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Art Visual Arts

She’ll have you in stitches – Visual Artist, Stephanie Syjuco

I’ve been promising myself that I would keep to my art writings and dedicate time to those artist heroes I’ve stored in the large unorganized art bin in my mind.  For the longest time, I’ve been out of commission for reasons not even known to me.  In any case, I digress, as always…

One of the Filipina artists I’ve discovered over the years is Stepanie Syjuco.  Her work, seriously, had a profound effect on the way I view highly conceptual and communal based art.  Syjuco definitely has a way of injecting a healthful dose sociological and cultural issues within her work to make the viewer question the way in which one consumes and perceives ‘other’.  For the scope of this entry, I’ve chosen to focus on one of her Counterfeit Crochet Project, which started in 2006 is an ongoing endeavor.

The characteristics and themes most prominent in her work are ideas of the Black Market and the “Hello Kitty” effect, which a term Syjuco coined whilst working on her master’s thesis in Art Practice from Stanford Univeristy.  For the most part, the consumer is sold, provided a product for consumption, for use, yet the process in which this very product is produced goes through the hands of an individual that may not have the income or even pragmatic use for it (i.e., a handbag, piece of clothing, etc.).  It’s been a wild ride of adventures of Syjuco as she teaches and exhibits across the country.  This amazing artist will definitely have you pondering the goods you purchase but also, much more importantly, contemplating your role on a much more global scale…

Originally Posted: March 15, 2008

By Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina American writer, artist, and educator whose academic and research interests include feminist media histories, critical medical anthropology, race and technology. 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 is a Ph.D. student in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellow. Her work as been exhibited at Ars Electronica, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the GLBT Historical Society.

Her writing appears in art21, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, Ars Technica, Vice Motherboard, and SF MOMA’s Open Space. 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. She is a co-founder of REFRESH, a politically-engaged art and curatorial collective and serves as the program manager for the Processing Foundation.

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