Fellow 2008-09

Deke Weaver

Art + Design


Professor Weaver likes a good story. His performance-theater relies on the idea that a tale with emotional punch has transformative power. He writes; he performs what he writes; and he creates videos for performances and installations. Haunting and funny, his performances interweave monologues and videos, often building and layering meaning with the forward motion of prose and the free-associative vertical depth of poetry.

During his Center appointment, Professor Weaver will develop a new project titled The Unreliable Bestiary. A bestiary – common during the Middle Ages – was an illustrated book of real and mythic animals, usually accompanied by a moral lesson and informed by the belief that every living thing has a special meaning. Fueled by our precarious moment in the natural world, the project will include a series of interdisciplinary solo performances set in unusual venues (zoos, aquariums, rodeo rings, circus tents, beaches, and national park amphitheaters) – an event for each letter of the alphabet.

He envisions a provocative look through the lens of the Animal at environmental, social, and spiritual concerns. “We are becoming increasingly isolated from the physical world,” he notes. “We think we know where our destiny lies and how the story ends. We don’t.”

Weaver plans to draw on technical knowledge he gained recently through video experimentation with the Theatre Department’s Scenic Technology Group. The experience stretched his sense of how large-scale, multi-screen projections could work, and he plans to incorporate this knowledge into Bestiary. He hopes to present the new piece in 2009.