A friend of ours is doing this and we support it. Rock on. Here’s the manifesto:
Dear Performance Art communities in Brooklyn and beyond;
We are pleased to announce that an International Performance Art Festival has been scheduled for July 4-28, 2013.
This festival will be a collaborative performance.
Although there is a small core team of individuals lighting the big pink match in this room full of gas, this small team is serving primarily as liaisons and facilitators of information sharing. Roles of “curator” “artist” “gallery director” “festival administrator” will be shifted and often obliterated in favor of practical interpersonal organization and skill-based leadership structures.
In order to participate in the festival, please collaborate performatively, starting now. There are no fees to apply, no application or curatorial proposal procedures (though there may be various calls for proposals later on), and no institutional funding (though we so far haven’t put a moratorium on accepting such a thing).
To begin, use the wiki at http://www.bipaf.net/bipafwiki. On Facebook, there is a page, http://www.facebook.com/BrooklynInternationalPerformanceArtFestival. You can also use the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org, etc to express interest, share ideas, make general proposals and offer resources, to request access to the calendar and documents, also to set up one-on-one meetings with individuals with areas of expertise if you prefer private contact to public forum. Perhaps we are all just getting used to these digitized forms of inter-netted communication, but we have already seen how these performative, online/digital/crowd-sourced forms of organization can operate to enormous political and social effect.
Outside of our online networks, public meetings to specifically address forms of communication and organization for BIPAF are scheduled bi-monthly. The next meeting is SUNDAY, January 20, 2013 at 3pm at104 Meserole Street, Brooklyn, 11206. This meeting will be on livestream for International participation (chat feature will be on) at: http://www.livestream.com/BIPAF.
BIPAF currently has a number of confirmed spaces and a network of organizing artists, around 150, from all over the world. This core can comprise a tiny festival if necessary, voila. However, the size and scope of the festival will be up to all of us so that it can live up to its presumptuous title. At the last meeting (November 2012) we confirmed a plan to schedule non-competitively, so that only one live event is happening at any given time as part of the festival. This will help us communicate with participants and audiences alike and keep the project manageable. We also set a soft deadline for spaces, artists, and curators to confirm information for a press release to be sent out February 1 (upload to the wiki), and a hard deadline for the festival website and catalog: May 1, 2013.
BUT WHY ARE WE DOING IT LIKE THIS?
Performance artists have long been dealing with their own situation and the overarching contexts in which their work exists. Our deeper levels of consideration regarding social interaction/interface are catalyzing new performance movements all over the world, while art world structures (let alone other social and economic structures) remain largely impenetrable and disinterested in anything other than “art-products.” Meta-organization of BIPAF is framed as a collaborative performance work involving social forms, economic systems, relational disciplines, and conceptual practices to engage with the actual performance work being done; BIPAF’s “performative fluxstructure” gives us all the opportunity to collectively (+ live) construct situations that follow our ideas and practices all the way through, as we are able to creatively consider the implications of everything we do, from exhibition form through documentation, through funding, through critical analysis. Slow, money poor but resource-rich, communal yet dependent on leadership acts, BIPAF will be exactly what you make it out to be, and nothing more.
Unfortunately, at this time, many social situations experienced by artists, curators, arts administrators, and others involved in the “arts sphere” (including lack of economic safety, absence of emotional and psychological support, constant co-competitively, etc) often produce in us a kind of demented desperation for recognition and opportunity. The emails already received, asking for opportunities to perform, reveal the top-down structures that these types of grassroots festivals usually have. This festival is NOT A BUSINESS-OF-ART “OPPORTUNITY,” it is a collaborative performance; the performance is the organization and realization of the festival. Thus, we suggest the first (and only?) rule of the Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival is actually a plea to ALL PARTICIPANTS TO PLEASE PARTICIPATE. Go ahead, start organizing an exhibition, making work, start planning to be in Brooklyn in July 2013.
First step is the wiki. Visit it when you have a moment and make a page titled your own name/space/collective/etc; include bio, external links, embed video etc. If you are organizing an exhibition, let other artists know what its concept is and if you want artists with appropriate work to reach out to you. Feel free to link to other individuals who are part of your current community, and make discussion topics. Please also ask for help if you have never written a curatorial proposal or self-organized before. Ask for help with writing a permit for use of a public space if you have never done that before. Offer your assistance if you have experience with these types of things or anything you feel is helpful. Perhaps you have a couch where an International artist can stay? Or access to zipcar for transport of materials/artists? Do you have gallery representation, work for an arts nonprofit, or have other affiliations with an institution or organization to involve? Start an indiegogo campaign to raise fees for artists and curators if you or your parents have wealthy friends…you don’t have to do it all, just pick one thing to focus on, and these are just a few suggestions, your ideas are probably much better. The more your ideas construct and are constructed by the form of this project, the better, as we are all collaborating on the performance of this festival.
Let’s try to use this festival context to propose and perform ways of relating within Brooklyn and International artist communities at large.
This letter is walking a fine line between the attempt to de-hierarchize the festival ‘format’ by involving and implicating all members of “performance art communities” and the attempt to communicate the somewhat firm dictation of an ideological perspective that is currently fueling the festival, including the ethical framework that it hopefully initiates through social, public performance across “levels” and aspects of the festival.
No matter what we end up with, BIPAF will be an explosion of rigorous, exceptional, rapturous Performance Art (Visual Arts Performance? Live Art? Action Art?) in Brooklyn over a time-period of one month, July 2013. During this month, our practices and disciplines will be treated with respect, framed as “valuable” parts of society because we, the evaluators, are acting as social agents. Whether our value demonstrated scientifically, politically, economically, socially, spiritually, and/or otherwise, we must perform our own theories regarding performance art’s public operations.
Thank you for reading this very long letter. We have thus far described BIPAF as “slow,” this often means long letters that take a while to read, so thank you for your patience and commitment already.
-BIPAF (the idea)