BARTERING PROJECT AT ECHO ART FAIR ASKS VISITORS, “WHAT WOULD YOU OFFER?”
Buffalo, NY — CS1 Curatorial Projects has invited Buffalo-educated artist Chris Barr to create a bartering platform for this year’s Echo Art Fair to be held September 7th and 8th at the Central Library in downtown Buffalo, New York. Meaningful Offers is a participatory project designed to insert an alternative economy into the fine art fair setting. The project opens up a market for exchange of services for art.
Participants are asked to fill out a brief form outlining the professional service they would like to offer in exchange for an artwork. This could be anything from web or graphic design, grant writing, tax, accounting or law services to lawn care, carpentry, editing, child-care, massage, car repair, or even DJing. There will also be, as Barr notes, “most likely weird stuff I can’t imagine.”
Each participant is asked to think about and provide a statement on the cultural significance of that service. This statement is the meaning behind “Meaningful Offers.”
“The act of creating an offer,” says Barr, “gives participants and others the opportunity to consider how we all contribute to culture through market and life choices, Their own contributions to society are then placed in relation to the value they place on an artwork.”
Visitors to the Echo Art Fair will have the opportunity to sit down with Barr in person to complete the form. Others will be able to request a telephone consultation at http://chrisbarr.net/projects/meaningfuloffers/ . Offers will be displayed publicly at the CS1 Curatorial Projects exhibition space at the Echo Art Fair. Participants will receive printed cards to use as conversation starters as they meet artists at the event.
Claire Schneider, the CS behind CS1 Curatorial Projects, is excited to bring Barr back to Buffalo to develop new work. Barr’s insightful thinking about contemporary labor patterns, communication, time, and authorship offers a unique perspective on human interaction in our digital world. His project Bureau of Workplace Interruptions presented at Beyond/In Western New York 2007, similarly sought to create, in his words, “radical interconnectivity.”
While bartering clearly predates the monetary economy, it is now experiencing renewed interest both within the mainstream economy and within the arts community. Zipcar, Airbnb, and bike shares allow resources to be maximized and offer alternatives to traditional ownership. Ithaca HOURS, the oldest local currency system in the U.S., was created in 1991 to encourage resources to stay within the local community.
Other bartering projects such as Caroline Woolard’s OurGoods.com and Tradeschool.coop, offer platforms for people to exchange and trade skills, spaces, objects, knowledge and instruction. She believes that bartering can and could shape the future of cities since by bartering value is placed on what we can offer to each other within our neighborhoods and relationships. This offers a system adverse to collapse.
Barr’s Meaningful Offers also does something else within the art community itself: it seeks to break down the barriers to art ownership. Schneider, as a strong advocate for the individual artist, hopes that this collaborative project will help people understand the value of art as it relates to their own skill sets, and also help to build new collectors.
Chris Barr (b. 1980) works in a multidisciplinary fashion as both an artist and designer. He works in a wide range of media including networked performance, installation, video, and web-based projects, and has been exhibited internationally and nationally, notably at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY, The Lab in San Francisco, CA, Reed Gallery at the University of Cincinnati and the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (Spain). His projects have been covered in publications including the Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, and the Associated Press.
Most recently he participated in More Love: Art, Politics, and Sharing since the 1990s, Barr contributed No Time For Love: Worldwide Regret Counter for Misplaced Priorities, where visitors can document an occasion where they allowed their time and opportunities for human connection to be stolen away in the name of perpetual productivity. http://notimeforlove.com/
Barr currently works for the Knight Foundation in Miami, Florida as a program officer for media innovation. Barr previously taught at West Virginia University, where he designed the interface for the open source software project, VuFind, which won a Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration. Barr holds an MFA in media study from the State University of Buffalo and a BFA from West Virginia University.
To see additional work, visit: http://www.chrisbarr.net.
CS1 Curatorial Projects’ Echo Art Fair commissions are made possible with support from Catherine and Stephen Foley, Marilee Keller, and Jody and Gerald Lippes.