Dan Paz



Critical Race Studies

Curriculum Vitae


Dan Paz is an artist and educator who explores the labor of imaging production to query the ability of documentary processes to be manipulated-to be multiplied and replicated, stopped and started, rewound and advanced-Paz works within the impossibilities of absolute replication to question the very ability of the image to truly represent.

Using vernacular image production, the work brings a critical and aesthetic lens to the architecture of space, demonstrating how foundational techniques of image-making are inextricable from the environmental politics of racialized subject-making. In addition to questioning traditional representational modalities, Paz uses an expanded approach to imaging through mimicry and fidelity in cast and sculptural objects. Since 2018, Paz has worked on “The sun never knew how great it was until it struck the side of a building.” This interdisciplinary project explores the conditions of youth incarceration, architecture, and grassroots activism. Motivated by familial relationships to incarceration, the project builds a genealogy of how power articulates itself through image production and access to information. Paz continues to research captivity and the com modification of bodies to further understand, through emergent technologies, how light and shadow are used as a mechanism of power inside and outside the carceral state.

Paz’s work has been in international and national exhibitions and screenings, to name a few Fabrica de Arte Cubano, Havana Cuba; I’m with you at Hayward Gallery London, UK; 4th International Video-Art Festival in Camaguey, Cuba; Band of Outsiders curated by Catherine Sullivan at CAA Media Lab in NY, NY; Immigrant/Emigrant at Angels Gate Cultural Center curated by Lara Bullock in San Pedro, CA; Lee Center for the Arts, Seattle University and Holding Contemporary in Portland, OR; Summoning a New Queer Reality at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Illinois; Making Chances, curated by Lorelei Stewart and John Neff, Gallery 400; In a Brown Paper Wrapper at Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, Politics and Culture at The University of Chicago; The Great Refusal: Videos on New Queer Aesthetics at The Gene Siskel Film Center; Solo exhibitions include: Vachon Gallery at Lee Center for the Arts with Seattle University; Holding Contemporary Gallery in Portland, OR; Ditch Project in Springfield, OR; Roots and Culture Contemporary Art Space and The Franklin in Chicago, IL. In 2015, Paz co-created and hosted the symposium and exhibitions Arte no es Facil at the 12th Havana Biennial. Dan currently works with Holding Contemporary Gallery in Portland, OR.

Course List


STA 384 Experiments in Digital Video: Mobility, Visability, and the Other
Fall 2021
This time-based studio course focuses on contemporary forms of documentary practice to analyze representations of stillness and movement as it affects marginalized communities in the West. Beginning with close analysis of indigenous mark-making in the USWest to think through archival storytelling Mobility, Visibility, and the Other will explore analog and digital forms of sequencing through slow animation and video. Through material exploration, students will be introduced to cultural and creative practices that parse out indigeneity, migration, race, gender, and ethnic lineage to make thaumatropes, 2D animations, continuous/stop-motion, performance, and video that reflect upon their own relationships to embodied history. Students will be required to attend art exhibitions, poetry readings, lectures, and cultural events that include relevant themes.

STA 491 Sec. 001 Studio Seminar in Critical Race Studies: The sun never knew The sun never knew
Spring 2022
The sun never knew The sun never knew takes its name from an ongoing project of Artist-in-Residence Dan Paz. In conjunction with the project and exhibition, this seminar/ studio course will collaboratively trace the architecture of municipal power to better understand the perpetuity of incarceration as it relates to aesthetics. At the intersection of art praxis and research the course will use mapping technologies, photogrammetry and scanning processes, lens-based media, and sculpture. The course will look at carceral legislation and support of incarceration (youth and adult) in Michigan, historically linking how incarceration has impacted communities of color and LGBTOIA+ populations. Investigations will take inspiration from influential abolitionist and feminist scholarship alongside current analysis in critical race studies and methods of transformative justice. We will engage the work of Angela Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Robin DG Kelley, Dylan Rodriguez, Ofelia Cuevas, Mariame Kabe and more to think through the everyday practice of knowing more and doing more for our communities to make trouble, and combat systemic, structural racism.

University News

New Critic-in-Residency Program at MSU Amplifies MFA Student Work
Published March 14, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
The Department of Art, Art History, and Design (AAHD) has created a new Critic-in-Residency program to enhance discourse around the work of graduating MFA students. The program’s first resident,…Read now »
Critical Race Studies Artist-in-Residence Program Enters Its Fifth Year
Published September 29, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
MSU’s College of Arts & Letters’ Critical Race Studies Artist-in-Residence program is bringing two dynamic artists to campus for the 2021-2022 academic year to enrich the…Read now »
College Welcomes 27 New Faculty and Staff Members
Published September 7, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
This semester, the College of Arts & Letters is pleased to welcome 27 new faculty and staff members. Please join us in welcoming these newest faculty and staff members to the College. Read now »