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.

What Holiday Lull?

dontgetstuck

#mood (seriously) around my writing. The editing and curating has been pretty awesome this past year. But writing…sometimes, I suffer from severe writer’s block and I have my days where I feel stuck. It happens. Hoping you’re not feeling this way. I haven’t been great at keeping folks up to date on my blog, but will be pulling something together for the holidays.

 

American Gun Show featured in KQED’s Fall Arts Preview 2015

AmGunShow_FallArts

“Liberator by Cody Wilson, printed by James Morgan.” medium: 3d print ABS, 2013

(Photo courtesy of the artist.)

Cherri Lakey for KQED writes, “Curators James Morgan and Dorothy Santos have put together an impressive exhibition of 22 artists from the U.S. and abroad to visually weigh in on the hot button topic of guns and all the territory that comes with it.” Please read the rest here.

The American Gun Show

Call to Artists: American Gun Show

Open call for artwork:

Few technologies have had the impact on civilization that the gun has had. With a storied history of a millennium and having been woven into American culture, it is not surprising that it is as contentious as it is empowering.

Dorothy Santos and James Morgan are bringing together a series of works across media that consider all sides of this technology. From the historic use in war to the representations in photography, painting and film, we are also interested in the object as it represents an intersection of functional design and technology. We want to look backwards and forwards and seek works that express a viewpoint related to guns and/or the second amendment.

We are particularly interested in the reflections of underrepresented and underserved communities regarding the place of the gun in the United States. Our expectation is that these views are not often reflected in the public and mainstream media.

Our intuition tells us that there are more than two sides of this story, that there is a relationship between queer, trans* and other communities to guns.

We want to tell that story.

The show will take place from October to November of 2015 in San José, California. We are particularly interested in media based projects and visual responses to the topic.

Please respond via email with links to appropriate work to either ags@factorynoir.com or dorothy.r.santos@gmail.com before August 21 for full consideration.

Curatorial Statement

The gun is a thousand year old technology changed by contemporary prototyping and communication processes. The American Gun Show looks at cultural responses in the context of personal liberty at the intersection of our identity, as Americans, and relationship to the network and print-on-demand technologies. Cody Wilson designed a 3D printable single shot pistol in 2013 which he posted as a computer file online for the public. Within days the U.S. State Department demanded that the files be taken down. This dispute marks a significant event in both legal and technological history – the collision of the first and second amendments of the US Constitution. Free speech and personal liberty become central themes to The American Gun Show.

This exhibition is about the artists’ response to guns and, to a lesser extent, the design and aesthetics of the machine itself. The art and technology of guns as an objective focus for this exhibition has been a challenging one to meet, but the much needed dialogue around an object rife with cultural, social, and political meaning warrants examination through a multi-faceted lens. This show is an exploration of the American psyche and history steeped by gun violence. What is the political will of the American public to address the issues related this advanced form of weaponry? As curators, we explored artists, artistic practices, and expressions that can offer a form of neutrality or balanced perspectives on the issue of gun creation and control.

We understand and expect a wide array of reactions to the content and nature of the exhibition. To that end, people will find some of the work offensive or antagonist to either side of the debate. But we ask visitors to consider the work that resonates with them may have the same or different effect on another viewer. The American Gun Show is not anti-gun or pro-gun. Rather, the show seeks to drive more of a census on what can bring opposing viewpoints stemming from the existence of this object as a point of departure for effective legislation while respecting the rights of American citizens.