1st BMXnet Conference
BMXnet Seminar 2007
Begin of November 2007 around 150 Piercers, Tattooists and BodyModders came together to have their first BMXnet Conference – a new event that is best described as a get together of “everybody” to learn from each other. Honestly, it is hard to describe or compare that first BMXnet Seminar because it really was a very complex event with a little bit of everything – bodymod wise.
What / Who is BMXnet
The best way to tell you something about it would be to start telling you something about the BMXnet association which “soft”-started officially a year before the first conference in form of an “independent piercer meeting” initiated by a couple of friends that work in the industrie and felt the need to sit together and talk with no company or organisation hosting that events so there would be no regulations what to talk about and what not.
Actually the APP influenced and inspired that meeting a lot – after visiting the APP conference for a few times everybody of the BMXnet team who was there felt the need to carry on and meet / exchange with others within germany and europe. So that first 4 little meetings with around 20 persons in Essen and Berlin were “Piercing-Only” although they had a wide range of topics (where is the border between piercing and bodymodification?) and also include working together in studios. The second and final influence came with the 2006 APTPI Conference in Italy. That event demonstrated how well piercers and tattooists go together although so far there always has been that bias that it is best to keep it seperate. Also it showed how well you can organize an event like that with “only” a few years of experience and how big the interest and need in europe is. So begin of 2007 everybody spread the word of that conference and several articles (in thePoint and EXPAND) about it got people interested and when it was definate that the APTPI was not going to do a conference in 2007 it became a mission to do something in germany at that date (November).
Also it became clear not to exclude any discipline or part of what became todays “common bodymodification” such as Tattoo, Piercing, Scarification, Suspension and so on. One of BMXnets main missions is to develope exchange within and across all disciplines of bodymodification with the least common denominator of acceptance and tolerance for others work, art and passion.
On very short notice (2-3 months before the event) everything got started and thanks to the main sponsors (Wildcat Germany + Industrial Strength Europe-Swiss) it was financially possible to pre-pay that event and let it happen. Also speakers, guests and other associations (such as APP, APTPI, OPP and UETA) supported the event with speakers, contacts and ressources, which was a great help and made it possible that there were around 30 classes for Piercers, Tattooists and BodyMod Artists. Within a short period of time 100 people signed up and in the end 150 people attend the conference which seemed to have been the perfect size to start such a thing.
Planned as a two day event it was a good idea to add another day before the main event to get people together early and offer something to relax, meet and get together before the 2 days of listening and learning began (the scedule was packed!)
So that first day to socialise (Friday) was a suspension day held by Wings Of Desire (Norway) in cooperation with many suspenders such as the Superfly Crew (Berlin), Thorsten (iSuspend), Muffe (Copenhagen Body Extremes), Jussi (Circus Mundus Absurdus) and others. That first day was (of course) full of difficulties and partly chaotic but with so many experienced people around helping and supporting it was the perfect preparation to get everything a bit smoother for the following two “big days”. It may sound like a clichee, but that “familiy vibe” also made the event so special from day one. Everybody was relaxed and helpful and had obviously the same intention: “let’s make that thing work”.
Friday evening there was the official welcome party with two great shows by Operafication (professional opera singing mixed with fakir and suspension performance) and Psycho Cyborgs (who does not know Sammpa and his intense performances). It was a great party and it was (of course) hard to kick everybody out after midnight to go to bed cause Saturdays breakfast and classes started early at 9 / 10 am.
In two main rooms (size 60-80 people each) and two smaller rooms (20-50 people) there were up to 4 classes at the same time. While the bigger rooms had lectures and speeches the smaller rooms had roundtables and workshops like an introduction in Microdermal techniques where a group of microdermal-experienced piercers demonstrated and assisted advanced piercer attendees with the different placement and procedures of “single point pierced” Microdermals. This class was about 4 hours long as well as the “Tattoo Machines and their Secrets” class held by the Godoy Brothers who wrote a book by the same name about tuning and knowing tattoo machines better. The second day class about Tattoo Machines was even more practical when tattooists were bringing their machines in to have them tuned and explained “live” – that really helped understanding and demontration “every day problems” and misconfigurations of machines. Also well visited were all of Steve Harworths seminars where in theory but very detailled attendees were able to learn more about surfcare to surface piercing, genital beading and laser branding. Those classes have been booked out to the last seat not only because it was the first time for Steve to teach in europe. Steve stayed for another week in europe to work on his H2Ocean sponsored tour. Both – the Godoy brothers and Steve – really enjoyed the event and already promised to be part of this years conference end of july – as we hope all the other lecturers will come again cause EVERYBODY did a very good job!
The two main rooms always had a piercing and a tattoo class at the same time which ranges from the necessary evil (but totally fetish to some ;-) …) “Validation of Autoclaves”, “Quality management of tools processing” to very urgent “Legal Aspect” classes of “Tattooink” and “BodyModification” and advanced basic classes about “Surface Piercing Techniques” by Luis Garcia who also joined the introduction class where organisations had the chance to tell people more about their work and goals. Than there have been two Aftercare Classes, one for Piercing and one for Tattoo, “Understanding Tattooink Basics” and “Safe Body Suspension Practice” held by Wings of Desire. To top everything off there were some great cultural and historical classes like Paul Kings “History of Western Body Piercing” and “Sri Lankan Festivals of Suspension”, Prof. Palmisanos Piercing and Tattoo Athropology – Mr. Palmisano is a Professor of Athropology from Italy – he also spoke at the APTPI Conference 2006. Next to those classes that were open to everybody, there also have been closed roundtables for advanced BodyMod Artists.
Acccording to the classes, there was also an exhibition were all of the sponsors (like Wildcat Germany, Industrial Strength Europe, H2Ocean, Global Tattoo Supply, several Medical Suppliers and more…) showed their range of products and mainly on sunday most of the visitors took some time for shopping around and get latest information.
The chosen Location of that first BMXnet conference was surely remarkable comparable to the traditional exhibition halls and seminar rooms. As a formerly nun convent and nowerdays art project it offered a very special atmosphere that transferred to everybody and gave further creative and inspiring impulses to the conference.
Here follows an enclosed explanation of the idea of the “Unperfect House“, composed of citations of the founder, Reinhard Wiesemann: “The more perfect the environment, the more people are damned to do nothing.
In every generation there is a small percentage of people who are on the way to make exactly that which they like to do into a career. The Unperfect house should give those people chances and make them visible to others. In the Unperfect house, anyone can try out a business idea or try to become known as an artist.
In the Unperfect house, anyone is free to test their own way, whoever will, say his view (as I do here), whoever will, in respect to foreign ideas, whoever will not, let it be.
Artistic centers speak to artists, Institutes address technicians and tradesmen. The Unperfect house unites creative people from all areas and is not interested in whether someone will earn money or not. Artistic centers seldom offer much publicity, Institutes are even quieter. In the Unperfect House, a large portion of the earnings will be appropriated to make the house attractive for guests. In institutions, one must choose to found a firm, to quit their own job, to jump into cold water. In the Unperfect house, on the contrary, one can avocationally, or on the side of school/study, start his dreamjob.
The Unperfect House shall be a springboard for that; to make one’s dream into a career or to found a company. But Associations and Hobbyists are also welcome! The diversity of many differing people who are active in the Unperfect house for completely different reasons get one place, whose unbelievable atmosphere leaps over the visitor. And enthusiastic visitors are the other half of the Unperfect house.
For me, altruism and egoism are not opposite. (I translate altruism not as “disinterestedness”, but as “being useful to others”). There are dimensions independent from each other, just as “height” and “width”. The often heard charge, “the action was not altruistic, because a self-interest arose”, just as illogical as the phrase, “the cupboard is not high, because it is also wide.” If a person thinks this way, then he decides on a way of life, which either ONLY egoistic or ONLY charitable. I don’t consider either way desirable.”
Maybe now everybody understands why the “Unperfect House” was chosen for that event – the parallels of their mission to the structure and idea of BMXnet are obvious. Everybody should share, give and at the same time benefit, profit of that “BodyModification eXchange NETwork” that just has been started.
The location and the mixture of so many international artist (from italy, finnland, norway, sweden, suisse, austria, poland, england, the usa and germany of course) from all section of bodymodification created a very special pro-active atmosphere. The discussions were on a very high level and everybody was really interested in the experiences and opinions of their direct, european or “worldwide” neighbours. The location also helped everybody to get into contact cause there were sofas, areas with pillows, candels and blankets on the floor, bars and food corners all over the house, so you could had a drink or two, clear your thoughts a little bit for the next class, discuss the information you’ve got in the recent classes or just relax and talk to some friends or make new ones.
The Next Conference
It will be hard to keep that spirit and setup of the location for the next conference cause with an expected number of visitors from 300 to 500 people the “Unperfect House” would be too small. So it will be one of the highest priorities to find a place that can be all that to the event that the “Unperfect House” was.
Since the next conference is in the summer (25th – 27th July) there will be new oppertunities to find a nice place. Also on the last conference 60% of the classes have been held bi-lingual by real time translation german-english and english-german. This year aims to have 80% of the classes in english and german – so it will be even more attractive for everybody to come. English is spoken at the whole event so everybody no matter where in the world should join the conference and have a good time. If you need a private place to stay or guest-spot to work the organizers will be happy to connect you with other BMXnet ethusiasts. Also let’s hope cooperation between associations and organisations in the future will go on and grow strong. As a direct result of 2007s BMXnet event there have been a meeting of all major german associations where they agreed to start working together instead of ignoring the fact that there is somebody who has common goals. It is about time to unite and benefit from synergys and help each other instead of pointing fingers to others work, procedures or art.