Visiting Artist | February 25 - March 11th, 2020
3 RITES: Life, Liberty, Happiness
New York-based multimedia artist Edisa Weeks will come to MANCC for the first time to develop her latest work THREE RITES: Life, Liberty, Happiness. The work will be a seven-hour interdisciplinary interactive experience that integrates live music, dance, text, two visual installations, shared meals and community conversations to examine how America has protected, promoted, and pursued life, liberty and happiness, and how these rights manifest in the body. During her time at MANCC, Weeks will specifically focus on the Liberty section of the work.
Connected like a puppet to objects that have informed the Black experience in America (bible, black dildo, blonde wig, sneakers, watermelon, gun, lightbulb), Edisa Weeks in this solo performance alternates between black face, white face, storytelling, and visceral dance to dig into the pathologizing of African Americans and the foundations of liberty in America. She is currently writing stories about the seven objects and, throughout her time at MANCC, will embody the stories through movement and songs that engage with the audience. As our nation continues to grapple with confederate monuments, fake news, economic stratification and the killing of Black people, THREE RITES: Liberty both humorously and poignantly insists on a reckoning with our past and present.
While in residence, Weeks plans to visit the Knot House Museum in Tallahassee, where a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation took place on May 20, 1865. She will also host a Roots Party, where people are invited to join her in the journey of making 1,865 roots out of paper and twine; and will connect with scholars on campus whose research focuses on American Minstrelsy, Orishas, and depictions of African-Americans in the media.
The full work, THREE RITES: Life, Liberty, Happiness, will premiere in Brooklyn, NY, in Fall 2021.