and approaches to music and art creation takes center stage as the inspiration for current exhibition Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance now showing at the SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco, CA. Curators, Hanna Regev and Justin Hoover, gathered a wide array of talented artists working in a wide range of media paying homage to Cage’s legacy.

Chance operation, which was so boldly undertaken by John Cage as a structural tool for fine art production is often misunderstood as haphazard. It is quite the opposite. John Cage developed exact structures with precise timing, scoring, and rule sets in order to re-frame the relationship between chance and choice in the western tradition. He used a proscenium setting to realize his pieces and yet his influence expanded to all aspects of contemporary and modern art. He largely looked to Chinese and Japanese traditional cultures for influence in how to determine his chance structures and opened the door for a precise indeterminacy. We are much in debt to his playfulness and precision. ~ Justin Hoover, Co-Curator

As Hoover mentioned, the relationship between chance and choice inevitably creates structure as seen in the artworks shown in Get Lucky. From textiles to multimedia installations, the show offers the viewer an incredible look into Cage’s influence on contemporary art practitioners. Michelle Wilson’s edible paper explores creating from a variety of food and vegetable products that look at unpredictability. Michael Bartalos’s cardboard boxes mimic building blocks with words that can be rearranged to create words and phrases leaving it up to the viewer to decide what other viewers will read. Immediately to the left and right, Tony May’s and David Middlebrook’s boat pieces are inversions of the other. One suspended while the other seems held up precariously by what appears to be bamboo shoots. In the midst of all the activity, sounds of Garrett La Fever, David Molina, and Mickey Tachibana’s collective artwork, Memory Web, resonate from the screening room. On the other side of the gallery, Mauro ffortisimo plays impromptu pieces from his deconstructed piano. ZERO1 alumni, Scott Kildall and Tim Roseborough present the idea of chance as a game. Aspects of the opening event harked to the days of Happenings and the emergence of relational aesthetics. As the viewers became active participants in the creation of art, the interplay between creation and consumption between artist and viewer presents another variable in how the art objects evolve.

Exhibiting artists include:
Nick Agid, Kirkman Amyx, Michael Bartalos, Richard Berger, Antonio Cortez, EXCOR (led by Sherry Parker), Mauro ffortisimo, Nancy Genn, Bryan Hewitt, Vita Hewitt, Robin Hill, Janet Jones, Nolan Jones, Theodora Varnay Jones, Jonathon Keats, Scott Kildall, Naomie Kremer, Jon Kuzmich, Garrett La Fever, Tony May, Jim Melchert, David Middlebrook, David Molina, Luke Ogrydziak, Micky Tachibana, Sandra Ortiz Taylor, Zoe Prillinger, Renee Rhodes, Tim Roseborough, Micky Tachibana, Kenneth Wilkes, Michelle Wilson

Originally posted to ZERO1. Please view posting here

Feelin’ Lucky at SOMArts Cultural Center – Opening Night for Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance

Pretty exciting to blog on the fly! I’m currently at the Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance opening night. Many people and such a great line up of wonderful artists looking at chance while paying homage to art icon, John Cage! More to come… 20120106-182421.jpg

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