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The Indeterminacy Festival

A festival that grapples with uncertainty

Author: Galia Binder

“Losing ourselves in the silos encourages us to forget for a moment. To let go of our habitual sense of identity.

Like that feeling—maybe you’ve had it—when looking at a sunset.

You felt that feeling before you felt the anxious need to take a picture of it, before the need to place yourself within the broader context of things took hold.

You forgot the demands of today and tomorrow for the sake of the heightened now.

When we are inside of this now, we might remember it more brightly in the future.

Not as a story we can tell, but as a feeling:  like we were, for a moment, at the heart of the story.”

This feeling, according to Stanzi Vaubel, Director of the Indeterminacy Festival, is at the heart of what the Festival can bring to the city of Buffalo.

If you attended the Burchfield Penney’s Golden Anniversary in December of 2016, you may have partied inside one of the Indeterminacy inflatable bubbles.

The Festival kicks off with Montreal-based artist Luc Courchesne sponsored by the Techne Institute for Emerging Arts and Technologies  at the University at Buffalo, who will speak about interactive media on May 16th. Starting May 19th, Just Buffalo students will work with Poet Rachel Webster to compose on-site creative writing pieces inspired by the workshops and performances of The Indeterminacy Festival. Local dancers will also be working with Choreographers Jenna Del Monte and Courtney Barrow around themes of Indeterminacy. Players from Buffalo String Works, Buffalo’s youth refugee and immigrant musical ensemble, will prepare for performance in the piece.

The Festival culminates May 19th and 20th, when Stanzi Vaubel and her team will be installing unique inflatable designs inside Silo City’s Marine A that function as both architecture and art.

The Festival culminates May 19th and 20th, when Stanzi Vaubel and her team will be installing unique inflatable designs inside Silo City’s Marine A that function as both architecture and art. This transformed environment, opened up to the public, will be filled with an experience of live music, dance, light, sound, and poetry.

Vaubel’s first artistic project in Buffalo took place in one of Silos, “Sites do Things to People,” was described by Colin Dabowski in his 2015 Buffalo News  article “A Closer Look: ‘Sites do Things to People’” as “a musical and sound-based performance and installation designed to get people to think more deeply about the effect of physical environments on them and vice versa.” The piece also became a film and was screened at Hallwalls with a live musical accompaniment in 2015. “Excursions into Unknowable Worlds,” Vaubel’s latest project, manifested in its first form as an immersive performance in May of 2016 at Hi-Temp, and later as a film, later  screened at Hallwalls.

Vaubel is a Brooklyn-born Public Artist who moved to Buffalo in 2014.

Vaubel is a Brooklyn-born Public Artist who moved to Buffalo in 2014 and became instantly fascinated by the power of the site-specific art happening in places like Hi-Temp Warehouse (now closed) and Silo City.

“After visiting these spaces and experiencing how they were activated by art-making, I recognized the power of place to empower the imagination. Tied to the places are  the people who own them, John McKendry and Rick Smith. They understand the unique blend of commerce, the grit of industry, its history, and the artistic inspiration that can, if we let it, be inspired by such incredible structures.”

For Vaubel, the way to re-experience Silo City and, perhaps most importantly, to re-imagine how we build a sense of place and community, is to take on this practically herculean task of constructing a completely new environment together.

“Over the past several months we’ve been prototyping inflatable designs, testing them in a series of open workshops where we’ve invited community members to join us in the process of cutting, taping, and building.”

“These specific designs were chosen because they could be built by people who don’t self-identify as designers. When these individuals walk into the performance, months later, they are not just an observer of the production, but they were participants in its creation. They know how and where they taped the seams, and the places where they cut the plastic.”

Vaubel has taken on an incredibly demanding schedule to create the festival, but insists “this work can create a renewed sense of purpose about what it means to be a citizen in our country and city today. It feels vitally necessary. Such logic leads one to dream … and the farther the dream goes the more it demands of you!”

In order for the festival to be realized for its public performances, there are still significant costs that need to be covered.

In order for the festival to be realized for its public performances, there are still significant costs that need to be covered.

These include those of purchasing materials for the inflatables, renting lighting equipment to fill Marine A, publishing costs to produce the Indeterminacy Handbook, and travel costs associated with the invited artists from out of town.

Donations can be made on the Indeterminacy Festival’s Indiegogo page until May 1st.

“This project is about re-envisioning our city, together. This process cannot happen without collaboration, because we cannot do this alone. Working together means that we have to accept the uncertainties and flaws we encounter in ourselves and each other, as we co-create. However, it is through a practice of mutual trust and collaboration, that we can harness indeterminacy as creative fuel to build our collective future.”

Written by BRo Guest Authors

BRo Guest Authors

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