The People – SF Tableaux #2, Terrorism and Democracy Interview Videos

Below is the second Tableaux built by the phenomenal preformance community in San Francisco followed by the final 4 interview videos on Terrorism and Democracy.

4 Channel Tableaux screened during the Iphigenia’s Monologue of The People – SF. Made by local SF performers during the workshop Hybrid Bodies the week before the performance. Participants included Atosa Babaoff, Ben Randle, Beth Grossman, brian gibbs, christine marie, DIA vergados / DIAmanda Kallas, Ernesto Sopprani, Evan Johnson, Honey McMoney, Justin Morrison, Kate Elswit, Kevin O’Connor, Laura Arrington, Malinda Trimble, maryam rostami, Mica Sigourney, Minna Harri, Nina Otis Haft, Rachael Dichter, Sara Kraft

Terrorism Interviews:

Democracy Interviews:

Hybrid Bodies Workshop Tableaux For The People – SF

Photo: Jared Mezzocchi

 

As part of Big Art Group’s creation residency for The People – SF, Caden Manson lead a week long workshop in the company’s practice called Hybrid Bodies/Simultaneous Presence. The final two days were spent creating 4 tableaux that were incorporated into the live performance of The People – SF inside and on a 200 foot portion of the building facade. Below are the first two without sound. Origianlly played during the messenger monologue (included below)

(Text Excerpt form THE PEOPLE – SF)

Messenger

I admit, I lost myself on the way homeward. It wasn’t that the open ocean, arms flung wide, had no landmarks to lead us back to our home. We lost a sense of purpose, we lost our resolution.

What we feared most of all— us the amputees, the gravel-faced, the lettuce-skinned and prosthetic-emotioned— what we dreaded with apprehension now stitched up inside of us, this dread…

We feared– We knew something about ourselves that was irrevocable. We had stepped lightly over a threshold, and now, with regret, cast a glance back.

Where is your queen, your empress? She set the trip wires of the fire, the chain that would rush across mountains and tell you we were coming home, this cursed signal. That was apt, that flame after flame would signal our approach, now from Polverigi, from Halle, watch Salzburg burning, set fire if you don’t mind, to the whole valley floor, and let the summer fill with smoke, let them choke on it, through the intervening space and landscape and you think you can control these things but how easily a spark and cinder escapes and starts its own tyranny, and I watched the fires in Cairo, I watched the fires in Kuwait, I watched the fires in LA and Oakland, I saw the buildings ablaze downtown and felt them singe and called the pyroclast my herald to let them know that we are coming home from the great purpose of our lives we are coming home in clouds and smolders and we are bearing down like wildfire on our homeland—

The People – SF Time Lapse and Justice Interviews

As promised, here is the second set of interviews from the American premiere of THE PEOPLE – San Francisco with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts & Z Space with residency support by Headlands Center For The Arts. Over the next two weeks we will upload each of the four sections (Greek Chorus) created for the performance at Z Space on September 16 & 17, 2011.

Also Here is a short 1 minute time lapse of the show by David Szlasa from Z Space. (Thanks David!)

Justice Interviews:

The People – San Francisco (Video Interviews – War Greek Chorus)

We just finished up our creation and American premiere of THE PEOPLE – San Francisco with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts & Z Space with residency support by Headlands Center For The Arts. Over the next two weeks we will upload each of the four sections (Greek Chorus) created for the performance at Z Space on September 16 & 17, 2011. Thank you again to all the local Bay Area people that took time out to take part in the interview process.

WAR:

Backstage at THE PEOPLE – SF

Here are is a video and some photos taken by Big Art Performer, David Commander, on our final tech before we opened the piece last night.

 

YBCA and Z Space welcome New York-based performance troupe Big Art Group back to the Bay Area with their new work, The People: San Francisco, a site specific, outdoor extravaganza that combines live theater with large scale, real time video projection. The narrative, constructed from interviews with members of the local community who voice their thoughts about democracy, war, terrorism and justice as it relates to their personal histories, loosely recreates the story of Aeschylus’ Oresteia. Live theatrical reenactments are intercut with earlier, taped interviews, projected via large scale video onto the side of a building where the live play and video are viewed by the audience at street level. Perceived as a kind of “living television,” The People repurposes commonly used media strategies such as video clips, interviews and re-enactments, to explore extraordinary forces reshaping contemporary government. It then sculpts these developments into a performative action that takes as its inspiration the foundational idea of community dialogue and the birth of democracy as theatrically embodied in the Oresteia. By inverting the established relationship between “mass-media” and private exchange, it transforms the “town square” into a public performance in which both performers and audience act out crucial roles in the construction of self-government.

The People: San Francisco is part of a larger cross-cultural work in which the video choruses from each location will be combined to create a window into the cultural understanding and variation of democratic public expression. To date, three productions in the series have been presented: The People—Italy, which took place in Polverigi, Italy with the participation and support of Inteatro Polverigi in 2007, The People—Germany, at Theatre der Welt 2008 in Halle, Germany, and The People—Austria at Szene Salzburg in 2010.

Some out takes from the preparation for tonights THE PEOPLE – SF

Video Stills From The War Speech:

Video Still From The 5 Channel Tableaux Made With The People From The SF Contemporary Performance Scene:

Here Are Some Links To Prepress:
Robert Avila’s preview for The Guardian
Nirmala Nataraj’s preview for the SF Gate

More Info:
http://www.ybca.org/big-art-group

Some Of The Interviews Used As Wall Paper For The Sitcom Set:

 

Hybrid Body / Simultaneous Presence Workshop in San Francisco 9/5-9/2011

(The Application Deadline has passed)

As part of the creation and presentation of the US premiere of THE PEOPLE in San Francisco, Big Art Group is offering a free 5 day workshop in the company’s training and compositional strategies with technology and the body.

Hybrid Body / Simultaneous Presence
A 5 day workshop September 5-9, 2011 at Z Space from 1-5pm (Tuesday 9.6.2011 will be from 2:30-5pm)
1. an introduction of Big Art Group’s Performance Practice (Real Time Film)
2. training and introduction to technology and concepts
3. time-limited studio compositional exercises
4. expansion of dramaturgy to the wider scope of THE PEOPLE
5. large group 5 channel compositions based on the themes of the project to be recorded and included in Big ART Group/YBCA/Z Space THE PEOPLE-San Francisco production September 16 & 17. (Attendance not required)

-Real Time Film; Task Based Choreography, or training the body for simultaneous presence. Movement based training in awareness of the video camera and its frame; learning multiple presence, or how to accomplish overlapping performance goals through moment-to-moment acting; dramaturgy of the Image; technical discussions about evolutions in image technology and the use of technology in performance.

-Video Puppetry; Radical Exchangeability; Queering Character: creating a character that exists only as an assemblage of the effort of several actors. Working as a group, exchanging control, and thinking as a cyborg. “Queer” used as a model for thinking beyond boundaries.

-Subverting Disposability- constructing performance from socially discarded objects, ideas, and stories. Constructing sets from trash, examining the role of “Junk Fiction.”

About Z Space

Z Space
450 Florida Street, San Francisco

Founded in 1993, Z Space is a hub for artists and audiences to revel in the creation, development, and production of outstanding new work. We commission, develop, and produce a full season of new works from a variety of disciplines including theater, dance, music, performance art, and new media. We foster opportunities around the nation for these works and for their Bay Area artists. We engage diverse audiences through direct interaction with the process, the projects, and the artists.

Since 2009 we have managed and operated a 13,000 sq/ft, 268-seat performing arts venue and gallery (formerly known as Theater Artaud): home to more than 40 weeks of public multidisciplinary arts programming annually.
www.zspace.org

Funding: This program is made possible in part by funding from the Hewlett Foundation, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Bernard Osher Foundation, and the NEA.

Video Portrait of THE PEOPLE – San Francisco

YBCA’s Kai Hsing created a video portrait of our Spring residency at YBCA, Z Space, and The Headlands Center For The Arts building THE PEOPLE – San Francisco.  Premiering September 16 & 17, 2011 at Z Space as Part of YBCA’s Bay Area Now Festival.

Big Art Group in Jennifer Parker-Starbuck’s Cyborg Theatre: Corporeal/technological Intersections in Multimedia Performance

This book articulates the first theoretical context for a ‘cyborg theatre,’ metaphorically integrating on-stage bodies with the technologized, digitized, or mediatized, to re-imagine subjectivity for a post-human age. It covers a variety of examples, to propose new theoretical tools for understanding performance in our changing world.

JENNIFER PARKER-STARBUCK is a Senior Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at Roehampton University, London, UK. Her essays on bodies, animality, and multimedia have appeared in a variety of books and journals including: Theatre Journal, PAJ, Women and Performance. She is an Assistant Editor of PAJ and an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media..

Parker-Starbuck, Jennifer. “Big Art Group’s Body Politic.” Cyborg Theatre: Corporeal/technological Intersections in Multimedia Performanc3. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 197-205. Print.

The People – San Francisco September 16 & 17 2011

Big Art Group is currently editing and preparing video interviews we created with Bay Area participants during our residency at Headlands Center For The Arts this past Spring. These videos will be incorporated into the live video action performance of The People in and on the facade of Z Space in San Francisco co presented by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts September 16 & 17 2011.

Images from Italy 2007 and Germany 2008

MORE INFORMATION:

YBCA and Z Space welcome New York-based performance troupe Big Art Group back to the Bay Area with their new work, The People: San Francisco, a site specific, outdoor extravaganza that combines live theater with large scale, real time video projection. The narrative, constructed from interviews with members of the local community who voice their thoughts about democracy, war, terrorism and justice as it relates to their personal histories, loosely recreates the story of Aeschylus’ Oresteia. Live theatrical reenactments are intercut with earlier, taped interviews, projected via large scale video onto the side of a building where the live play and video are viewed by the audience at street level. Perceived as a kind of “living television,” The People repurposes commonly used media strategies such as video clips, interviews and re-enactments, to explore extraordinary forces reshaping contemporary government. It then sculpts these developments into a performative action that takes as its inspiration the foundational idea of community dialogue and the birth of democracy as theatrically embodied in the Oresteia. By inverting the established relationship between “mass-media” and private exchange, it transforms the “town square” into a public performance in which both performers and audience act out crucial roles in the construction of self-government.

The People: San Francisco is part of a larger cross-cultural work in which the video choruses from each location will be combined to create a window into the cultural understanding and variation of democratic public expression. To date, three productions in the series have been presented: The People—Italy, which took place in Polverigi, Italy with the participation and support of Inteatro Polverigi in 2007, The People—Germany, at Theatre der Welt 2008 in Halle, Germany, and The People—Austria at Szene Salzburg in 2010.  (from YBCA website)

ABOUT THE PIECE
In The People, the subjects are simultaneously audience, creators of their own scripts and actors in their own stories. The performance itself is site specific; it takes place in a public plaza using storefronts, houses, or office buildings. The space becomes the arena where the private meets the public, where the established order is inverted.

The creation of a production of The People takes place in three stages. First, approximately thirty local residents are chosen to be interviewed for the project. They are filmed being questioned by other residents on their thoughts and opinions about the chosen site, the town and their community. Drawing from this extended discussion, which also incorporates such themes from the Oresteia as personal history, democracy, war, terrorism and justice, their answers provide the basis of the production.

For the performance, the audience stands outside a chosen building. Within the building an unseen interviewer asks scripted questions to the participants inside as the audience watches a live, simulcast five channel video projection of the action on the façade of the building. What begins as a simulation of a spontaneous interview spills out into the street as a contemporary epic narrative, as the participants embody the characters of the Oresteia, revealing metaphors that turn ordinary, quotidian acts into theatrical expression. Spliced and edited onto the exterior of the buildings with the live theatrical play are the previously recorded interviews that act as video choruses.

The People is at once a component of a large-scale cross-cultural performance project and an original creation in its own right, exploring the relationship between performance, community and action. It takes place with the involvement of the local community in which the participants of the play are members of the public, creating a link between their personal stories and the realm of the epic, to shine a light on the relationship between the individual and the democratic process. It draws from classical traditions and Greek Tragedy as well as contemporary modes of mediated expression.

CREDITS
Created: Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson
Director and Scenographer: Caden Manson
Text and Sound: Jemma Nelson
Produced by Big Art Group
Lighting Design: Hillery Makatura
System Programer: Jared Mezzocchi
Production Manager: Ana Mari de Quesada
Company Performers: David Commander, Heather Litteer, Willie Mullins
Co-producers: Theatre Der Welt (Germany), Inteatro Festival (Italy), Szene Salzburg (Austria), Abrons Art Center (NYC)
Funders: MAP Fund 2009, New York State Council for the Arts