BAN6 Conversations

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is pleased to present the sixth edition of its signature triennial event, Bay Area Now, a celebration of local artists across an array of disciplines – from performance to visual art, film/video and community engagement. Bay Area Now 6 (BAN6) follows an expanded format centered around YBCA's commitment to exploring art and ideas and is designed to encourage dialogue among artists across disciplines.


The unusual concentration of intellectual curiosity and creative energy in the Bay Area has fueled experimentation and innovation in a number of fields that have had significant impact on contemporary culture. Part I of BAN6 highlights six areas of influence — Food, Futurism, Community Activism, Radical Identities, Environment and Technology — through a series of roundtable conversations hosted by YBCA between February and June of 2011. Various 'experts' have been invited to participate in a public conversation with the BAN6 artists and YBCA curators. The public is also invited to observe and participate in a broader post-event conversation with the artists and guest speakers. Each gathering will also be podcast on YBCA's web site to further extend the reach of both the ideas and the art of the Bay Area around the world.

From Produce to Production: New Traditions in Bay Area Food Culture
Sat, Feb 19, 1-4 pm  •  YBCA Forum/FREE

With so many fields relying on technology and invention for progress, the food culture in and around San Francisco is largely connected through notions of preservation. And in the Bay Area, 'preservation' is more than just canned goods and dried fruits. From the ecological activists who strive for sustainable agriculture, to the local homesteaders who work to preserve their own heirloom produce, the landscape is rich with foodies dedicated to preserving both environment and tradition.

In this first BAN6 conversation, YBCA welcomes three local food luminaries, Bryant Terry, Leif Hedendal and Novella Carpenter, to shed light on the culinary culture around us. Bryant Terry is an eco-chef and activist from Oakland whose work and writing reconciles contemporary thinking with old practice. His recent book Vegan Soul Kitchen re-examines soul food traditions with innovative recipes and political grace. Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City, is a journalist and farmer, who for ten years has been transforming her Oakland vacant lot property into a flourishing urban environment. Leif Hedendal is chef and founder of Dinner Discussions and Secret Dinners, Bay Area culinary events which combine art and food.

Upward Spirals: New Economic Models for a Thrivable Future
Sat, Mar 5, 1-4 pm  •  YBCA Forum/FREE

Thrivability in the arenas of environmental sustainability, resilience of consciousness and the good of individuals needs to be at the center of new adaptable and equitable economic models. Evolving relational networks have the capacity to change long held behaviors for manifesting value with the potential to upend current static systems of production and exchange. In addition, the economy of meaning and cultural activity are poised to play a more central role in new economic structures.

Upward Spirals: New Economic Models for a Thrivable Future examines how we can make 'more is better' economies obsolete by enabling new sustainable models to flourish. Focusing on innovative projects and ideas for creating macro and micro economic structures to replace the exhausted consumer–based capitalist model, these new theories put the enhanced well being of individuals and the environment in the forefront rather than the acquisition of wealth and possessions. Speakers include Marina Gorbis, Executive Director of Institute for the Future and Neal Gorenflo, co–founder and publisher of Shareable Magazine, a nonprofit online magazine about sharing.

From Grassroots to Netroots: Surveying Bay Area Political Topographies
Sat, Apr 2, 1-4 pm  •  YBCA Forum/FREE

The Bay Area has long been a crucible of political tumult and upheaval. From territorial battles between Spanish soldiers and the indigenous Ohlone in the late 18th century to the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969 by a unified cohort of Native Americans to the marriage equality struggle that has since percolated into virtually every national jurisdiction, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland have cemented their reputations as hubs of progressive consciousness. Unlike any other American region, the Bay Area has become America's default proving ground for the most hot-button and divisive issues.

But what is it about the region that engenders such passionate disavowals of the status quo? Is the activist community as relevant and effective as it once was, or have changing demographics, technologies and economies dampened the fervor? Additionally, how does the Bay Area's vibrant and experimental arts landscape inform or respond to political clamor? Join American Book Award winner and cultural scholar Jeff Chang and other Bay Area thought leaders in a free–form, interactive discussion on the origins and trajectories of Bay Area–bred activism, organizing, and radical dissent.

The Customizable Body: The Present/Future of Identity
Sat, Apr 23, 1-4 pm  •  YBCA Forum/FREE

The Bay Area is teeming with alternative lifestyles and radical identities. From Vegan Marxist Gamers to Berkeley Hippie Millionaires to Polyamorous Decompressed Burners, we keep it weird for the rest of the country. What is in the local water that promotes radical identities and alternative lifestyles? Join Ken Foster as he sparks a conversation between you, Philip Rosedale, founder of the virtual world Second Life, and publisher and photographer Amos Mac of Original Plumbing: Trans Male Quarterly as they explore the present/future of identity with and/or without a body.

Engaging a Billion People: The Birth of a New Green
Sat, May 7, 1-4 pm  •  YBCA Forum/FREE

Is the environmentalism movement as we know it outdated? Should environmental goals be linked with other broad social and economic goals? As a consumer-driven economy and wasteful society, should we shift the focus of the movement towards a make-your-own sustainable practice rather than trying to focus on saving the whole planet? How can each of us help change the way people look at the world in order to reach a harmonious relationship with the natural living planet? And how is the Bay Area leading the way in advancing this conversation? Adam Werbach, Chief Sustainability Officer of Saatchi & Saatchi, author of the book Strategy for Sustainability, and President of the Sierra Club, will discuss his work and engage the artists and audience in a hands-on interactive workshop that caters to one's personal sustainability goals.

Hype, Hope or Hell: Cyber Skepticism and Technotopia
Sat, Jun 11, 1-4 pm  •  YBCA Forum/FREE

It's impossible to discuss the extraordinary qualities of the Bay Area without including digital technology. It now permeates every aspect of our public and private lives. But as the dialogue becomes increasingly fanatical and we race to embrace all things new, we may be eliminating our history, and possibly our humanity. Are we paying attention? Or are we allowing ourselves to be pulled along by outside forces, without comment? Bay Area computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author of You Are Not A Gadget, Jaron Lanier, will present his observations of the social impact of technological practices, the philosophy of consciousness and information, Internet politics, and the future of humanism.