All posts tagged: Gatekeepers

Challenging Silence: Making Space for Survivors in the Arts

Social stigmas and victim-blaming make finding a place where you can feel validated and supported an important part of the healing process when you are a survivor of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or domestic violence. Everyone heals differently and some people find healing through the arts because it allows them to reclaim their stories and find a community. Yet, the arts community, as much as the rest of society, can harbor its own biases against hearing the narratives of survivors. Artists who are accused of assault or other forms of abuse may be fervently defended because their work is valued more than the safety of the survivor. The artistic work of survivors, the majority of which are women, may be dismissed because of its content. In addition to professional barriers for artists who are survivors, there might also be challenges in terms of safety – publicity for an event that advertises a survivor’s whereabouts might be the last thing that they want. Luckily, there are spaces and venues that are respectful of survivor’s needs and …

Inferno, Purgatory, or Paradise: An Interview with Sabina Ott

I call Sabina Ott “my eyes and ears to the Chicago art scene.” Her endless ability to wow with her art, which was on view from August 30 to January 4 in the huge-scale “here and there pink melon joy” at the Chicago Cultural Center, is matched by her commitment to present and support artists. She is intellectually and materially ambitious, and over the years I’ve developed a deeper understanding of her sensibility. Profoundly influenced by her mother, her work as an artist, teacher, and presenter is informed by a feminist ethic and explores the complicated, and at times ecstatic, space of transformation. Melissa Potter: What inspired you to become an artist?  I know your mother was a big influence on your work. Sabina Ott: I was always aware of my position as a woman artist—even if my response to cultural bias against women was sometimes confused. As a child, I wanted to have what I now call the privilege of the authoritative I: the privilege to access my subjectivity with the freedom that men seemed …

Gettin’ Down With The Underground

“..this impulse of artists building spaces and communities for themselves and struggling with the relevancy of their discipline to a broader public has a long history.”—Abigail Satinsky, Introduction to Support Networks “Meaning becomes compensated through its connection to an infrastructure. The infrastructure provides a chorus of intentions that facilitate a more robust interpretive model.”—Nato Thompson, “Contributions to a Resistant Visual Culture Glossary,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest In the above quotes from Support Networks, editor Abigail Satinksy and contributor Nato Thompson extol the legacy of DIY creative collectivity and resourcefulness. There’s an old saying that “necessity is the mother of invention.” In the spirit of that adage, I chose to have a conversation with three leaders in Chicago’s bustling experimental performance scene, each of whom has made their own way, their own way. Marie Casimir is the Associate Director of Links Hall, Latham Zearfoss is the co-producer of Chances Dances, and Kevin Simmons is the Founder and Acting Executive Director of High Concept Laboratories. I offer the following article as proof that the title …

Art without Artists: Against the Artist CEO

It is not enough to suppress the adversary if you do not erase her memory and her ability to organize an alternative project… In the face of this strategy, we can understand that the three primary functions of the testimonies are to accuse the executioners, to record the sufferings and the epics, to inspire the other combatants in the middle of retreat. A fourth function…is to carry out a rational analysis of the problems and the reversals that are being suffered… Above all, to accuse. Ariel Dorfman, “Political Code and Literary Code”   It’s a familiar experience to many of us in the arts. We receive a notification from Linkedln, informing us that someone in our network that has become a CEO. We are asked to click. Click Click. “Owner, Founder, CEO of XYZ Artistic Corporation.” Another reminder of how deep, how layered our loyalty to neoliberal capitalism has become. Is this supposed to be cute, pathetic or cruel? BFAMFAPHD and others already made it clear that MFAs are fundamentally objectionable and questionable degrees—we’re here …

We Just Wanna Make Crazy Weird Stuff!

  Carlos Matallana is a Bogotá-born and Chicago-based visual artist, a teacher, and a New Tech Curriculum developer. He has taught graphic design, web design, and comics in different after-school programs around Chicago since 2005. Currently he is working in his comic book Manual of Violence, which will be released by Mid 2015 http://manualofviolence.org/

Battle for Independents at PBS

On December 18, I was invited to attend a live-feed viewing of the National Black Programming Consortium’s panel on Digital Diversity. The conversation was framed around the upcoming application for serial projects about the Black experience, but I was there to glean some knowledge and to listen to Maria Hinojosa, host of Latino USA and founder of Futuro Media. I was welcomed into the group because of my affiliation with Diverse Voices in Docs. I ran into Gordon Quinn and Becki Stocchetti of Kartemquin Films, who were also accepting applications for the third round of DVID. Tony Williams, director of Carbonerdious: Rise of the Black Nerd, and I were there to represent the inaugural class. Jeff Baraka and Noel Occomy were there on behalf of the Year Two Fellows. WTTW hosted us, and we had time to do a round of introductions before the panel started. Gordon used the opportunity to talk about a decision that was making waves among indie filmmakers, especially the newly-formed Indie Caucus. “The Indie Caucus had come into existence before …