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I went to the Night Light: Multi-Media Garden Party at the SOMArts Cultural Center. It was great seeing friends and meeting some wonderful artists. Below, you’ll find some footage I shot of Radka Pulliam‘s piece, Up and Down the Street. It’s quite clever in that the viewer must “look in” the building to “look out” at the street view. The placement was spot on since it was in a relatively inconspicuous place towards the front of the entrance. I noticed people stopped when they noticed someone looking down and ponder the location of the projection.

One of the memorable performances of the evening was the Spanish Contemporary dance routine of Elias Aguirre and Alvaro Esteban. They are amazing. The isolations and articulation of their bodies is best seen in person. If you were at Night Light, you would know exactly what I’m talking about. Fortunately, there is a video of this phenomenal Spanish Contemporary Dance duo.

Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yanez

April 27, 2012


ASTERISK SAN FRANCISCO GALLERY PRESENTS, Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yañez

Exhibition runs: Thursday, May 3, 2012 – Friday, June 1, 2012
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 3, 2012 7PM -9PM
3156 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Gallery hours: Wednesday to Saturday, from 11am -7pm

Asterisk San Francisco Gallery is pleased to present Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yanez, a collection of 3D drawings and photography.  Please join us on Thursday, May 3, 2012 from 7-9pm for the exhibition opening.

As a native San Francisco artist, curator, and photographer, Yañez includes the viewer into the art experience. This show is particularly meaningful as it is Yañez’s first solo exhibition in the neighborhood where he was raised. In Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yañez, three-dimensional works of his ongoing series, The Ramirez Sisters, depicting two siblings and their parallel lives in San Francisco’s Mission District takes on the form of sequential art. Although Yañez negates text, the images of the sisters evokes a strong sense of the how the city shapes the sisters’ individual identities. With his re-contextualization and imaginings of Frida Kahlo and Picasso inspired works, the images mesh into the contemporary fabric Yañez calls home. His photographic works depict the richness and vibrancy of San Francisco. Through Red and Cyan colored lenses, the dynamic simulation of being in these moments of creation is brought to the participant. The textures and scenes of the city enliven the urban landscape. The three-dimensional facet of the works are also kinetic and engaging as they lure the viewer into participating into the city’s infectious and energetic spirit.

About the Artist

Rio Yañez is a curator, photographer, graphic artist, and San Francisco artist. As a curator, he is a frequent collaborator with his father, Rene Yañez, and the two have been developing exhibits together since 2005. He has exhibited in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Tokyo. His reimaginings of Frida Kahlo have included the Ghetto Frida Project, a series of prints, writings, and performance pieces featuring a thugged-out Kahlo. Yañez is also a founding member of The Great Tortilla Conspiracy, the world’s most dangerous tortilla art collective. Most recently, his work is featured alongside Miguel “Bounce” Perez and Susie “Tendaroni” Lundy in current exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk at the De Young Museum. Yañez received his BFA in Photography from the California Institute of the Arts. He currently works and resides in San Francisco, California.


About Asterisk San Francisco Gallery

Asterisk San Francisco Gallery is located in San Francisco’s vibrant Mission District. The gallery was founded in January 2012 by Asterisk San Francisco co-founders Chief Editor, Jeremy Joven, and Managing Editor, Alex Winter. The gallery focuses on supporting emerging artists within the Bay Area community. It is also available for art openings and single evening events. Rental of the space is available upon request.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm. To visit, please visit us at 3156 24th Street (at Shotwell), San Francisco, CA 94110.


There is SO much going on BUT I had to take the time to share a few photos I took during my studio visit with new media artist, Allison Holt. I’m looking forward to settling down and writing a piece about my conversation and visit with Holt. Her re-telling and artworks of the different energies and hybrid realities through her Fulbright research of Javanese culture is not only fascinating but yet another example of how artists can impact a community and engage in dialogue and discourse across cultures. Again, looking forward to posting parts of my interview with Holt as well as some reflection on her work.

I previously posted videos of the Hypercubes here. They’re extremely meditative, which I will get into during my write-up. For now, enjoy the studio visit photos and videos! If you have any burning questions and/or comments, please feel free to share and comment below. 🙂

Change the instruments, and you will change the entire social theory that goes with them. ~ Bruno Latour, 2009

Besides ghosts and the government, data is ubiquitous. Consider the abundance of data we interact with on a daily basis (i.e., talking to Siri, logging on Facebook, Tweets, etc.). It’s undeniable, data is a commodity. From monitoring spend to formulating metrics on production of goods, data is necessary for our economic livelihood and growth. I wouldn’t be surprised if a verbal morality standard were implemented in the future! With every passing moment, It grows exponentially and there are probably more data sets in your life than you actually know about. Recently, I attended the Swissnex San Francisco talk, Data as the New Oil: The Journey from Privacy to Publicy, the speakers for the evening included futurists,

Each had compelling arguments for their particular stances, which varied from opacity with one’s information to complete transparency in the virtual world. Whether you consider yourself being highly active online or have very little virtual presence, the discussion around this topic is imperative.

Gerd Leonhard (@gleonhard) started the evening’s presentations. Leonhard discusses various types of data we use such as volunteered data (i.e., online purchase) to access and use for business purposes. From studying abroad to logging our whereabouts, we suffer from what Leonhard stated as ‘control-loss’. One of the more striking inquiries he ponders is which company will be the next BP ExxonMobil disaster but in regard to data security? The media report on security breaches and leaks from time to time but do you believe a devastating data leak with significant environmental, cultural, and societal effects could actually happen? The question is definitely worth exploring. A futuristic Space Odyssey-Hal 9000 moment entailed Leonhard reminding us of artificial intelligence and its capacity to become robust and dynamic. For example, the iPhone 4S technology, Siri, gets better everyday. The more data we give it, the more robust and intelligent it becomes. Artificial intelligence doesn’t suffer from unpredictable human emotions or experiences nostalgia (unless, maybe, if we’re talking about Data, cyborg from Star Trek). Rather, it takes our information and creates value based on the content. Lastly, one important aspect of data production and consumption is how we, collectively, keep what Leonhard believes is “the ethos of the commons”. In the desire to be open, there’s a lot of risk and vulnerability attached to that type of transparency. Even though good data creates good content, the opposite is just as true.

Co-founder of and futurist, Jamais Cascio (@cascio), was passionate about his stance of opacity or asymmetric transparency when dealing with data in the virtual realm. Out of the four presenters, his thoughts on the future of data incorporated more radical ideas such as the aforementioned asymmetric transparency (versus symmetric data transparency). Essentially, incorporating a level of opacity when inputting data into a system or database. He argues ‘Opacity’ has value and poses the question, “Do you tell Facebook your actual location?”. For most us, the answer is probably no but then again, we all indulge in omitting our locations for the sake of privacy. Cascio believes lying to the Internet, versus giving up your power to it, is a necessary practice in order to sustain one’s privacy. He compares and contrasts the difference between a natural resource such as oil versus a resource like data. Oil will run out due to its limited supply but this isn’t the case with data. Currently, Cascio estimates around 800 billion gigabytes and by the year 2020, there will probably be around 35 zettabytes (increasing data 45 times over!). With a resource that abundant and seemingly infinite, how can we possibly keep our identities and information in a regulated and structured way? This is a tremendous task, which is why Cascio’s notion of ‘Opacity’ is not too far-fetched.

Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd) looks at social media and networks. His primary interest is how we interact with one another. Although some of the ideas Boyd asserts are not necessarily new, such as his perspective on advertising, which is derived from an amalgamation of data. Data fuels our desires for things we may not really need to are led to believe we want! Yet, Boyd presents this familiar thinking by drawing on connections with actual physical research not often discussed on a highly public forum such as genetic profiling. Although we have little control over the way our data is used, Boyd suggests knowing how we interact within a societal context, not only virtually but, within physical space. Collectively, we have the capacity to take data and use it as a valuable and meaningful resource that actually helps drive innovation and change. As Boyd stated during his talk, “We are living in this liquid media where things are less solid”. Even television is being affected by our social interactions and the way we access our lives online. He also stated augmented reality as the next big thing and how we can prepare ourselves for this new technology. Lastly, he eloquently put, social networking and media is part of the “exhaust of our social interactions” that circles back to the knowing ourselves within physical spaces.

Stanford Lecturer and Professor, Andreas Weigend, (@aweigend) has spent the last 8 years looking at social data. He defines social data as the information we create and share. For the most part, Weigend was the only presenter who asked the audience questions about what has and has not changed in the past decade. The emergence of virtual spaces like Facebook and Amazon, revolutionize the way we interact to the way we consume But what happens when an insurance company and an individual become friends on the social network? Or, the methods used by big pharma that allows for use of collective intelligence. Even data about the ebb and flow of traffic in your area allows for many possibilities. Another aspect of social data is music. When was the last time you bought music from a physical location? Based on the question and answers from the audience, the transportation and agricultural industries haven’t changed too terribly much. Probably the most significant change is in education system. From open source culture to readily available educational resources such as Kahn Academy, the way we learn and the methods used to teach future generations changes all the time. It’s amazing that my teenage niece probably has multiple online accounts for a variety of sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Tumlbr, gMail, etc.). Weigend suggests, “data is only really valuable when we factor in the decisions data affects” and vast information used to figure credit scores to compatibility with someone are all things to consider.

After that evening, I thought of the bind new media artists must deal with and how our data driven world will have coding and programming being studied and mandatory among future generations. How does the hactivist and open source culture of today amongst artists, designers, and theorists shape what arts and technology will look like 10 or 20 years from now? Tell ZERO1 what you think and join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

Read Data as the New Oil Speaker Bios on the Swissnex site here

Image Source: Swissnex 

Originally posted to ZERO1 Blog, please click here to view

My Facebook Experience - Image Source: Eric Slatkin, Artist

Last weekend, Eric Slatkin, founder of High Beam Media and co-founder of the Disposable Film Festival, sat down with me to discuss his current projects and technology’s effect on our culture. Below, you will find our conversation. Please share your on thoughts on the subject, check out Heart 2 Heart (and consider submitting your conversation, and, most importantly, enjoy! 🙂

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Dorothy Santos (DS): Regarding the Heart 2 Heart project, what did notice in the video submissions? Specifically, what did you notice in people’s’ speech?

Eric Slatkin (ES): For one thing, it’s hard for people to say ‘you’. The project aims to anthropomorphize our phones, though calling it out directly, is a challenge for people. To give something that credence, there needs to be an interaction, a back and forth. But we often just think of the one-sided nature of our phones, and that keeps us from thinking of the idea of a relationship. But once we admit that there is a discourse there, it opens up some interesting ideas, like what we, ourselves,  give back to them.

DS: We give back to them?

ES: I’m talking on the lowest level. Touching it. Talking into it. Stroking it. Looking at it. Thinking about it. All of those things, when applied to some sentient being, that would equal a relationship.  And sure, it’s just an object, so we don’t think to attribute any emotions to it. But the sophistication of what we do with it, what it does for us is constantly being built upon, and with Siri, it shows that when then you can have a conversation with it, we have to take into consideration the idea of it ascending to some sort sentient level. I think a lot of people think it’s crazy that we might have a relationship as meaningful with a friend as we do with our phones – but I think it’s coming. And I think it’s important to have conversations about how we  relate to it, vice versa, and what kind of understanding we can come to.  As Kevin Kelley says, technology are introduced, and we are guinea pigs, making mistakes, learning from them.  We saw that with Facebook privacy issues, as people lost their jobs, got divorced, didn’t get into colleges, all because they didn’t understand the implications of who they were sharing their social graph with.

And so Heart 2 Heart is a project in some senses about negotiating our relationships with our devices.

Heart 2 Heart - Image Source: Eric Slatkin, Artist

DS: Do you think technology is a right or an enabler?

ES: Saying that it’s our right I feel, begets the idea that somehow, it has a theological grounding. That it’s a part of the constructs of how we’re evolving. I don’t believe that though.  It just enables people to do things. It’s impartial, and what we do with it determines it’s opinions.

DS: With Augmented Reality, John Craig Freeman pointed to technology being a prosthesis. What do you think of technology (i.e., mobile devices) as an extension of ourselves?

ES: With all technology, there is a quantity over quality argument. Technology solves problems and makes things easier so it opens us up to do other things.  But that kind of logic is easier to stomach when it’s a machine that makes car parts, rather than when it compromises our need to do something like memory recall. But eventually (and we already see it coming) it will just make more sense not to remember anything because the phone /device will do it for us.  I’m a little upset about that idea but it’s one of those things, where the jury’s out on whether in social evolution of things, it will still be thought of as integral in the future.  If we don’t have to limit ourselves to 8 bits of memory/information, then we can obviously accomplish a lot more.  But before any of this happens, with Heart 2 Heart and my other projects, I’m trying to elicit the conversation of the implications of that kind of transition.

DS: What kind of sacrifices have you made for technology?

ES: There are tons. They’re no different from anyone else’s though. I miss writing with a pen. Writing with a pen is intimate to me, closer to what I’m really thinking than when it appears on a screen – not to mention the different kind of real-time editing you do by backspacing – deleting and replacing, than with a simple strike through with a pen.

DS: It’s organic.

ES: It’s what you’re creating. You’re creating what shows up on the page. There’s this whole other system when you’re on a laptop such as spell/grammar check and it fixes it for you. You feel less involved in the process. I write poetry and it’s all by hand, at first because if it’s on the computer, it feels further along in the process, when all I’m trying to do is get my thoughts down.  But I always edit them on my computer – there’s no way, I’d write multiple drafts by hand.

DS: Since you discussed converging with technology and seeing it as a form of mutualism, I’m curious what you mean by that?

ES: I add a level of sentience behind these devices already. We give to it. It gives to us. In any kind of relationship. In our gut, there’s a world of bacteria, mostly helping us.  And many people, like Ray Kurzweil, believe that our mutualism with technology will eventually get deep enough, so that it actually becomes part of us, just like bacteria (think Google searches right from our brain or turning house lights on and off just by thinking about it).

Caption Here - Image Source: Eric Slatkin, Artist

DS: What do you think about accessibility to technology? There is a lot of the world that is not hard-wired in the way people are within a city or urban landscape. It definitely separates people.

ES: It’s a socio-economic privilege. If, one day, there is an implanted chip in someone’s head, they’re gonna probably have a better chance at getting a job than someone who cannot afford. Even within our smaller cultural spheres, there are going to be those discrepancies. I don’t think it’s distinct than the historically having access to an education or books versus growing up without those abilities.  I think that technology does a great job of helping to bridge the gap and  democratizing knowledge – but I don’t think it will create a perfect society where everyone is on the same level – some will still have access to certain technologies, while others will not.

DS: Do you want everyone to be connected?

ES: I don’t know.

DS: Does it matter?

ES: It’s hard to say – you either don’t know, or if you do, base all your other experiences on it. It feels like why Thoreau left Walden – because he knew what was on the other side … I waffle between technophobia and technophilia, but ultimately I want to be, just like I assume other people want to be, part of society – and to do that, now, means to be connected.

DS: Should everyone be connected?

ES: It seems a little self-righteous to say yes, they should, or no, I want to think that there are people still living in the wilderness.  It’s a choice that EVERYONE should make themselves.

DS: Most of your projects, you seem to want the viewer/participant to use technology in moderation. Would you say that’s true?

ES: I think the purpose of all these projects,  is to make people take a step back. Think about your relationship with technology, so that we can have a conversation about their implications.  And to ultimately, find a balance.

To learn more about Eric, please click here

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Please pardon the photography. I took these photos on my phone and didn’t want to wait too long to post a few of my favorites from Open Studios this weekend. I highly encourage visiting their sites and taking a look around. Obviously, their work is so much better in person but these were definitely some of the pieces I enjoyed. Click on the artist’s name to learn more about them: Diane Komater, Jonathan Barcan, and Sonya Philip