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Tessa Wills (San Francisco) collaborating with ABD Productions (San Francisco) and fiscal sponsor Dancers Group

Award: $39,750 Media Arts grant awarded in 2015

To Premiere: May 27-29, 2017

In collaboration with Tessa Wills, queer youth will document their intimate stories of desire on audio recordings that accompany guided, multi-media performance walks of San Francisco.

ABD Productions, which has extensive experience working with residents in the Tenderloin through its Skywatchers project, and Larkin Street Youth Services will assist with outreach to engage youth to participate in the project.

For this project, independent media artist Wills plans to work in collaboration with storyteller Maryam Roberts to guide the participating youth in developing their personal narratives—helping them to edit and craft them. Digital audio artist Kadet Kuhne will record and mix the resulting audio stories that will be curated into walking routes through the South of Market and Tenderloin. Each route will feature three or four stories—10-20 minutes in length. Cartographer Ben Pease and visual artist Shizue Seigel of Pease Press Cartography will create maps of the routes to accompany the audio walks. In 2016, the THIS IS WHAT I WANT (TIWIW) festival will present live tours of the works—featuring the queer youth as performers.  The maps and recorded stories also will be available for audiences to take self-guided tours post-performance.

Tessa Wills, who graduated in electronic music in the UK in 1999, has been working with community engaged performance ever since. This piece is part of her broader practice of dialogical art through media—the act of framing everyday social interactions through media to offer an unique reflection of our culture.