OE Perspectives: Dana Bassett

In an effort to further the conversations that occurred during the conference and share with a wider audience, we are initiating the platform OE Perspectives—first person reflections on OE 2016 provided from a select number of entrusted colleagues and friends of OE.


It behooves every man to remember that the work of the critic is of altogether secondary importance, and that, in the end, progress is accomplished by the man who does things.

– Theodore Roosevelt

Wherever we land, we have to continue to move.

Angela Davis at Open Engagement POWER 2016

If nothing else, Open Engagement 2016 was a meditation on POWER, wielded both internally and externally in relationship to the conference (and it’s situation in and outside of the Oakland Museum of California). Opinions, one demonstration of power, were (and continue to be) available in abundance. As a matter of fact, you’ll find some of them in the upcoming Bad at Sports interviews I helped to create in and around OE.

Was it Frasier who once said “everyone’s a critic”? Ok, maybe not. But it definitely was Barbra Streisand who said, “I wish I could be like [Bernard] Shaw who once read a bad review of one of his plays, called the critic and said: ‘I have your review in front of me and soon it will be behind me.’” 

So in consideration of my own power, I’d rather take the opportunity to offer some visual meditations on the mediations and permutations of POWER throughout Open Engagement. And everyday, right? Power’s not just an OE thing.

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About the contributor: Dana Bassett is an aspiring gossip queen from Miami, FL living in Logan Square. She writes a regular column Bad at Sports called “What’s the T?” and occasionally produces printed newspapers in collaboration with artists and friends.