It’s been some time since I’ve posted!

Work and finishing up the first semester of grad school had me pretty busy but as the subject line of this post clearly states, I have no resolution for posting or updating. I’m hoping to share great stuff along the way because incredibly phenomenal folks (i.e., professors, classmates, artists, and friends) have shared knowledge and mind-blowing projects. I’ve done a disservice to myself for not making more of an effort to catalog all this great stuff.

So, maybe this is a bit of a resolution, eh?! In any case, Happy New Year and cheers to you, your goals, and aspirations for 2013!!

Arts Blogger Challenge Question:

New York has long been considered the cultural capital of America. Is it still? If not, where?

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Screen shot from the site, Envisioning Technology (ET), which led by emerging technology strategist, Michell Zappa

Please click on the image above to visit Envisioning Technology

The San Francisco Bay Area can easily serve as a contender. Its moniker as the Golden State takes on an entirely different meaning when it comes to both monetary and cultural capital. But New York City boasts of a million more opportunities for those interested in corporate life or a fruitful creative existence. The long withstanding tribal aspect of the New York City art community is, virtually and literally, incomparable. Quite honestly, I don’t believe a culture capital exists in America. Period. Globalization eradicates this concept of one physical place serving as the lone beacon for cultural sustenance. Being a San Francisco native, I was almost fooled into thinking and arguing the point that my home state and city would be the newest place for culture consumption. Then, I started to realize something, much of what we collectively do occurs on screens and mobile devices. Silicon Valley is a great example of this. The name alone refers to physical stretch of the Bay Area landscape where innovation occurs but it’s only a name, a signifier. Bottom line: The cultural capital of America is not a physical place. It is a virtual place where people take part and realize ideas at the intersections of arts and technology and social media, which occur all over the world.

From forums to blogs to open source systems such as Processing, one of the clear manifestations of arts and technology occurs through a constant exchange of programming language on a global scale. Recently, The Creators Project organized an arts and technology festival in San Francisco showcasing the work of artist-technologists based in the Bay Area. The highlight of the weekend was sitting in on artist talk and drawing workshop led by UCLA professor Casey Reas, co-creator of Processing. His talk included a brief history of artists that, similarly to Reas, took language and created art through innovation and unorthodox methods. The drawing workshop was especially eye-opening. The exercises included a set of instructions that asked the participants to draw what they read (totally reminded me of Sol LeWitt whom Reas mentioned during his artist talk AND John Balderssari’s teaching methods). The hybrid artist-technologist innovates and affects change at a rapid rate. With open source programming playing an integral role into the way people are using tools of technology for function, critical thinking, and art creation, virtual spaces like github and Processing forums serve as the new cultural capitals.

If arts and technology serves as the intersection of a culture capital, social media is the seemingly colossal skyscraper where rapid information exchange occurs. Twitter, tumblr, Facebook, Google+, and the like all allow for copious information and data consumption. It is where we find out about our world (whether we like it or not). People are more likely to find out about a high magnitude earthquake (or a friend’s bagel preferences) than on syndicated news channels and sites. Social media culls, most if not, all the information that interests us. The need to know has quite the narcotic effect. Nevertheless, it’s one of the, if not the primary, ways we stay connected. Again, there is no one place where a cultural capital exists. Although places like New York and San Francisco captivate the minds and hearts of many business folks, entrepreneurs, and creative types, it becomes clear that the existence of a physical culture capital is diminishing with our lives driven so heavily by what we witness on screens and what is, literally, at our fingertips.

Please visit the 2012 Great Arts Blogger Challenge and vote for ‘Dorothy Santos’ here.

Chia Obama

I couldn’t resist. Yes, this post is about the Chia Pet (random, I know). For the holiday season, the company has made a Chia Pet out of the President. Quite frankly I’ve always wanted one just because it’s such a novel way of getting into horticulture. Okay, so that’s not exactly true but the prospect of plant and sculpture all-in-one is pretty neat. A bonsai tree is so much work but that’s the plant I really want!

Anyway, the commercial served as a reminder to relax. I need more funny stuff to break up all the reading and writing. Laughing is good. I was reading this when I heard the all-too-familiar Chia commercial music while watching the morning news. I’m sure you want to hear about information societies, consumption, and production in the morning and NOT my musing on the latest Chia. 😉

Christine Wong Yap, Give Thanks (2011)

I am thankful for…

  • My mother’s sassiness, understanding, forgiving nature, generous heart, and keen awareness of exactly when I’m not telling the truth
  • My father’s spirit, twisted sense of humor, warrior soul (Rest in Peace, wherever you are)
  • My family and friends
  • All the artists, musicians, philosophers, scientists, and everyone in the world for inspiring me

To help celebrate the weekend of giving thanks, take a look at Christine Wong Yap’s latest work, Give Thanks (2011), showing in the UK. I’m incredibly thankful for her. She is one of the reasons why I write. I’m definitely grateful for her guidance and being an incredible art hero!!

More criticism, less support…

In the past couple of years, I’ve found myself working with some really extraordinary writers, thinkers, and artists. They challenge what I say, what I think, and how I write. I must say, I went looking for these people. If one wants to be great, one ought to look for the people doing and creating phenomenal things as well as illuminating the public. Struggle, uncertainty, and failure is imperative. Yet, do Bay Area artists struggle to excel? Is it true Bay Area (San Francisco)? Do you tell people they look great in a dress when they look more like a pug wrapped in saran wrap?

Too much of something can become bad. Excess of anything is probably not a good idea in the long-term. I was having a conversation with a friend about the Bay Area and how many tools (across disciplines) for creative types to innovate and create some phenomenal work (whether it be writing, artwork, or music) is quite abundant. Yet, the Bay Area suffers from an abundance of, are you ready (wait for it) – support (or, coddling). Although support is a great thing, it can be debilitating.

Does bad art exist? Yes!

I want to believe everything made on this earth is inherently good and possesses value (because that’s the optimist and the art lover in me). Yet, for an artwork to truly captivate and take me on some ridiculous intellectual and/or psychological ride coupled with tremendous mind-blowing epiphanies, innovation and something reflective needs to exist. Do I experience that feeling? Truth be told, not so much.

We can bust on the Tiger Mom all we want but at the end of the day her kids can sight read music and excel in school while college students across the US struggle to write a basic essay. My point: We need more critical discussion and discourse. AND, for goodness sake, stop telling people their art work is strong and awesome if it isn’t. Improve it by discussing WHY it is strong or weak. Don’t just say something is amazing, derivative (lame), poorly executed, or just plain sh*t. DISCUSS and make people deliver on their intent.

We can all learn a little something from Statler and Waldorf… 🙂

Bumper Sticker in an SF Parking Garage

My apologies for the poor resolution and clarity on these photos. I took them using my phone. Typically, I have a steady hand but I was in a hurry (especially taking the bumper sticker shot) and someone was waiting to use the restroom at the café.

I had to post these photos because it reminded me of the alternative ways to communicate with people. Granted, you have a limited audience but these forms of communication will be around for some time (even in this technology-laden age). The bumper sticker and bathroom walls remain a constant source of entertainment and contemplation. I wonder why bathroom walls or bumper stickers are way more interesting to read than virtual interactions? Let’s face it, people post incredibly inane stuff online. I know you’re with me on this one. 😉

Bathroom Scribblings