The writer Whitney Baker

On December 4, a group of musicians and writers gathered at Institute 193 to enact a performance piece orchestrated by the artist Bruce Burris. The performance was ostensibly a record release party for My Life As Receiver, a new album by the Stoner Creek Boys (a fictional band created by Burris).

Eric Sutherland and Mason Colby

After the writer Whitney Baker introduced the event, Eric Sutherland (wearing a hat fashioned from aluminum foil) read lyrics from the Stoner Creek Boys’ new album, accompanied by Mason Colby on the banjo. Meanwhile, Daryl Cook created ambient electronic background sound, creating the aural sensation of listening to a bizarre backcountry radio broadcast.

The artist Robert Beatty was simultaneously riding a stationary exercise bike in the front window of the gallery. According to rules laid out by Burris, Beatty was powering the entire performance with his pedaling; it would end whenever he chose to stop.

Robert Beatty powers the performance by riding a stationary bike

This performance was similar to otherĀ projects Burris has organized under the guise of the Stoner Creek Boys. Though the make-believe premises for these happenings are whimsical and often funny, Burris uses them to explore issues of social justice, community engagement, and collaboration. Though he creates a basic structure for each performance, individual performers have the power to take the project in any conceptual direction they choose–if Beatty had stopped pedaling at any moment, the performance would have ground to a halt.

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