Doris Cacoilo is an artist, activist, curator and educator. She is the director of _gaia an artist collective working to help support women artists and the advocacy of women's issues. She founded _gaia in 2002 with long time friend and fellow activist Amie Figueiredo. _gaia focuses on art and advocacy and gives the women of the group a platform by which to explore activism and the creative process. With the organization, Doris has developed programs and events focused on the social, political and artistic lives of women. She co-curated the group artist shows INside and Instant Gratification, showcasing the work of 30 artists, helped produce the P.S.1 WACK! Open Studio Artists Tour and has organized the Wonder Women Residency program, an annual group artist residency and exhibition - most recently exhibited at ABC No Rio in NYC.
Doris has an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College and has been teaching at Hunter College and New Jersey City University. She is teaching to learn and learning to teach, freelancing with her various talents, designing, lecturing, conducting workshops and curating - always experimenting at the intersection of social advocacy, media and art. To date she is finding happiness at every turn and using the challenges of the current economy to make better work and play harder. Her screen-based work, sculpture and performances have been exhibited in NY and NJ.
My work emerges from an interest in systems: systems of creative practice and activism, systems of collaboration, and systems of power. In my screen-based work, performance, and sculpture, I explore issues of consumption, gender, labor and traditional power hierarchies. In many of my projects I involve interactive elements, objects, games and toys to allow the audience to arrive at the work from many different points of view, and at once open a dialogue which might be much more critical than the work might have led one to expect. Utilizing the power of humor and the everyday to attract viewer/participants who might otherwise disengage or turn away, I attempt to engage the public with work that can create a place for recognition and reflection of various types of systems.
I work to create new methods for the personal act of art and media making and to develop new creative spaces by researching the process of art making itself: both the process of creation, and the critical dialogue surrounding the work. This interest has led me to frequently work with collectives or in collaborations. From curation to public intervention work, my goal is to invent novel systems of order and authority and create a platform on which the participants can stand and engage in a new dialogue shaped less by preconceived notions of the "creative genius" and more on an acute attention to the process and environment of art-making as a social act. The societal norms that determine our cultural icons, the economic value assigned to the creative act, the process and value of education, and the reward system of the art world are inverted by the alternative models for these systems I create. Just as activism finds power in recruitment, I believe creative action can also find power in numbers. In customizing our own systems for discussion, critique and representation, artists can reinvent the establishment that may not readily include a space for them.