B Be-In was an experimental artist exchange program inspired by readings of Marcel Mauss and Lewis Hyde, as well as a fascination with the 1967-68 “Human Be-Ins” of San Francisco and NYC.
We envisioned the B Be-In as both a gesture of hospitality and a sort of friendly challenge toward other artists from a similar (post-industrial but creatively vibrant) city. The event consisted of two days and two nights of music, performances, lectures, guided tours, communal meals, video projection, and dancing by participating artists from both Buffalo and Baltimore.
B Be In was an experiment in gift economics and cultural cross-pollination. Ten artists from Baltimore, MD made the 7 hour drive to Buffalo, NY in maximum capacity rented vehicles for a weekend of performances and collaboration with their Buffalo counterparts. Over a cold April weekend in 2009 we participated in events that included music, performance art, lectures on science, bike tours of the city, communal cooking and eating, live video mixing, dance parties, and round-table discussions. The event culminated in a formal gift exchange in which participants laid out their contributions on matching tables covered in silver and gold cloths. There was a flurry of hastily gift-wrapped CDs, herbal healing concoctions, handmade t-shirts, and email addresses. Then everyone went home.
Buffalo has a long history of creating structures and institutions in order to engender exchange with creative producers outside of the city. Banking on its assets ([work-free] time, [institutional] support, and [cheap raw] space) Buffalo has parlayed weaknesses into stregnths of having something to offer. Big Orbit, Hallwalls, and other grassroots cultural organizations were begun in part as tools to allow artistic circulation – outside artists are given an “in” that allows inside artists an “out”. Cultural facilitators today have many more communication tools at their disposal, in addition to the models artist-run institutions of the 80s. Thus we have even fewer excuses for isolation, conceptual incestuousness, and general bitching about the state of the arts in our city.
Whispers for Wolves (Melissa Moore/baltimore)
Aimee Buyea (buffalo) with video
Al Larsen (buffalo)
Sullivan Sheehan (buffalo) with call and response robots
Rainbow Wreaths (Nick Barna/baltimore)
Mark Brown (baltimore)
John the Gentleman (buffalo)
Wendy Carlos Williams (Scott Ries/buffalo)
Blackmoth (Kari Altmann/baltimore) video
Russell Pascatore (buffalo)
Blue Leader (baltimore)
Pat Caine + d.olivier (buffalo)
Dream Neighbor (Shaun Flynn and Dave Zimmerman/baltimore)
jack toft and the vegtables (buffalo)
Fashion Expo 1990 (buffalo)
Bev Beverly (buffalo)
Tony Conrad (buffalo)
Susie Huftless (baltimore)
Kyle Butler (buffalo)
Hermonie Only (baltimore)
more images on my flickr site here.