analog dissident

Address: 435 S. Boadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Contact: Jimena Sarno
Open Hours: Monthly gathering, second or third Sunday of every month, 6:00 – 10:00.
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How is the project operated?
analog dissident is artist-run by Jimena Sarno. It functions as a monthly discussion group aimed at queer/radical/feminist/politically inclined artists to engage critically outside of traditional art institutions, gallery openings, and most importantly, outside of social media.

How long has it been in existence?
analog dissident started in December 2014.

What was your motivation?
The reality of underrepresented people of color and those without the white, male, straight, gender-conforming privileges within the traditional art institutions. A series of gatherings and conversations were attempted locally without any significant results/changes, around lack of diversity—in particular, the absence of people of color in local art shows and art institutions. A need for unmediated, real-world, meaningful interactions between artists, as the majority of interactions are limited to either virtual nods of approval within social media or a few minutes at art events and openings. Additionally, the lack of spaces where artists can discuss their work and engage critically with their peers without the pressures of the art world/market. If such a space doesn’t exist, my intention is to invite my community to create it.

Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
Jimena Sarno.

How are programs funded?
analog dissident operates without funding. It is free and happens at Jimena Sarno’s studio, a space in an old building in Downtown LA shared by 4 artists. A projector, sound equipment, a couch and a few chairs are provided and we run on wine, snacks and critical dialog.

Who is responsible for the programming?
Jimena Sarno curates the programming

Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
analog dissident happens every third Sunday of the month, from 6 to 10 pm.

What kind of events are usually organized?
analog dissident is a non-hierarchical discussion group for artists and curators, featuring two guest artists in an informal, open studio visit. Guest artists are encouraged to bring work in progress or work that is being completed for a specific exhibition. The gathering, promoted mostly through local artist networks and word-of-mouth happens monthly at Jimena Sarno’s studio and everyone is encouraged to participate in the dialog.

Besides analog dissident, I organize resident alien, a free, short-term, project specific, need-based residency, for local and visiting artists. People of color, refugees, first generation immigrants, undocuqueers, future art students, recently graduated and low income artists are encouraged to apply. Resident artists have access to a room in the studio for a month. At the end of the residency, artists can show their work in the space.

Additionally, I’m organizing a group show in August to say goodbye to our current location. I am hoping to continue to organize shows in the future.

How is your programming determined?
I have approached artists I know, artists that I have met at open studios and artist talks, and artists I admire. Most artists have practices and work that expand beyond the gallery constraints and all of them have some degree of political investment. Artists get paired by commonality of interests, subject matter, medium or approach to art making.

Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Anyone that attends analog dissident can present work. The format has proved to be useful for artists to gather their thoughts and test their ideas as they get ready to complete or show new work.

What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
I prioritize female/gender non-conforming, people of color, feminists and queers whose work is politically inclined. In other words, those who are underrepresented by the mainstream and traditional art institutions.

What’s working? What’s not working?
What’s working: New friendships and artistic collaborations have been the most productive and rewarding part of analog.

What’s not working: displacement. We must leave our studio at the end of the Summer because downtown LA “rehabilitation and development“ plans do not include low income artists. analog dissident will continue its monthly gatherings at a different location.

What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
I believe in principles of reciprocity. My goals as an artist include producing work in a sustainable way, as well as promoting horizontal, autonomous spaces for productive dialog and collaboration among artists, sharing resources and advocating alternatives to predominant models of circulation and exchange. I hope to encourage critical thinking both around art and politics while promoting ways to actively participate and contribute within our community. Making things happen gives everyone agency to effect change even in the most infinitesimal way, creating spaces and interactions where we are seen and heard independently from established power structures. Two queer women of color showing and discussing their political work in the historic core of downtown Los Angeles on a Sunday evening, we can all use more of that.

What idea are you most excited about for the future?
Securing a place to continue to have monthly gatherings, a need-based residency program, and expand it into an exhibition space to host regular shows and events with invited curators and artist proposals. analog dissident says: The world is on fire, let’s gather!



Images courtesy of analog dissident. Photo: Jimena Sarno

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