A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of co-presenting on a panel with An Xiao Mina and Ben Valentine. Below is my excerpt of the full write up by all three of us published to The Civic Beat! Exciting!! Please feel free to share thoughts and comments. Or feel free to connect with me via Twitter @deedottiedot

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After the wonderful opportunity of co-presenting with Ben Valentine and An Xiao Mina of The Civic Beat, I have to admit, I actually looked up the term “honeymoon period.” The good ole internet actually provided two distinct definitions. Apparently the honeymoon phase for diabetics signals the start of insulin treatment while the Urban Dictionary states, “The three-month maximum period between a person’s entry into a new situation and a person’s complete screwing up of said situation or essential elements of it. This phenomenon is backed by massive amounts of studies in social psychology and even more massive amounts of personal testimony from bitter, angry people.”

The second definition sounds about right. But this reliance on the internet for research needs, a good laugh, and engaging in human rights activism has some disadvantages to it as well. Taking into account the very name of our panel, we tasked ourselves the tough question of whether the internet utopian vision and ideologies of the earlier internet still rang true today. We had three different ways to discuss the question. Not so surprisingly, I answered with a desire to not forget the body and our sensations. From social networking to internet bots to memes, my plea to the audience for the evening was to not forget our sense of self and body in this highly mobile age.

While technology moves at a feverishly rapid pace, we may find ourselves lost even before we figure out the best way to look, research, and obtain exactly what we need. I decided to focus on how new media artists use the internet and mobile technologies that incorporate the body somehow. Whether through augmented reality or applications to actually embodiment of a fictitious or mythical character or creature online, I found myself interested in how new media artists are dismantling such ideologies.

During the presentation, one of the individuals I focused on was new media artist John Craig Freeman. He uses augmented reality in his artistic practice, which is heavily used by advertisers to overlay landscapes and buildings with branding for marketing purposes. But Freeman uses this technology to interrogate the politics of space. Essentially, anyone with a smart phone and the internet can find out about the objective and purpose of each of his interventionist projects.

For the past year, I have examined his piece, Border Memorial: Fronteras de Los Muertos, which enables a viewer to download augmented reality application Layar. Once downloaded, the user has the option of travelling to specific locations, in this case, the US Mexican border, and holding their phone to the landscape. Calacas or skeletons appear on the screen. These serve as markers to specific spots within the landscape where the remains of migrants attempting to cross the border have been found and identified.

Now, I don’t want to end on such a sad note but you’re probably asking yourself why I’m so interested in addressing the original question or problem statement with emphasis on such a tricky concept of embodiment. Quite frankly, the word alone makes me feel like I’m falling into an abyss. But it also reminds me that the internet has a way of making us forget about our bodies and our senses. Rather, it amplifies this need for us to only focus on vision.

Perhaps, my academic research and investment in in real life (IRL), physical activism prompts me to try and strike this unending balancing act. While I straddle the lines of loving and hating the internet, I’m forced to have a relationship with it. So I wonder if there was ever a honeymoon period to begin with? Am I not in the dating phase of still getting to know this rhizomatic entity that continues to excite yet infuriate me? Ha! Sure sounds like one a rewarding relationship and like any relationshipone that takes A LOT of work to understand.

Full write up can be read here.

I can’t believe it has taken me a month to post anything! There has been so much activity to report as well. I had the opportunity to visit the Headlands Center for the Arts with my cohort. It was a great experience seeing the artists studios, meeting Satch Hoyt, and Todos Por La Praxis during our visit. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day. Enjoy!!

Pictured: Overturn the Artifice, a 2013 Commons Curatorial Residency Exhibition, photo by V. Crown
Pictured: Overturn the Artifice, a 2013 Commons Curatorial Residency Exhibition, photo by V. Crown

ATTN: BAY AREA ARTISTS & CURATORS!!

SOMArts Cultural Center is now accepting applications for the Commons Curatorial Residency program!

Artists/curators selected for exhibition funding receive project grants up to $3,000, exhibition space in the SOMArts Main Gallery, installation, technical and event production support, and community engagement/public relations support valued at $23,000.

Want to learn more? RSVP for the first information session, Monday, September 23, 6:30pm. Please click here for further details.

Hello Family and Friends!

I am curating a solo exhibition for musician, composer, and artist David Molina. He is featured in the upcoming issue of Asterisk SF Magazine. The show will be wonderful and it is his first gallery exhibition in San Francisco. With over 17 years of composing, music and instrument making, sound installation work, and theatrical production work, we are extremely happy and excited about his upcoming show. Please read the curatorial statement below and join us on January 17, 2013 from 7-10 pm!!

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musicissue

Join us for our first event of 2013 in celebration of the Music Issue and the opening of Transience: The Work of David Molina. An exhibit on the art of sound.

CURATORIAL STATEMENT
Transience provides a retrospective look at David Molina’s theatrical scores and music compositions as well as his collaborative works with Bay Area artists including Garrett La Fever, Mickey Tachibana, Cause Collective, Susie Valdez, Victor Cartagena, Violeta Luna, Roberto Varea, and Anna Geyer. The exhibition presents existing and new interactive works such as Memory Web, which showcased at the 2012 San Francisco Fine Art Fair. For this particular exhibition, Molina will be presenting his latest interactive work, Rusting Souls, which entailed a deconstructing and reconstructing of the Cimbalom, an instrument originally from eastern Europe.

Spanning Molina’s installation works to a comprehensive discography, Transience assembles a collection of intricately re-imagined instruments, such as Homage to Musee Mecanique: A Game Of Time, The Chimes of Seven Spells, The Broken Heart Sings, a plethora of parts pieced together to create a multifaceted and unique experience of sound.

Hearing has the capacity to command our being by forcing us to listen and understand the world. The imagination works in conjunction with sound allowing us to envision our environment or awaken a long obscured tale. The works in Transience seek to envelop the listener into narratives and a tactile experience of music. With no specific starting point other than the listener, the exhibition emerges as a study of contemporary music making and how stories can be told through beautifully and meticulously strung notes by the artist-musician’s hand. Transience is an examination of how music affects our understanding of personal histories and interactions as well as our perceptions of sound.

– Dorothy Santos, Arts Editor + Curator

Last year was the inaugural Urban Prototyping (UP) Festival, which is a Gray Area Foundation for the Arts initiative. What exactly is urban prototyping? Easy. Watch the video. Not satisfied or don’t have much time to watch the video? Okay, I’ll try to offer a simple, straightforward answer. Urban Prototyping entails gathering artists, technologists, makers, or anyone interested in creating something useful, fun, and engaging for city dwellers as well as visitors and re-imagining the urban environment. From a heart-shaped device capturing your heartbeat and turning it into a musical composition to a street planter using bio filters (yes, urine in this case) to re-purpose waste material, Urban Prototyping re-envisions urban space, landscape, and experience.

On a cool, breezy summer evening, music emanates from the middle of the block on 18th Street, steps away from Dolores Park. The lovely voice of a woman summons, rather easily, others to a delightful space. Stepping inside, there are vibrant and colorful drawings of sweet breads and cakes adorning the walls. The music that lured people in is just as intoxicating as the wine and food served. A songstress taps at an upside-down metal bucket fashioned into a stringed instrument while singing with perfect key and timing. Looking around, the tables are filled with people and food. One of the chefs for the event walks over with sushi wrapped in nori with intricate laser-cut patterning. Sitting down on one of the benches and with possibly the freshest ceviche ever made, it was hard not to feel captivated by the warmth and uniqueness of the space—not your average closing art exhibition. Yet, this is the constant environment and ambiance found at nonprofit organization 18 Reasons.

In 2007, Bi-Rite Market took over the space formerly known as Blue Space from founders Cliff Leonardi and Dan DiPasquo. Paying homage to the iconic San Francisco 17 Reasons sign that served as a part of the Mission District skyscape, Bi-Rite decided to rename the event and gallery space to 18 Reasons after its new home on 18th Street. Despite the bustling surroundings and wide array of eateries in the area, 18 Reasons unites an undeniable combination of art, community, and food. With the objective of creating community through food and art, the programming literally and figuratively caters to the diverse San Francisco community.

The multifaceted approach toward community engagement requires programming and interfacing with the public in ways that offer new perspectives to the community through the arts. Eighteen Reasons offers not only an exploration of food and cooking, but also a multitude of approaches that touch upon more complex issues. Art serves as a great vehicle for broaching real-world problems in relation to consumption and our overall relationship to food. Regarding the greater curatorial practice, 18 Reasons curator Casey Carroll elaborates on her vision of the space as a gallery: “Beyond encouraging pleasure and a deeper appreciation of food and those that produce it (both the environment and our farmers), my vision is to push the envelope and encourage open dialogue that addresses some of the rougher sides of food: commodification, labor infringements, animal abuse, poor nutrition, hunger, and beyond.” Carroll adds that “each art show is tailored to the individual artist and the concept or vision that guides their work. What sets our programming and curating at 18 Reasons apart is that the art on the walls never stands alone. The programming that surrounds each display showcases its interconnection and interdependence with the culinary arts and social practice.”

Lastly, the art programming at 18 Reasons entails the Bathroom Residency. Yes, it is exactly what you think. The yearlong artist residency allows for an artist to create artworks for the 18 Reasons restroom. Believe it or not, this takes an incredible amount of innovation and strategic thinking around how to utilize the space. Granted, many restrooms have some sort of decorative artworks, but these residents make using the space an unforgettable experience. Carroll describes the Bathroom Residency as “the second piece in a long-term project entitled The Residencies, which launched in 2009 during Julie Kahn’s stay at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Julie decided to take over our bathroom for the year and install amazing works of art that ranged from Eucalyptus branches springing out of the wall to laser-cut nori. Julie wanted to stay true to our roots and make the residency feel seasonal, which is why each artist has four different installations over the course of the year.”

Originally posted to Asterisk SF Magazine + Gallery site, please view here