PROVIDENCE, RI (April 19, 2021) – The Wilbury Theatre Group presents Whose Name Was Writ in Water, a 360˚ Virtual Experience by Becci Davis, from April 30 – May 15. This three-part performance explores the notion that nature bears witness to history and that water holds the secrets to lost narratives of the past and documents the events of the present for future generations.
Presented as a 360° Virtual Experience using technology by New York-based virtual event production company Musae, audience members will be able to view the production on their phone, tablet, or computer, or may elect to receive a VR headset with their ticket purchase. Tickets and contribution levels are available at https://www.musae.me/thewilburytheatregroup/experiences/1023/whose-name
Whose Name Was Writ in Water features dual narratives woven together; the interrogation of history through an imagined conversation with the artist’s enslaved 4th great-grandmother and a rite of passage for her teenage son. Water serves as the technology that connects them through time and space. By questioning the past, the artist attempts to navigate the present through ritual, labor, the exploration of landscapes, examination of old family snapshots and documents, original and appropriated poetry, and photography.
“We can’t separate ourselves from the past,” Becci Davis explained in an interview with iolabs, “[The past] infuses our understanding, our behavior, our relationships and our surroundings. Similarly, I look to the future. While finding the stories that were left for me to discover and retell, I often think about what stories are left in my own wake. This ritual of researching, exploring, dreaming, making, sharing is deeply rooting in place because my relationship with place is reciprocal. Place and I simultaneously shape one another. I like to use the metaphor of a river. The riverbed determines the movement of water, while the force of the water gradually shapes the riverbed.
She continues, “As a Black American woman, I am acutely aware of the lack of subjective, non-biased representations of Black culture and family life in the mainstream historic archive. I also understand that the lives and contributions of my ancestors have historically been ignored or erased. This knowledge is a constant source of inspiration. For me revising and annotating the past, infusing historic narratives with a subjective voice and documenting the present are mandatory practices.”
Wilbury’s Artistic Director, Josh Short, explains, “When Musae approached us last winter about incorporating some of their VR technology into our work I thought of Becci Davis immediately. Since first witnessing Becci’s work at the Providence Fringe Festival a few years ago, I have admired the intimacy it creates between herself and an audience. I’m very excited to see how this performance comes to life as a new virtually immersive experience.”
About Becci Davis
Becci Davis is a Rhode Island-based visual artist who works across disciplines. She was born on a military installation in Georgia named after General Henry L. Benning of the Confederate States Army and finds inspiration in exploring natural and cultural landscapes, studying the past, documenting her family’s stories, and recording her experiences as a daughter, mother, American, and Southern born and raised, Black woman.
Becci earned her MFA from Lesley University College of Art and Design. In 2018, she was the recipient of the St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award in Visual Art, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship in New Genres, the Providence Public Library Creative Fellowship, and the RISD Museum Artist Fellowship. Her performances have been featured in Luna Loba, the Providence Fringe Festival, RISD Museum, Providence Public Library and confederate monuments across Georgia. Becci lives with her family in Wakefield, Rhode Island and she is a member of the WARP Collective, AS220, and the Dirt Palace Public Projects communities in Providence.