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

slider-digitalia-copy-1-960x673

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

thediss_ukl

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.

____________________________

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

Transitioning 

It’s been such an incredible year. In hindsight, I can’t believe I haven’t kept better tabs on myself and the wonderful people I’ve been collaborating and meeting along the way. As the subject of this post states, there is a lot of transitioning happening in my life. I’m okay to write this particular news since my manager and team mates know (they’ve known for quite some time) – I will be starting a PhD program this coming fall! I will be a doctoral candidate in Film and Digital Media. I’ve worked hard for this. I’ve worked to the point that exposure did almost kill me. It’s been a long road to get to where I am now. I also can’t believe I only posted three times to this platform in 2016 and this is my first post for 2017. I will be organizing things a bit more since I have been given the suggestion to have a brand. So strange to consider how I brand myself. Perhaps, the academic life will help me re-boot how I want to move forward with writing, editorial work, and freelance gigs.

At this time, I am open to whatever suggestions folks have on how I can start thinking about branding and ways of organizing my skills and things I offer. It’s definitely time to start organizing how I represent myself on various platforms and on social media. Always a lot to do. For those that are curious, the best way to see what’s happening and see what I’ve been working on, your best bet is Instgram, Twitter, and Facebook. I know. It’s even a lot for me. Need to work on a newsletter as well. Again, open to suggestions. 🤗

Life Happens

life

via GIPHY

I can’t believe I haven’t posted to my blog in over four months. I remember back in 2011, I forced myself to post everyday and found that to be incredibly time consuming. It took a lot of energy, even if it was sharing content (not even producing content – content curation is its own beast, by the way). That being said, many wonderful things have happened since April. Actually, many great things have happened since last year and I am only now realizing, I’ve been doing a horrendous job at sharing.

Here are a few things…

  • Carla Gannis’s work A Subject Self Identified was covered in The Creators Project as well as being long listed for the prestigious Lumen Prize. I highly encourage you to support the project by purchasing a digital copy of the book or one of the limited edition hardcovers. If you want to know exactly why I’m sharing this news, you’ll just have to click on the links. 😉
  • Sat on a panel titled the “Automated Personality” with brilliant minds for the Theorizing the Web 2016 conference
  • The last week of April, I finished up curating the MFA students at UC Santa Cruz for their group show, Blindspot. Wonderful, bright, and such a great group.
  • Discussed tumblr with Jenna Wortham and Kimberly Drew during the FACETS conference in May. It took a lot to not fangirl Jenna and Kim like crazy. It was an honor to be in conversation with them.
  • Gave a fun lecture at San Jose State University the minute I got back from New York (after FACETS)
  • Absolutely honored about about this past week! I facilitated a panel discussion with filmmakers Cheryl Dunye and Arnetta Smith at Impact Hub Oakland ~ I highly encourage folks to go see the show I co-curated with the incomparable and gems of the Bay, Melonie Green and Melorra Green over at Omi Gallery.
  • I can finally share this news. I’ll be speaking at the Books in Browsers conference on November 4, 2016! You can find my abstract here.

Believe it or not, there are so many more things on my mind that I want to share, but I can’t (yet). Please feel free to contact me with any questions on upcoming events or things you feel I should be paying attention to. Trust me, I’m always down for learning about new people, places, and things.

If you’ve gotten this far, thank YOU. Til next time, which will not be 4 months from now. 🙂

Letting Go

Every morning, I flick at my smartphone screen and read the news. I watch for some of my favorite writers in art, technology, and cultural criticism. I used to marvel at how quickly some of my favorite writers and journalists could produce content in such a prolific manner. But having done that made me spiral into some major neuroses about my writing as well as assuming the impostor syndrome. Sure, I make a fine editor because it’s always easy to critique anyone else’s writing but your own. It’s also easy to say to yourself that you’re never going to meet the same ranks as the writers you admire. So, when I asked myself, “what is a successful writer?” I went way back into my grammar school days.

I remember being in English class when I was growing up and thinking how amazing it was to learn about subjects, predicates, nouns, and conjugating verbs. I think that was in large part due to the fact that I grew up in a household where multiple languages were spoken. To some degree, it helped and would stick with me for a long time. But it was also relatively confusing. How would I communicate in the long run? How would I use language? Over the years, I forgot how passionate I was about learning language until I had to serve as an editor in chief in college and in hindsight, it was probably because I was easy to work with and could be told what to do (and very impressionable).

Overall, after all this time, I think what makes a writer successful is doing one thing – letting go.

You might ask, what do you mean by letting go and this just sounds like so many other self help books and a little too easy? That’s not real advice, you might be saying. But take it however you want. It’s not about resignation, that’s different. When you are resigned, you don’t try, you don’t fight, and you don’t care. Letting go isn’t about having an “IDGAF” attitude either. You must respect yourself as a writer to know what you are passionate about and commit. If you’re the only one on earth that wants to write about the creation of the microprocessor or fascinated by the proliferation of #whatarethose meme, well, write about it. Write to yourself. Write for yourself. As writers, I understand the need for an audience, I mean, let’s face it, readership is important as a writer. But your reader reads your work because they see that you care. Another question you might be asking yourself is, “Okay, let go of what exactly?”

It’s been challenging because I was born and raised in an immigrant family that did not exactly foster my passions in the arts and humanities. When my mother immigrated to San Francisco in 1978, she didn’t exactly know what she was stepping into, but rallied her resources as best as she could and sent me to private school for as long as financially possible. Right away, she saw my love for the arts and language as a little girl. Yet she wanted me to grow up skilled in something practical that would yield me the life that she didn’t have in the Philippines. That being said, your past and upbringing have a lot to do with the way you define success. What you do and how you make your mark have a lot to do with personal histories and experiences and, sometimes, letting go of what you have been told time and time again will result in precarious living, doesn’t hold true when you let go and start living the life you want. It’s challenging, it’s tough, as a writer, but for all of the writers I know and deeply admire, I notice the one thing they did along the way that has led to what I perceive and acknowledge as success is to let go.

Letting go of naysayers, unproductive criticism, feeling like an impostor, perfection, the need to be right, the fear of being wrong, rigid structures that prevent you from growth, toxic people/personalities, habits that prevent you from actually writing.

I’ve said “I wish I just had more time” as well. But don’t we all? You gotta let go of that too. So, what would you do with that extra time? Where is that extra time going? At the end of the day, being a successful writer actually doesn’t mean writing for the biggest news outlets or even writing the best essay, article, or book. Being a successful writer means that you’ve written something you believe in and it can help illuminate something for someone. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to be award winning. But it has to be something you feel the world needs and couldn’t live without because if you don’t write it, it doesn’t exist and if it doesn’t exist, it probably never will. At least not from your perspective, your vision, and your experiences.

Don’t worry about someone misunderstanding or not getting it, that’s actually not a part of being successful. There will always be people that don’t get something because they genuinely don’t get it or because they intentionally don’t want to understand. Remember that it’s not your job to make people understand. It’s your job to think, read, write, and initiate the thoughts of others into thinking deeply about the world around them. You may be the only person writing what you write. Or, you might say that that’s been written before. Whatever the case, write gibberish, write crap, then look at what you write and start over. Writing is the place where you can command language and expand on it however you want. It’s really up to you to do what you want with it. But taking responsibility for the things you write is another aspect of writing that you need to take into account. You can always change your mind. In the long run, it’s also about a nice long conversation with culture itself and how it’s changed and where you want to see it go and how you’re making your mark as well. So, what are you waiting for?

Let go.

Originally posted to Freewrite‘s blog. You can view it here.