The Process


It all started with NO PLAN. Take three artists of different disciplines, throw them in a room and tell them, now come up with a performance, dammit! Really, there is no way of knowing what will happen, but this “artistic blind date” process makes this all the more interesting.

The process began with no process and originally began as a grant that  Debbi Arseneaux (Director), Martin Gendelman (Musician & Composer) and Tewodross Melchishua (Filmmaker/Visual Artist) each received as part of the Artistic Blind Date (ABD) part of the Source Theatre Festival from the Cultural Development Corporation. For more see Artistic Blind Dates.

Incidentally, Debbi and Tewodross both took a photo of the same image on 14th Street in Washington, DC, just across the street from Source. (Below). Then all three artists developed a conversation on culture, identity, gentrification, race and immigration. The images below, ” I AM AMER ICAN” resonated with each of them and also did discussions of science and speculative fiction. Thus Nacirema was born.

They knew that they wanted to combine elements of performance, music, dance/movement and visuals (art/film) into a multimedia “experience” that challenges the audience to consider who they “really” are as citizens. See Other Research/Influences.

I AM AMER I CAN (Close-up)  – Image and catalyst for Project/Research

I AM AMER I CAN  – Image and catalyst for Project/Research

Space Layout for Nacirema (tentative)


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