Name and Land Acknowledgement

InterWEBS_ is brought to you by Walkabout Theater Company, based in Chicago, IL. The name “Walkabout” is derived from a cultural practice of Indigenous Australian people; and while it is decontextualized in America, the concept of “walkabout” has been repeatedly weaponized against Indigenous Australians by colonial forces in order to deny them rights and services. Click here to learn more about the company’s process of changing its name.

Chicago is situated on the traditional homelands of the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi nations, part of the Three Fires Confederacy. Many other tribes also call/have called this area home, including the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac and Fox. Walkabout acknowledges the sovereignty of the Indigenous nations who have been unlawfully removed from their homelands, and who continue to resist ongoing settler-occupation through the preservation of their people, history, and nationhood.

Walkabout would also like to acknowledge the impacts and privileges embedded in producing art digitally. The equipment and technology necessary for this collaboration still carry a significant carbon footprint and continues to contribute to the climate crisis. Moreover, the technology utilized here is often unavailable to Indigenous communities around the globe––communities that are likely to suffer most directly from the impact of climate change. We name the inequity and oppression that undergirds the dominant systems of imperial, white-supremacist, capitalist patriarchy in order to reflect the urgency and immediacy of our relationship to it.

The InterWEBS_ artists reside in four nations on three continents. More information about each artist’s location and creative context can be found on the campaigns throughout the site.

Project Description

During a collective moment of physical distancing, the ten artists of InterWEBS_ gathered to share virtual space, tell stories, and make art across the internet. The InterWEBS_ group met six times over three months, connecting online from Chicago to the east coast of the US; from Nunavut in northern Canada to Nairobi, Kenya; and from Delhi, India to parts of Hawaii. For Walkabout, the project was an opportunity to explore remote and asynchronous modalities of art-making with new collaborators, while deepening relationships that had been established before the coronavirus outbreak. Each project was independently created and developed by the contributing artists, and the gatherings were an opportunity for intentional dialogue and creative support during this unique period of change and upheaval. The project’s thematic seeds of land, climate change, storytelling, and social transformation emerged through the group’s initial meetings. To learn more about the contributing artists, please visit their projects and click through to explore their individual websites!

The resulting online gallery will be freely available until the end of 2021. We invite you to peruse the offerings in any order, traversing the creative landscape as it moves you. You are welcome to return over time, or to create your own intimate collaboration in response to the work that you see.

If you feel moved to share feedback or make a donation, we would be grateful to receive either on the Contact and Contribute page. Thank you for visiting the InterWEBS_!

Credits:

Coordinating Artists

Creative co-producers

Alex Benito Rodriguez
Gabriel Thom Pasculli

Web Design

Horacio Acevedo

Walkabout co-artistic directors

Dana Murphy
Gabriel Thom Pasculli

Project Artists

(god’s mouth)

David Dowd

Letters to the Ice

Devora Neumark

In the Shadow of the Rock

John Titi Namai

Travelogues: The Lonely Witness

Alex Benito Rodriguez
Anastacia Narrajos
Anirudh Nair
Amba-Suhasini Jhala
Cooper Forsman

The Thief

Percy Van Ort

Illustrations for The Thief

David Dowd

Featuring the 2020 production

Perennial Habit

Alex Benito Rodriguez
Anastacia Narrajos
Cooper Forsman

Horacio Acevedo is a visual designer with an eye for clean, minimal, and straight-to-the-point design. Working across disciplines to create brand identities, websites, packaging, illustrations, and everything in-between. I love to work with people who have a passion for their craft and are striving to make innovative products or push their services to the next level. View his work

Walkabout’s presentation of InterWEBS is made possible in part through funding from the Illinois Art Council, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Chicago’s Night Out in the Parks, the MacArthur Funds at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.

PERSONAL REFLECTION FROM
CREATIVE CO-PRODUCER, GABRIEL THOM

The shortest distance between two people is a story––so they say. Yes, well… I still miss the touch of friends. And strangers / the way sharing breath with you changes the rhythm of my heart. In the meantime, I snuggle up to stories––paying closer attention to how they sound when you tell them––what they reveal in your voice, where they land in my body. I am looking now for this inroad between us––listening for pieces of what was lost and hints to where we might be going.

As a Walkabout ensemble member for eight years, I came to rely deeply on the shared presence of our physical selves for both my sense of purpose and belonging in the world. In particular, I took nourishment and meaning from the vibration of our bodies in motion and the resonance of our raised voices. And yet, times have changed. The InterWEBS_ project was rooted for me in a desire to share presence and to collaborate through an uncertain time. I hoped our gatherings and stories might catch me like a spider’s web into a new sense of possibility––and to sound out, like the echolocation of a bat, the shifting landscape of the present moment. I came to this group looking for my bearings. One form of storytelling does not equal or replace another, but I have seen stories––and my evolving capacity to hear them––transmute my localized disorientation into fleeting moments of far-reaching connection and sense.

In describing great distances, poet, teacher, and elder Nikki Giovanni tells us about Mars:

We’re going to Mars because whatever is wrong with us will not get right with us
so we journey forth carrying the same baggage,
but every now and then leaving one little bitty thing behind: […]
One day looking for prejudice to slip …
one day looking for hatred to tumble by the wayside… […]
We’re going to Mars because it gives us a reason to change.
(from Quilting the Black-eye Pea (We’re going to Mars))

In these words, Nikki Giovanni could be speaking to the radical potential that was revealed in the mobilization of the past year. When confronted with a global pandemic, I witnessed those around me changing patterns, priorities, and behaviors––leaving bits behind. And that was only the beginning: I see in the work of my elders and my youngers a clarity of purpose that inspires me and tethers me to the urgency and spaciousness of now. I follow those collaborators who are speaking out against social injustice with a passion, courage, and clarity that I can emulate. I follow those colleagues that are devising new connections between creative practice and social change through direct action, and influencing policy with artistic visioning. I follow, too, those that are honing and sharpening their skills of art-making, of communicating, of healing, of transitioning, of rest and repair in preparation for what’s to come. This for me is the potential inherent in the process of InterWEBS_: The artists gathered here have helped me to make sense of the moment I inhabit. I show up for myself through the process of showing up together in the action of growth and change. Last year it was in a rehearsal room, this year we exist together in even more complicated dimensions.

Thinking about the theme of connection through stories and about the project’s somewhat cheeky title, I can’t help but picture the mythic web slinger most familiar to me: Spiderman. Instead of his webbing, though, I imagine he is shooting threads of stories in straight lines and trying with his boyish might to hold together the pieces of a splitting ship. What will happen? Will the pieces hold or will they fall apart? How will they be woven back together? I don’t know! Many things are possible. I keep tuning in to find out.

Thank you for being here.

Artist Bios

Gabriel Thom Pasculli (he/they) is a queer, white-bodied performer, director, teacher, and the co-creative director of Walkabout Theater Company. Gabriel currently teaches at the University of IL at Chicago and the University of Chicago. Gabriel is also a member of the Goddard College WA Interdisciplinary Arts community where they are researching performance creation and decolonial arts praxis. Gabriel lives with his wife and their child on the traditional homelands of the Siwanoy people of the Wappinger Confederacy near the Norwalk River in what is also called Connecticut.

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