Words for Waterloo

I performed Words for Waterloo in the Vertigo series at Waterloo Center for the Arts in Iowa. This piece was developed and performed in collaboration with Waterloo residents, University of Iowa students, NWU students and faculty. This site-specific performance related to the history and present of the area and art center itself. I visited Waterloo, met with the curator of Vertigo, toured the city, visited the local history museum and spoke with locals on several visits to learn more about Waterloo, the Art Center and surrounding area. Combining that in-person observational research with online research I developed a performance that incorporated the history of labor activism, agricultural business, colonialism, racial discrimination, immigration and globalization with the history of the Art Center as a recreational facility and a cultural connector for the city of Waterloo. I used the colors of the logos of the major employers in Waterloo (John Deere, Tyson, Rath Meat Packing, Wonderbread) to create protest-style signs on wooden stakes with a single word stenciled on one side that speaks to the history of the place while poetically contradicting the word on the opposite side of the sign, for example JOY and BLOOD. Participants chose from these signs on their way to the dock where I arrived by boat to lead a strike/protest/celebration.

This project was sponsored by Nebraska Wesleyan University, University of Northern Iowa and Waterloo Center for the Arts.

Photos by Paul Newby. Copyright © Sarah Berkeley 2016.