Instigators and guest editors of a special issue of TDR, Jan Gilbert and Kevin McCaffrey, edited a collection of articles, interviews, and photographs representing post-Katrina New Orleans where creative artists took responsibility for remembering the disaster and re-visioning the city. It is a collective, intimate glimpse into the still emerging effort to think through the past and envision the future of art and performance in New Orleans. Here, they were joined by contributing writers Carol Bebelle, Anne-Liese Juge Fox, Rachel Carrico, and Catherine Michna along with many of the artists written about for their ongoing work in New Orleans including artists of: ArtSpot Productions, Ashe´ Cultural Arts Center, Junebug Productions, Mondo Bizarro, and New Noise.
“Both Jan and Kevin have backgrounds in producing work that values and theorizes a sense of intimacy with culture in action. In his oral history-driven documentary film projects, as well as in her visual arts productions, Kevin and Jan’s aesthetics exude a deep interest in how individuals strive to be in and make community. Not surprisingly, their collaborative editing of this special section not only nurtures local artist and researcher voices, but it also highlights the important aesthetic and political contributions of the many understudied, locally grounded participatory performance projects that impacted New Orleans’s recovery process. As Kevin noted to me in an email, “We wanted the practitioners and tradition keepers both as researchers and their own observers to express in their own words what they did and how they felt about it. We kept in mind that both performers and especially commentators, critics and researchers would be our readership so our approach bears that responsibility.”
Catherine Michna, Hearing the Hurricane Coming
Gilbert &/or McCaffrey continue to share lessors learned and to participate in dialogues and as advisor to relief and resilience projects as the UK Performing City Resilience Project and initiatives engaging activist community response via art.