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Art Culture Criticism Observations Writing Practice

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.

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.

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

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.

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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