Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival Scheduled (BIPAF)

The first ever Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival Scheduled (BIPAF) has been scheduled for July 4-28, 2012. 

Born out of attempts at small-group collective curation, including the Compendium’s 2012 events at Vaudeville Park and the Center for Performance Research, the Artist Almanac’s Sunday community meetings, + experience with many forms and functions for festivals in New York City (SITE, Maximum Perception, ITINERANT, LUMEN, PERFORMA, conference-exhibitions constructed by Creative Capital, Flux Factory, Exit Art, PPL, and many other organizations and collectives)  participation in MPA-B (Month of Performance Art Berlin) in May, BIPAF will be a collective performance in and of itself, researching de-hierarchized curation and organizational structures through its disciplined practice of becoming. It will also seek new ways of exhibiting, presenting, and valuing Performance Art.

BIPAF is a response to an increasing need for exposure for Performance Artists in the big apple and a “movement” emerging primarily outside of Manhattan; many artists with full-time practices in Performance Art find their actual work and concerns quite out-of-sync with community and capital-based structures alike, let alone industrialized modes of art market production and consumption.

BIPAF will attempt to provide a platform for Performance Art that uses body-based, post-product, conceptual, action-based, fluxist, feminist, and live arts frameworks and genealogies to construct  forms, actions, tasks, social situations, processes, and practices. An open debate about definitions of “Performance Art” can be found here. Artists are asked to join the wiki here.

Please see the Letter of Instigation below, and visit the wiki to learn more.


Dear Individuals interested in BIPAF 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 lump wad of institutional funding. To participate, use the wiki at On Facebook, there is a page, You can also use the e-mail address, etc to express interest, share ideas, make general proposals and offer resources, also to set up one-on-one meetings with me (the person writing this letter) 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, a public meeting to specifically address forms of communication and organization for BIPAF is scheduled for SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2012 at 3pm at 104 Meserole Street, Brooklyn, 11206. This meeting will be on livestream for International participation (chat feature will be on) at:

BIPAF currently has 6 confirmed spaces (confirmed because they are directed by the instigating individuals) 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.

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 MUST PLEASE PARTICIPATE.

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. Feel free to link to other individuals who are part of your current community, and make discussion topics. Please be sure to include what you would like to do as part of this festival/what you need this festival to be. English is the primary language of this festival, but if you need to write in another language, we can use Google Translate or those who are multilingual can offer translations.

Artists, please gather your artist friends whose work you feel relates with yours and propose an exhibition; 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…

Director-curators, space directors, programmers, and cultural organizers, let’s make lists of housing, funding, catalog publication, and other resources, and as we curate let’s include the artists who are participating in the community at large and not treat artists like products for others to obtain and then sell…we will meet many new artists and curate those who have engaged with this project at large.

Let’s try to use this festival context to propose and perform ways of relating within Brooklyn and International 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, be that 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.

Other relevant reading materials include this article, The Lessons of 2011: Three Theses on Organisation by Rodrigo Nunes

This debate in Hyperallergic about the commodification of performance art, Can Performance Art Be Collected…and Still Maintain its Original Message?


Visual Art Performance vs. Contemporary Performance by Andy Horwitz (Culturbot) in which certain Brooklyn conceptions are made plain…

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