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Wilson, Stephen

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Art has many functions. I believe that one of the most important is its role as a cultural sentinel. I am drawn to those aspects of art that try to sense nascent trends, forecast future developments and expose unrecognized aspects of dominant paradigms. I am drawn to iconoclasm and heterodoxy. A non-stagnant culture desperately needs volunteers to patrol its frontiers, move against convention, and share what they discover in compelling ways. I am a refugee to the arts. Although I worked with experimental underground film as an undergraduate I went on to get a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary social sciences from the University of Chicago. I worked for 10 years as a professor, researcher and action anthropologist trying to improve public schools. At the end of that time I came to feel that ironically the most profound cultural change may come not from frontal political or academic assault but rather more subtly from changes in consciousness wrought by the arts and media. I went back to my first love and got an MFA from the School of the Art Institute. I gravitated to areas of the arts that searched out zones of cultural foment and that were willing to invent new forms and art contexts.

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