About the Grant

$32,000 to support The Source (MAP 2013)
$5,000 to general operating expenses for Beth Morrison Projects

About the Project

The Source is a new work of contemporary music-theatre written by composer Ted Hearne and novelist Mark Doten with video and scenic design by Jim Findlay. On May 22nd, 2010, alleged Wikileaks leaker PFC Bradley Manning is reported to have begun a series of IM chats with former “grey hat” hacker Adrian Lamo. Lamo informed the FBI of his interactions with Manning, and on May 26th, Manning was arrested at Camp Arifijan, Kuwait. The chat logs, published by WIRED magazine, form the basis of the work.

In spite of the fact that they took place over only a few days, the chat logs touch on a stunning variety of topics: the global war on terror, the uses and abuses of US power in Iraq and worldwide, identity and sexuality, hacker subculture, loneliness, how we treat “the other,” and whether or not an individual is able to act and truly make a difference in our contemporary world. As the chats unfold, certain lines fan into related songs, based both on original and primary-source texts, including cascades of tweets and cross-sections of leaked material. Manning’s stated conflicts with gender identity and sexual orientation are examined in relationship to his decision to become the most influential source behind Wikileaks, and to his ultimate arrest and year-long solitary confinement at Quantico Military Prison.

Through its formal aspects—the interplay of words, music and video—The Source embodies rapidly evolving global media and communication networks, and the limitation of the individual subject in grappling with the overwhelming volume of information contained therein. Rather than simply “tell the story” of Manning’s fated meeting with Lamo, the collaborators aim to harvest in the audience—in their minds, on their skin—the feel of the massive systems in which everyone is caught up. The Source is developed and produced by Beth Morrison Projects.

Related Websites

Beth Morrison Projects


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