Big Art Group is a New York based experimental performance ensemble founded by Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson in 1999. Big Art Group uses language and media to push formal boundaries of theatre, film and visual arts; it creates culturally transgressive works and innovative performances using original text, technology and experimental methods of communication. The company has produced eleven original works, including CLEARCUT, catastrophe(1999) TheBalladeer(2000), Shelf Life(2001), Flicker(2002), House of No More(2004), Dead Set #2 and #3(2006-7), The People(2007), Cinema Fury: The Sleep(2007), Cinema Fury: The Imitation(2008), and SOS(2008). In these pieces director Caden Manson invented the integrated spectacle ‘Real-Time Film,’ a hybrid of cinema and theatre in which actors recombined formal ideas of performance through the use of simultaneous acting on stage and for live video using complex choreography, puppetry and autobiography. The company’s works exists in the contemporary stream of expanded performance, wherein traditional narratives and established performer-audience relationships have been opened up to create possibilities of innovative discovery. The work blends high and low technology, marginal and mainstream culture, and blunt investigation to drive questions about contemporary experience.

In its history, the company has grown from a small New York underground performance group to an internationally prominent and critically recognized ensemble with reviews in performance literature (Theatre Journal, TDR, PAJ, Mouvement, Theatre Heute,) grants from The Jerome Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, DNA (Andrew W. Mellon foundation and Arts International,) Florence Gould Foundation, MAP Fund, étant donnés, and multiple invitations and co-productions from leading festivals and presenters of experimental performance (Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Wiener Festwochen, Szene Salzburg, PS122, Wexner Center for the Arts, DTW and the Kitchen.)

Productions

1999, CLEARCUT, catastrophe!
2000, The Balladeer
2001-2004, Shelf Life
2002-2005, Flicker
2004, Empty Island
2004-2006, House of No More
2006-2008, Dead Set #2 & 3
2007, The People – Polverigi at Inteatro Polverigi (Polverigi, Italy)
2007 – Touring, The Sleep
2008 The Imitation
2008 The People – Halle at Theater der Welt Festival (Halle, Germany)
2008 – Touring, SOS
2010 The People – Salzburg at Sommerszene Salzburg (Salzburg, Austria)
2010 Cityrama
2011 The People – San Francisco at YBCA (San Francisco, USA)
2011 Fleshtone
2012 Broke House
2012 The People – Portland at PICA

Selected Touring

CLEARCUT, catastrophe! (1999)
Kraine Theatre, NYC

The Balladeer (2000)
Kraine Theatre, NYC

2001
Shelf Life
The Kraine Theatre (NYC)

2002
Flicker
Premiere Performance Space 122 (NYC)
Théâtre Garonne (Toulouse, France)
Festival d’Automne (Paris, France)
Théâtre de Lorient (Brittany, France)

2003
Shelf Life
Pan Pan Theatre Symposium (Dublin, Ireland)
The Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Fresh Terrain/PS122/UT (Austin, TX)
The Wexner Center For The Arts (Columbus, OH)
The Warhol Museum (Pittsburg, PA)
Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt, Germany)
Sommerszene (Salzburg, Austria)

Flicker
The Via Festival (Maubeuge, France)
Inteatro Polverigi (Polverigi, Italy)
Zürcher Theater Spektakel (Zurich, Switzerland)
La Bâtie-Festival de Genève (Geneva, Switzerland)
De (internatonale) Keuze van de Rotterdamse Schouwburg (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
Le Vie de Festival (Rome, Italy)
SpielArt Festival (Munich, Germany)
Hebbel Theater (Berlin, Germany)
Mettre en Scène (Rennes, France)

2004
Shelf Life
Kaiitheatre (Brussels, Belgium)
Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin, Germany)
Festpielhaus Hellerau (Dresden, Germany)

Flicker
New Territories Festival (Glasgow, Scotland)
Emilia Romagna Teatro (Modena, Italy)
Sommerszene Festival (Salzburg, Austria)

House of No More
Performance Space 122, NYC

2005
Flicker
In Motion Festival (Barcelona, Spain)
RED/CAT (Los Angeles, CA USA)
Teatro Central (Sevilla, Spain)
VEO Festival (Valencia, Spain)
Teatro Canovas (Málaga, Spain)
Teatro Alhambra (Granada, Spain)
Teatro La Fenice (Senigallia, Italy)
Trafó (Budapest, Hungary)
STUK (Leuven, Belgium)

House of No More
Dance Theater Workshop (NYC)
Hebbel Theater (Berlin, Germany)
Théâtre Garonne/TNT (Toulouse, France)
Festival d’Automne à Paris (Paris, France)
Le Manege (Maubeuge, France)
Le Vie de Festival (Rome, Italy)
La Rose Des Vents (Villeneuve d’Asq, France)
Wexner Center (Columbus, Ohio)
Art Rock Festival (Saint-Brieuc, France)
Festival de Otoño (Madrid, Spain)
Teatro La Fenice (Sinigalia, Italy)
Semaines Internationales de la Marironnette (Neuchatel, Switzerland)
Theatre de Nimes (Nimes, France)

2006
House Of No More
Temps d’Image at L’Usine C (Montreal, Canada)
Festival Mois Multi (Québec, Canada)
Donau Festival (Krems, Austria)
Scene Festival (Salzburg, Austria)

Dead Set #2
Hebbel Theater (Berlin Germany)
La Comete (Chalons en Champagne, France)
Theatre d’Angouleme (Angouleme, France)
Festival d’Automne à Paris (Paris, France)

2007
Dead Set #3
The Kitchen (NYC)
deSignel (Antwerp, Belgium)
Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt, Germany)
Donau Festival (Krems, Austria)

The People Project
The People – Polverigi at Inteatro Polverigi (Polverigi, Italy)

The Sleep
Notte Biana (Rome Italy)

2008
The People Project
The People – Halle at Theater der Welt Festival (Halle, Germany)

SOS
Wiener Festwochen (Vienna, Austria)
Théâtre Garonne (Toulouse, France)

The Sleep
Wild Project (Workshop Showings in NYC)

2009
SOS
Temps d’Image Festival (Montreal, Canada)
The Kitchen (NYC, USA)
REDCAT (Los Angeles, USA)
Yerba Buena Arts Center (San Fransisco, USA)
Prospettiva 09 (Turin, Italy)

The Sleep
Festival Escena Abierta (Burgos, Spain)
Exodos Festival (Ljubljana, Solvenia)
Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin Germany)

2010
Cityrama
University of Bern (Bern, Switzerland)
Prospettiva 09 (Turin, Italy)

The People Project
The People – Salzburg at Sommerszene Salzburg (Salzburg, Austria)

The Sleep
Kampnagel Internationales Sommerfestival (Hamburg, Germany)

2011
Flesh Tone
Abrons Art Center (Workshop Showing NYC)

The Sleep
Abrons Art Center (Workshop Showing NYC)

The People Project
The People – San Francisco at YBCA (San Francisco, CA, USA)

2012
Broke House
Abrons Arts Center (NYC, NY)

The People Project
The People – Portland at PICA (Portland, OR, USA)

 

Awards

2012 NYSCA
2012 NPN Performance Residency Program
2011 MacDowell Colony Fellow
2011 NYSCA
2011 Headlands Center For The Arts Residency
2010 NYSCA
2009 Rockefeller MAP Fund Grant
2009 NYSCA
2009 Mid Atlantic Arts Fellowship
2004 Francis Gould Foundation Grant
2004 Greenwall Foundation Grant
2004 Etant donnés: The French-American Fund Grant
2004 Arts International Grant
2004 National Performance Network Creation Fund
2003 Rockefeller MAP Fund Grant
2002 DNA Grant
2002 Pew Fellowship In the Arts
2002 Arts International Grant
2001 Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellowship

Commissions

Weiner Festwochen
Festival d’Automne à Paris
Theatré Gâronne
Maison de la Culture de Créteil
Hebbel am Ufer
Caserne Mirabeau
Teatro di Roma – Vie dei Festival
The Wexner Center for the Arts
P.S. 122
National Performance Network

Workshops and Teaching

“Masters Directing Think Tank” Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburg, PA  (2013)
“Devised Ensemble Creation Using Randomizers and Feed Back Loops” CUNY Brooklyn MFA PIMA (2012-2013)
“Masters Teaching” Bern, Switzerland (2010)
“Theory and Practice” Hamburg, Germany (2010)
“Live Overload” Torino, Italy (2010)
“Framing the Actor” Toulouse, France (2004, 2006)
“Multimedia Workshop” Montreal, Quebec (2006, 2009)
“Dance on Camera” IFA Academy, Polverigi, Italy (2004, 2005, 2006)

Publications

2009 “Les Fantômes de l’Image-Amerique,” Mouvement #51, April-June 2009
2006 “Il territorio dell’indesiderabile,” Biblioteca Teatreale: Il Teatro Di Fine Millenio.
2005 “Theatre faces real-time manipulated image” Centre des Écritures Contemporaines Numeriques No. 2, April 2005