On Friday night, over 30 international and UK artists will descend on South East London, ‘beamers’ in hand, to participate in a fluid presentation of moving image, performance, sound and live TV streaming direct from The Woodmill. Originally mounted in Berlin less than a year ago, BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer) is an open source curatorial model ‘gone viral’. The series of one-night-only events exploring the medium of projection have so far taken place in ten cities worldwide with many more in the pipeline. Anyone can make a BYOB by following the basic how-to process via an FAQ sheet on the website. Are there any rules? BYOB should be easy, fun and no stress. Dazed caught up with KERNEL, curators for the London event, and quizzed artist and BYOB initiator Rafaël Rozendaal about his brainchild…
Dazed Digital: How did BYOB come about?
Rafaël Rozendaal: I created this format to enable people to make things without any budget, because everyone’s doing digital and moving image stuff and almost everyone I know owns a projector. It’s really hard to make a group exhibition, but then I said if we only do one night and bring our own equipment it’s very easy. BYOBs happen without me even knowing sometimes, I just get an email afterwards.
KERNEL: We participated in Athens for the second BYOB and thought we’d bring it to London knowing it would be a good opportunity to engage in the scene here and find a community of artists, especially those making internet related work.
DD: How did you find the artists for BYOB London?
Rafaël Rozendaal: I’m not involved. I believe BYOB is about the responsibility of individual curators and artists, and it’s about chaos. I’m not going to be like ‘I wrote a text and this is about the shift of society from global back to local so let’s make videos about you and your grandma’; we’re not going to do that.
KERNEL: Most of the artists we knew already from social networks and a lot of them have previously collaborated with BYOB.
DD: So how has it worked so far on the nights?
Rafaël Rozendaal: At the first one in Berlin nobody had any idea so they just brought whatever was on their hard disc but even then they started to react to each other, like ‘oh there’s some architecture in your video, I have something else on my hard disc’, so things began to relate and the participants started to formally explore. For me it’s all about freedom.
DD: Is BYOB incrementally evolving or progressive? What’s new in this one?
KERNEL: Well LuckyPDF will be hosting a livestream and a television broadcast studio that will be a hybrid between documentation, directed interviews and remote collaboration with previous artists from other BYOBs. This event brings everyone together in the physical space but in London it will extend the meaning to also bring people together across the network, so it’s like adding the London based scene to the previous ones.
DD: Do you have a political angle towards the idea of Open Source and DIY?
Rafaël Rozendaal: Yeah, the whole digital revolution overthrew the music industry and might overthrow the movie industry. It resulted in more independent record labels and people organizing stuff on their own because they have to and I would like the same for the art world; that individual responsibility.
DD: Would it be fair to say that without the Internet this wouldn’t happen?
Rafaël Rozendaal: Without the Internet and without the cheap hardware. When you do a BYOB the hardware is very present which is interesting, so you have this huge collage of all kinds of laptops and projectors. Somebody once said it looked very ‘firstworld’, but really it’s Arte Povera, it just looks expensive.
DD: Where would you like to see BYOB in the future?
Rafaël Rozendaal: The model is an equation that can then be applied to many different contexts. I can see it becoming a thing in Country and Western bars where they show videos of their vacation, but it could also be in MOMA. The fun thing is it just leads its own life.
BYOB London, February 25, 2011, 6.30PM - 10PM, The Woodmill, Neckinger Depot, Neckinger, London, SE16 3QN
Participating artists: Amalia Ulman, Anne de Vries, Aristide Antonas, Arran Ridley, Ben Vickers, Carl Burgess, Daniel Swan, Emily Jones, Harry Sanderson, Helen Marten & Fran Edgerley, Hyo Myoung Kim, Iain Ball, Jeremy Bailey & Kristen Schaffer, Jimmy Merris, Katja Novitskova, KERNEL (Pegy Zali, Petros Moris, Theodoros Giannakis), L_A_N, LuckyPDF (James Early, John Hill, Oliver Hogan, Yuri Pattison), Luke Barcelona Cano, Marc Kremers, Martin Cole, Matthew Stone, Theo Michael & George Tsioutsias, Mike Ruiz, Nicolas Roope, No New Info (Lauren Elder, Andre and Evan Lenox, Arend deGruyter-Helfer, Micah Schippa, Brian Khek), Paul B Davis, Poka-Yio, Rafaël Rozendaal, Richard Sides, Sascha Pohflepp, Tim Steer, Yuri Pattison