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Save the date for Deke Weaver’s next Unreliable Bestiary installment, CETACEAN 

A blue whale in the ocean photographed from above. The whale has come to the surface and is expelling water from it's blowhole.
American Museum of Natural History

Artist, performer, and University of Illinois professor Deke Weaver’s next installment in his life-long  Unreliable Bestiary project will be CETACEAN, or The Whale. (Cetaceans are marine mammals including whales, dolphins, and porpoises.) It will premiere September 28th through October 2nd at the U of I Stock Pavilion.

The Unreliable Bestiary is “inspired by the literary concept of the unreliable narrator and the medieval bestiary, which gave every living thing a spiritual purpose” and is “an ark of stories about animals, our relationships with them, and the worlds they inhabit.” It’s Weaver’s goal to offer a performance for every letter of the alphabet, with each letter representing a threatened or endangered animal or habitat.  

He was in conversation with author and U of I professor Brett Ashley Kaplan about this project in December; you can read about that event and CETACEAN here. As I noted in our BEST Arts of the decade article in 2019, “Weaver’s performances are clever, moving, humorous, and devastating. They are transformational: You are not the same person at the end of the performances as you were at the beginning, unless you’re dead inside.” So be sure to mark you calendars for this fall. The performances will be free. 

This is the sixth installment of the Unreliable Bestiary. Read our takes on ELEPHANT (2010), WOLF (2013), BEAR (2017), and TIGER (2019).


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