Do your civil rights feel under threat? Do you feel protected and supported by your government's laws? Do you want to be a part of the solution?
Artist Stacey L. Kirby offers the site-specific installation and performance "The Bureau of Personal Belonging" as a setting for dialogue about community, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and belonging in the United States. "The Bureau of Personal Belonging" is traveling from Durham, NC and will be installed at ArtPrize Eight in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Sept. 21 - Oct. 9th, 2016)
WHO AM I? WHAT DO I DO?
Stacey L. Kirby is a performance and installation artist based in Durham, NC. Over the past 9 years, 115 performances, 500 hours, and 4000 participants, Kirby has shared a series of what she has dubbed “performative interactions” -– performances set within installations that are activated by viewer participation. These installations occur in a variety of spaces -- traditional and non-traditional art spaces, in the street, in P.O.D.S. containers, at protests, in bathrooms, etc. Kirby’s works evolve with the physical and historical setting, political climate, and audience involvement at each location. At the core of Kirby’s work are the topics of identity, community, and belonging. This body of work developed intuitively alongside her experiences as an artist, activist, and queer woman raised and living in North Carolina. Through altered environments and personal engagement, Kirby challenges the familiar social codes of sterile bureaucratic contexts and makes way for a new conversation in which every individual is heard. Video and images of the work can be found at www.stacey-kirby.com
WHAT IS THE BUREAU OF PERSONAL BELONGING?
"The Bureau" is an opportunity to participate in the public conversation about our rights as well as the laws affecting our freedoms and voices. "The Bureau of Personal Belonging" is a site-specific installation comprised of three ongoing works, "The Declaration Project," "VALIDnation," and her newest work about gender identity, "I AM." Visitors participate in this work by interacting with Kirby and other performers in an office setting. Visitors write and talk about their rights and the laws affecting their freedoms. After performances, their voices are shared through a mass-mailing of handwritten postcards to their legislators. Currently, over 3000 postcards have been sent through this work. Kirby critically examines governmental process and policy while imploring us to trust in the validity of our own voices and our power to make an impact on our governing bodies.
WHY IS THE BUREAU HEADING TO GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN?
Kirby is the recipient of one of four national ArtPrize Pitch Night Grants awarded throughout the United States to partially fund her work at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Over 400,000 people visit ArtPrize over its 18 days. Kirby will transform offices at 50 Monroe Avenue NW in Grand Rapids, MI into "The Bureau of Personal Belonging" from September 21 to October 9th. Over 10,000 people are estimated to participate in Kirby's performances. Kirby will collaborate with volunteers from the Grand Rapids LGBT community to perform her work during ArtPrize.
In March 2016, North Carolina legislators passed controversial legislation House Bill 2, which restricts rights for the LGBT community. A wave of response throughout North Carolina and the rest of the country created a larger dialogue about discriminatory laws and civil rights in the United States. Unfortunately, Michigan has its own version of HB2 currently circulating through the legislature – Senate Bill 993 and House Bill 5717.
“I am bringing The Bureau to ArtPrize to connect with the Grand Rapids' LGBTQ community and their allies,” Kirby says. “I offer my support and opportunity to validate one another as we fight this discriminatory legislation together on a national level. As a queer woman in NC, I understand the impact of such hatred on the hearts, minds, and souls of entire communities. We'll potentially engage with 10,000 visitors to ArtPrize, documenting their voices and using this event as a significant platform for change.”
Additionally, ArtPrize offers an opportunity for financial awards based on public and panelists’ votes. Artists receive various awards totaling to $500,000. "The Bureau of Personal Belonging" taking place in Grand Rapids could result in Kirby receiving up to $200,000 for funding for future performances and a donation of 25% to Equality NC to support their work securing protections for the LGBTQ community in North Carolina.
HOW YOUR DONATION HELPS
My performative interactions are funded by commissions, grants, fellowships and donations from supporters like YOU. Your donations to this Kickstarter campaign will fund the following expenses for "The Bureau" to travel to Grand Rapids:
- Printing costs for 30,000 cards & stickers
- Rental & gas expenses for a U-HAUL to and from Durham, NC and Grand Rapids, MI
- Postage for 30,000 postcards
- Office furniture – desks, tables, chairs, filing cabinets
- Office equipment and materials - COFFEEMAKER!
- Flights to and from Grand Rapids
- Installation assistance
- Artist fees
Many thanks to everyone who donates AND those who have already helped along my journey with this work!!! I couldn't do any of this work without my family and community! [I wish I could list all of your names here!] This Kickstarter campaign would not have been possible without the magic of Alex Maness and Andrew Synowiez. Thank you to Raleigh Rubber Stamps and Glover Printing for rewards.
Risks and challenges
Performance art is a tenuous and vulnerable space in which to work. The unexpected always occurs and shifts the ground on which we stand. The connections and expansiveness that result from engaging with one another face-to-face and body-to-body in this internet-obsessed society are extremely transformative. I am confident that continuing to respectfully celebrate each other’s voices unifies us around a common love for one another’s differences.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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