PlaceTalk at the Prelinger Library

PLACE TALKS is a series of visual lectures that occurs at the Prelinger Library in San Francisco. Bay Area artists, writers, designers, architects, archivists, librarians (and other curious people) share talks on location-related topics, illustrated by content from the library’s collection.

I am absolutely honored to be a part of this line-up of stellar artists and writers! You can find out more about the talks and information about the library here. See you on September 27th!

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New Normal / Old Normal

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I have been invited to be a panelist for a discussion titled, “Making Art in the Age of #45” as a part of public programming at Kala Institute. Bay Area-based artist Christy Chan invited me and I am constantly humbled and honored for these opportunities. In 2015, I wrote a review of Christy Chan’s performance for online art publication Art Practical. She will re-enact The Long Distance Call at New Normal / Old Normal – a performance and panel discussion. Tickets can be purchased for the event here.

Information for the performance and panel discussion appear below:

Performance starts at 7pm, Doors open at 6:30pm
Panel Discussions at 7:45pm or 10 min after the performance ends.

Admission 10 – $25 sliding scale
(Recommended Member $15, Students $10)
NOTAFLOF (no one turned away for lack of funds)

Kala Art Institute is excited to present New Normal / Old Normal, a performance and panel discussion on Thursday, September 6 at 7pm. Artist Christy Chan will present a re-staging of her performance The Long Distance Call followed by the panel discussion Making Art in the Age of #45.

Expanding on her own personal experiences and interactions with KKK members during her childhood growing up in rural Virginia, Chan presents The Long Distance Call, a re-enactment of phone calls between Chan and Miss. Anne, a KKK seamstress in Alabama. During the phone calls Chan convinced Miss. Anne to provide her with a custom-made Klan robe for her video work. Their unsettling yet banal phone calls tell the story of an unexpected interaction between two women, from trust gained to the eventual abrupt end of their communications. The Long Distance Call is performed by Catherine Lerza and Christy Chan.

The original phone calls took place in 2013 and the re-enactment was first performed in San Francisco at Southern Exposure in 2015, two years before the Trump administration took office and the KKK and extreme right became politically emboldened for the first time since the 1970’s.

Following The Long Distance Call, Kala will present Making art in the age of #45, a panel discussion with Ryanaustin Dennis (founder, co-director of The Black Aesthetic), Guillermo Galindo (composer, sonic architect, performance and visual artist), Christy Chan (artist), Favianna Rodriguez (artist) and Dorothy Santos (writer, editor, and curator). Panelists will explore how the role of the arts and artists working in race, class and political issues has evolved since Trump’s inauguration. The panel moderator is Bay Area comedian Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, winner of the Liz Carpenter award for political humor (previously awarded to Samantha Bee) and hosts The Moth in San Francisco.

Tickets are $10-25 sliding scale.

PANEL DISCUSSION at the Museum of the African Diaspora | Blockchain and the New Media Art Market

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When: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 | Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM PDT

Purchase tickets for this event here.

The growing influence of new media in the contemporary art market has led to new forms of selling and collecting digital art. From Blockchain startups to galleries selling artwork as digital editions, digital downloads, or art as a subscription (think: Spotify for visual art). In this panel we’ll discuss popular methods for collecting and selling digital art with Mark Lurie, founder, and CEO of Codex; Badir McCleary, Assistant Director of The KNOW Contemporary; Antwaun Sargent, writer, and art critic; and Kamal Hubbard, a blockchain researcher, blogger, and advisor. The panel will be moderated by me – Dorothy Santos!

This program is presented in conjunction with the current exhibition Digitalia: Art & the Economy of Ideas, on view through August 26, 2018.

 Image: Tony Gum, Xhosa Woman – Intombi I, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

PANEL DISCUSSION at the Museum of the African Diaspora | Art: The Bridge Between Tech & Culture

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When: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 | Time: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM PDT

Purchase tickets for this event here.

Join us for a discussion with a digital artist Mark Sabb and creative technologist Iddris Sandu about the ways culture influences technology, and the way Black art concretely shapes global culture and can even influence the tech infrastructure. The conversation will be moderated by art and technology writer and editor Dorothy Santos.

Iddris Sandu is a Los Angeles based creative technologist — a Kanye West x Elon Musk hybrid. He’s the mind behind the software that many of us use every day. From Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter, to Uber self-driving cars, and even the White House. Iddris has been honored by President Obama. The 20-year-old award winning savant considers himself more of an architect than a software engineer. Someone who places the world’s problems into perspective and then designs life to affirm solutions. Iddris and hip-hop artist/entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle collaborated to build LA’s first smart store leveraging Iddris’ tech and design background and Nipsey’s cultural influence. The store features include augmented reality to access artwork on clothing and to stream music. Their collaboration drew interests of many journalists as well as hip hop and cultural icons like Russell Westbrook, Vegas Jones of Roc Nation, and Diddy.

Mark Sabb is a digital strategist, artist, and designer dedicated to the intersection of arts and community. Through independent collaborationsMark has cemented himself as a cutting-edge digital artist in San Francisco, and in 2014, along with Michael Warr, Mark was granted the Creative Work Fund award as part of the multimedia project, Tracing Poetic Memory in Bayview Hunters Point.

Dorothy R. Santos is a Filipina American writer, editor, and curator whose research interests include digital art, computational media, 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 is currently a Ph.D. student in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellow.

This program is presented in conjunction with the current exhibition Digitalia: Art & the Economy of Ideas, on view through August 26, 2018.

 Image: Chromatin 23, courtesy of the artists Francois Beaurain and Medina Dugger

Reading The Dispossessed

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On Saturday, January 20, from 12-2 p.m. I will be participating in the second part of a two-part program, which will be a reading and recording of Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Dispossessed.

Artists Danielle Aubert, Sofia Cordova, Liz Hillie, Courtney Johnson and I will read from The Dispossessed with an emphasis on the marks found in over one hundred used copies. Gallery visitors are welcome to sit and listen to the reading and to follow along with a used copy. This reading will be recorded.

To learn more, please visit the event link here.

Surface Tension: Joseph Liatela

Surface Tension: Joseph Liatela

Absolutely honored to be curating the work of Bay Area-based artist, Joseph Liatela. Below, you will find the curatorial statement and information about the artist.


The Center for Sex & Culture will open a solo exhibition, featuring the work of Bay Area-based artist Joseph Liatela curated by Dorothy R. Santos on January 12, 2018 and on view through February 16, 2018. The exhibition includes his recent work created during his artist residency at the Kala Art Institute in nearby Berkeley, and the Vermont Studio Center Fellowship. The works explore notions of embodiment, autonomy, surveillance, and visibility.

With our quickly evolving lives inundated by mass media, the world remains a constricted and binary place steeped in white supremacy and gender-based violence. Through textile, installation, and video, Liatela presents materiality as a metaphor for the human body and skin in an ethereal manner harkening a delicate balance between body and mind. Inspired by the scholarship of author and professor Toby Beauchamp, Liatela asks the viewer to meditate and imagine the possibilities of world if such gender performativity defied the binary world we live in today.

The show contains work from Liatela’s Surface Tension series, incorporates medical technology and procedures reminiscent of traditional artistic practices of stitching and sculpture. The delicate nature of the material also carries the moments and essence of a body in transition billowing the spaces it inhabits as a remnants and signs of life. The use of sutures and organza provokes the viewer to look at, look through, and around the works simultaneously. In his video, Artful Concealment and Strategic Visibility, Liatela’s body is quickly revealed and concealed within a landscape analogous to the ways in which the trans body must traverse a multitude of spaces in the world yet remains subject to surveillance and scrutinization.

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About the Artist
Joseph Liatela is an independent multimedia artist based in Oakland, California working in printmaking, performance, and video. His work explores the way we perceive gender, sexuality, the body, memory, trans/queer intergenerational connection, and the self.

He completed his BFA from the Individualized Honors program at California College of the Arts (2017) and has performed/exhibited in numerous galleries/venues, including exhibitions for the the National Queer Arts Festival (2016), the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival (2017), SOMArts (2017), Denniston Hill (2017) , Human Resources LA (2017) and was selected as a participant in the New York Arts Practicum (2016). This fall he was an artist in residence at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California and received a fellowship to Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont.

For more information: http://www.josephliatela.com/


Surface Tension will be on view from January 12, 2018 through February 16, 2018
Opening reception: January 12th, 6-9pm
Artist Talk with scholar and theorist Julian Carter: February 5, 2018 7pm