SOS Video’s at the Opera de Lille April 6, 2013 (France)

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Big Art Group’s SOS videos are installed during Daniel Linehan’s Happy Days Carte Blanch at the Opera de Lille April 6, 2013. Other artists showing work are Michael Helland, Boglárka Börcsök, Stanislav Dobak, Anneleen Keppens,  Daniel Linehan, Eleanor Campbell, Pavle Heidler, Noé Soulier, the Ballet du Rhin, Miguel Gutierrez, Big Art Group, and Busy Rocks

The latest volley from his residence at the Lille Opera: a day entirely free to the public and giving free reign to the young American choreographer Daniel Linehan to inhabit the Opera and present a few of his works never before seen in France.

Artists involved in his first successes in New York and Brussels will also be joining the festivities, to concoct a Happy Day full of gaiety and surprises to see, hear, and dance! A playful and astonishing invitation to discover this exceptionally talented young choreographer.

Happy Days Cart Blanch a Daniel Linehan 
Opera de Lille
Lille, France
April 6, 2013

The People – Portland at PICA’s TBA Festival

Big Art Group/ The People – Portland 2012 Time-Based Art Festival, PICA, Photo by Wayne Bund
Courtesy of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.

This past September 6-8, 2012 Big Art Group presented The People – Portland as the opening for the 10th Annual Portland Institute for Contemporary Art Time Based Arts Festival (TBA). Big Art Group spent a week residency in Portland in May 2012 to scout locations and hold interviews with a cross-section of about 40 local participants. These interviews where then used to develop the script and edited into Greek choruses for the live performance. September 1-3, 2012, Caden Manson lead a three-day intensive workshop based in Big Art Group’s training and performance strategies with local performance makers. At the end of the workshop the group of 30 people creating a 2 channel video tableaux to be incorporated into the live work. Also at this time, Mr. Manson “cast” 9 local performers to be participate in the live performances. The final performances were created live inside an abandoned High School and projected in a 5 channel, 300 foot long installation on the facade of the building. As the audience watched from the ground, they could both see through the windows at the action unfolding inside and the live manipulate images on the exterior.

Below are some images of the performances. Later next week we will post the interviews.

“Big Art Group transforms Washington High School, inside and out, into a modern retelling of a Greek tragedy that’s epic both in scope and imagination” – Portland Monthly (Read Full Review)

 

BROKE HOUSE at Abrons Arts Center NYC April 6-22, 2012

Broke House (New Group Work)
Abrons Arts Center (NYC)
466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street)
New York, NY 10002

April 20, 2012 8:00pm
April 21, 2012 8:00pm
April 22, 2012 7:00pm

Broke House is a new group performance from Caden Manson / Big Art Group and follows a narrative about the residents of a house and their hanger-on, once a documentary filmmaker arrives to capture their lives. On a skeletal set webbed with video cameras, the characters try to recall their given roles as inevitably the foundations of their dreams collapse, and they are thrown into the desert of their own futures. Part comedy, part ritual, part love spell.

The Performance explores the process of construction, when that process becomes sharply interrupted by historical events, and dissolves into the shapelessness of an aftermath. Those processes that were “building” previous to the play’s beginning include a life, a family, architecture, or a system of beliefs, an economy of values, and the creation of the performance itself. But when events intervene— events like collapse, upheaval, disaster, abandonment, forgetting, fear, and strife— all the raw materials and the players themselves become deformed into a new formlessness, and enter a transitional state of potentiality. Like the pause loop in a video game, Broke House takes place in this marginal time zone.

Like all of Big Art Group’s works, Broke House offers our meditation on the current states of America, which we believe have been in flux for at least as long as our ensemble has been up and running. Beyond the topical symptoms of foreclosure crises, credit crises, occupy movements and extremist rhetoric, we suppose that the metaphorical heart of the country has been suffering, and perhaps has decided to rebuild the body that surrounds it.

“True to their name, Big Art Group’s performances are big in every possible way: prismatic visuals hurtle across a panoply of screens, dazzling with flashing colors; strange conjunctions of video imagery captured live by a battery of cameras and spliced together in real time, ambush the eye; digital soundscapes thrum, groan, and roar at synesthesia-inducing volumes.” – Jacob Gallagher-Ross, The Drama Review

Press from the January Showings:

Editor’s Pick in Flavorpill http://flavorpill.com/newyork/events/2012/4/6/big-art-groups-broke-house
Interview in Culturebot http://culturebot.net/2012/04/13035/big-art-groups-broke-house-at-abrons-arts/
Write up in ARTFORUM http://artforum.com/diary/id=29998
Critique by @performaddict http://bit.ly/wCV32v
NYTheater Review http://nytheatre.com/Show/Review/brok14337
Write up in Design Envy http://bit.ly/yhJ68p
Write up in Performance Club http://bit.ly/ApXO2b

Images from Jan 2012 Showings and Rehearsals:

 

Company
Big Art Group is a New York performance ensemble using language and media to push formal boundaries of performance, digital media and visual arts creating culturally transgressive works using original text and technology. Big Art Group’s diverse ensemble explores, develops and produces innovative new performances. The company has produced eleven original works. and in its eleven year history, the company has become a nationally and internationally prominent and critically recognized ensemble with publications in major journals, PAJ, Theater, TDR, Theater der Zeit, Theater Heute and co-productions with Festival d’Automne, Vienna Festival, Hebbel am Ufer, Le Vie de Festival, Wexner Center For The Arts, MAC Créteil, Théâtre Garonne, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. bigartgroup.com Twitter: @bigartgroup

Credits:
Created by Caden Manson, Jemma Nelson, Big Art Group
Direction and Scenography by Caden Manson
Sound by Jemma Nelson
Assistant Director Kathleen Amshoff and Bradley Kal Hagen
Performed by David Commander, Nicholas Gorham, Heather Litteer, Willie Mullins, Matthew Nasser, Edward Stresen-Reuter, Rebecca Sumner Burgos
Lighting Design by Hillery Makatura
Production Manager Ana Mari de Quesada
Sculpture Caden Manson and Jeffrey Ralston
Video System Design by Caden Manson and Jared Mezzocchi
Video System Tech Dan Hansell
Interns Simone Serlenga and Dries Vandrope

Broke House is produced by Big Art Group with support from King’s Fountain and NYSCA

Supported by James Davison, Desi Santiago, Ted Henigson, theARTcorps, Ryan Davis, Alan Cumming, joan Raspo, Drew Brody, William Lynn, Julie Tolentino, Hill Family, Ivan Gothner and Betsy Davison, Alyssa Fannick, Robert Litteer, Jen Parker-Starbuck, Sean Pierce and Lucy Pierce and Theo Kogan, paul gardner, John Issendorf, Grant Shaffer, Jill Emerson, Brian Bauman, Amy Sadao, Mambo Movers, Ryan Sorkin, Linsey Bostwick, Mikeah Ernest Jennings, Ilaria Mancia, Hillery Makatura, Justin Vivian Bond, Davis Freeman

Thank You to Barbara and Henry Pilsbury, James Davison, Culture Hub, Abrons Arts Center and Staff, American Realness Staff and Crew. Diane White, Theo Kogan and Sean Pierce, Nathan Carrera, Sean Bumgarner, La MaMa, La Galleria, and SpankArtMag.com

Bios:
@CadenManson #cofounder @BigArtGroup bigartgroup.com #curator #editor @pformart contemporaryperformance.org #director #VisualArtist #scenographer #teacher #FromTheFuture

#JemmaNelson #cofounder @bigartgroup bigartgroup.com #writer #painter #SoundDesigner #teacher #cinematographer #published #TheaterJournal @TheaterHeute @Mouvementrevue

#KathleenAmshoff #assistantdirector @bigartgroup #director kathleen.amshoff.com #upcomingwork swellshow.org #womencenterstage

#DavidComander @MouthCommander #writer #performer #director #showswithdolls #12yrswithbigartgroup #onyoutube #onvimeo #nowebsite #findmeonFaceBook

#AnaMarideQuesada @adqnyc #GeneralManager thewildproject.com #FreelanceProductionManager

#NicholasGorham #actor #performer #artist #creatorofthespectrumartspace #canadian #onyoutube #andfacebook #upcomingjan30th @dixonplace.org

@Dan_Hansell #lightingdesigner #backstagetroll #draftsman #computeraddict #worldtraveler #politicsarguer #loveroffastfood #loverofbadjokes

#HeatherLitteer @redrabbitnyc #Actress #PerformanceArtist #Chanteuse Film #RequiemForaDream #BalladofBettiePage #IntheCut #NewTwenty. #DanceSingle #Apokalips #Curated W.O.(e).R.D. #LegendJackieFactory heatherlitteer.com

@HilleryMakatura #TechnicalDirector @BigArtGroup #TechnicalDirectorActorsStudio #TechnicalDirector @trishabrown #LightingDesigner #MasterElectrician @NS4DRAMA #Organizer #BikeRider #LoveroffineBBQ

@JaredMezzocchi #VideoProgramsDesign @BigArtGroup #MediaDesigner @ThreeLeggedDog #MultiMedia_Director&Designer @JaredMezzocchi.com

#WillieFarradMullins @FarradMusic #actor #singer #dancer #songwriter #popstar #farrad.com #leftbrainrightbrain #makingmoves #peaceandlove

@MattNasser #actor #singer #director #filmmaker mattnasser.com #curator @lamamagalleria #performanceartist #companymember @LaMaMaETC #singleandlooking #availableforhire

#JeffreyRalston #VisualArtist #Teacher #CoProducerandDj xanadudenyc.wordpress.com #InstallationsandLighting spankartmag.com #Lighting mistersaturdaynight.com

#RebeccaSumnerBurgos #PerformedWith @Carmelita Tropicana #Chicas2000 #MemberOf #DazzleDancers #ChillingSocialRealist #CocoFrio #VoicedActed #CocoFusco #IncredibleDisappearingWoman #FilmWork #LatinBoysGoToHell #FoundingMember @BigArtGroup @MastersIn American Studies @NYU #Translation @UniversidaddePuertoRico

#EdwardStresen-Reuter #actor #filmmaker #editor #photographer #formergapmodel @neddershred

Party Pics From Last Night’s Holiday Performance Blow Out!

A big art thank you to everyone that came out last night! We had such a good time performing with our friends. Thank you to Matthew Nasser and Eastern Bloc for hosting us. Thank you to the Big Art performers; Heather Litteer (I will never think of santa clause the same again), FARRAD (turned us out!), Nicholas Gorham ( A very dark christmas carol [Channing] ), and David Commander (action toy Chekhov and the messiest gogo every, I think I still have goo on me). Take a look at the gallery below and check out our online (anti-Kickstarter) fundraiser. Our next group work, Broke House opens in NYC Jan 5th at the American Realness Festival.

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:

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

Big Art Group at PS122’s OLD SCHOOL 122 BENEFIT June 25, 2011

We are happy to announce our participation in PS122’s OLD SCHOOL 122 BENEFIT on Saturday June 25 (NYC). PS122 was the first presenting organization to co-produce one our our pieces. Flicker and House of No More were both co-produced and premiered at PS122.

The line up for that night is Big Art Group, New York City Players, The Wooster Group, Elevator Repair Service, John Zorn, Amanda Palmer, David Leslie, Split Britches, Big Dance Theatre, Carmelita Tropicana with music by Bob Wonder and The Future Ex-Wives.

We’ll present a short excerpt from SOSREMIX and the Balloon Action. Come out and support 30 years of ground breaking work at PS122 and send the organization off with a bang as they leave their building for renovations.

Big Art Group – Scissor Sisters Collaboration at Bonnaroo Festival June 11, 2011

This weekend Big Art Group will be at the Bonnaroo Festival in support of the Scissors Sisters. We built 4 sculptural and spectacular moments for their summer festival tour. After this they head out in July to festivals and venues in Europe and beyond. Check out our stuff with them if you’re near a festival. They are an amazing band and we’ve been so happy to have the chance to work with them. You can see their tour dates here. Big Art Group will be in North American this summer developing THE PEOPLE – San Francisco for Sept 16 & 17 2011 with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Z Space in SF and also CITYRAMA for the European Cultural Capital 2011 in Tallinn Estonia for the end of October.  Below are some images and video from the last Scissor Sisters show at Coachella back in April.

 

In April, Big Art Group collaborated with the Scissor Sisters to present sculptural and spectacular visuals for their shows at The Warfield in San Francisco and headlining the Mohave Tent at the Coachella Rock Festival outside of Los Angeles in Palm Desert. Using light, wind, mylar, silk, and mirrors, we created 4 events within their live set. Below is a video and some pictures from the shows.

Photos:


Press Quotes:

Launching their set with a fountain of silver metallic helium filled balloons that exploded into the crowd – very Andy Warhol “Silver Clouds – the audience continued to hoist deflated pieces above their head as they danced themselves into a sweaty mess for the band’s entire set.” – LA Times

“Scissor Sisters—who started and ended while Arcade Fire’s set was still going — brought a giddily explosive contrast to the dignified reserve of the main stage act, with singer/hypewoman Ana Matronic praising the women for dressing like sluts (her word, not ours) and imploring men to add more hot pants to their wardrobe (possibly preaching to the converted). Musically, the joyful atmosphere never wavered through songs like “Filthy/Gorgeous” and their discofied cover of “Comfortably Numb.”

The bands weren’t without their similarities. Both employed audience participation-ready props; with inflatable orbs housing multicolored lights infiltrating the Arcade Fire crowd, and Scissor Sisters assailing their fans with silver foil tendrils at the start of their set.” – LA Record

Mirror Jacket Test at Headlands Residency

Here is a video of Laura Arrington testing the mirrored jacked in the sunlight streaming through the window of her Headlands Residency studio. Thank you Laura for letting us move in for awhile.

Big Art Group in TDR: The Drama Review Winter 2010 Issue

“Image Eaters”, a 36 page article by Jacob Gallagher-Ross about the work of Big Art Group, has been published in this quarters edition of TDR: The Drama Review.

Excerpt:

Theatre artists keen to investigate the theatrical possibilities of technological image-making must inevitably contend with the wearisome grumbling issuing from critics who see the invasion of screens, electronic sounds, and pop culture materials as heralding theatre’s surrender to predatory corporate interests and banal mass culture — relinquishing its supposedly sacral mission to present breathing bodies to a temporary community of other such bodies. But far from signaling the end of theatre’s vitality, Big Art Group’s innovations are renovating the art form for our media-baffled moment. Their theatrical methods are descended from Brecht: opening the apparatus of modern image-manufacturing to dissecting scrutiny, they take the discrepancies between live bodies onstage and their onscreen doppelgangers as a figure for media culture’s many forms of transubstantiation. Not content with staging simple binaries — live or recorded, image or material presence — Big Art Group graphs a spectrum: bodies that crave the hi-def perfection of the video image; images that long to be ratified by eliciting sensuous responses in the viewer. – Jacob Gallagher-Ross (TDR/The Drama Review Winter 2010, Vol. 54, No. 4 (T208): 54–80.)

TDR: The Drama Review is a quarterly journal focusing on performances in their social, economic, aesthetic, and political contexts. The journal covers dance, theatre, music, performance art, visual art, popular entertainment, media, sports, rituals, and performance in politics and everyday life. TDR is owned by New York University and is published in hard copy and online by the MIT Press.

SOS published in Yale Theater Journal

Big Art Group’s 11th group work, SOS, is on the cover and inside this month’s Yale Theater Journal with an introductory article on the production by Jacob Gallagher-Ross.

IMG_4298“Presented at New York’s the Kitchen in March 2009, as the aftermath of the credit cataclysm continued to convulse the nation, Big Art Group’s SOS stages the theatrical equivalent of the financial crisis, a conflagration of the society of spectacles. The housing bubble, the company suggests, was a symptom of a more dangerous, and ongoing, process of inflation. SOS depicts an unmoored culture in which signs can only be exchanged for other signs, every radical gesture is already a marketing strategy, and “realness” is a value that arrives prepackaged for sale. Big Art Group suggests that, in addition to its gapped balance sheets, today’s America also has a reality deficit, an addiction to ever-increasing levels of abstraction. SOS revs America’s culture of headlong consumption to fever pitch, suggesting that renewal is possible only through destruction”
Jacob Gallagher-Ross, Theater Journal

For more than thirty years Theater has been the most informative, serious, and imaginative American journal available to readers interested in contemporary theater. It has been the first publisher of pathbreaking plays from writers as diverse as Rinde Eckert, Richard Foreman, David Greenspan, W. David Hancock, Peter Handke, Sarah Kane, and Adrienne Kennedy. Theater has also featured lively polemics and essays by dramatists including Dario Fo, Heiner Müller, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Mac Wellman. Special issues have covered theater and ecology, new music-theater, South African theater, theater and social change, new Polish directing, and theater and the apocalypse.

IMG_4302

Editor:
Tom Sellar, Yale University

Associate Editors:
Miriam Felton-Dansky
Jacob Gallagher-Ross
You can purchase your copy in NYC from St. Marks Book Shop or online at dukepress.com

Big Art Group discussed in Chris Salter’s new book ENTANGLED: Technology And The Transformation Of Performance

ENTANGLED: Technology And The Transformation Of Performance explores technology’s influence on artistic performance practices in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In Entangled, Chris Salter shows that technologies, from the mechanical to the computational—from a “ballet of objects and lights” staged by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1917 to contemporary technologically enabled “responsive environments”—have been entangled with performance across a wide range of disciplines. Salter examines the rich and extensive history of performance experimentation in theater, music, dance, the visual and media arts, architecture, and other fields; explores the political, social, and economic context for the adoption of technological practices in art; and shows that these practices have a set of common histories despite their disciplinary borders.

[amazonify]0262195887[/amazonify]

Think Big in The New Yorker

The inimitable Hilton Als writes up Big Art Group in The New Yorker

Big Art Group is the brass-band name of the experimental theatre party founded by Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson in 1999….The group’s new piece “Flesh Tone” (at Abrons Arts Center, April 15-18) will no doubt further italicize their credo: theatre not only shows our inner selves at work; it makes us better for having experienced it. Out loud. 

Read more–>

Tickets:

THE SLEEP (NYC Premiere)
Experimental Theater @ Abrons
April 15-18, 2010 @ 7:00pm
Buy Tickets

FLESH TONE (Preview)
Playhouse @Abrons
April 15-18, 2010 @ 8:30pm
Buy Tickets

10 Years of Big Art Video

With our upcoming 10th anniversary weekend TAKE OVER at Abrons Art Center (NYC) happening in less than a week, Big Art has releases a short video montage of our works with commentary by Under The Radar Festival’s Mark Russell and The Kitchen’s Matthew Lyons.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Information:


THE SLEEP (NYC Premiere)

Experimental Theater @ Abrons
April 15-18, 2010 @ 7:00pm
Buy Tickets $15

FLESH TONE (Preview)
Playhouse @Abrons
April 15-18, 2010 @ 8:30pm
Buy Tickets $15

4 Channel Video Installation
Underground @ Abrons
April 15-18, 2010 All Day
FREE

Big Art Group Interviewed by Justin Bond for Brooklyn Rail

Recently Big Art Group sat down with Justin Bond to talk about the 10 years of Big Art Group.

Caden Manson: I’m proud of the company, and how it’s grown and the talent of everyone that’s been in it, and how they all have grown in those ten years, too. Also where we’ve been and the audiences we’ve reached, because I think it’s a unique opportunity to be able to have played the places that we’ve played in Europe and in the United States on both coasts, because the audiences are different in each place.

Rehearsal Still from the upcoming preview of Flesh Tone

Rehearsal Still from the upcoming preview of Flesh Tone

Nelson: The idea of the weekend at Abrons Arts Center is that it’s past, present, and future. You can come see these video installations that represent past work, “SOS Animals” and “The Imitation.” And then there’s the present, which is “The Sleep,” which is the musical collaboration that we’ve been working on with Theo Kogan and Sean Pierce. And there’s the future in “Flesh Tone,” which is our new group work, which is still in development.

Rail: I was at your very first casting call, and have seen your process: cultivating actors, and training them and getting them into the mindset and the physical exertion that it takes for the complexity of the choreography of your pieces. The first one we did, which was “CLEARCUT, catastrophe!,” had a certain amount of choreography, but it really jumped from there to the next piece, which was “Shelf Life.” With the amount of choreography and the complexity of what you had your actors do, there was probably a huge learning curve for you. But now, bringing the new actors in, I would imagine that it’s exciting for them.

Read more at Brooklyn Rail

The Sleep Album Release

Big Art Group’s 10th Anniversary TAKE OVER at Abrons Art Center is 2 weeks away (April 15-18, 2010) and we are releasing The Sleep album online! Click below to listen to the newest track “Bronze”. Music is by Theo Kogan, Sean Pierce and Jemma Nelson.

06 Bronze

Buy the full album here.

Picture 21

Tickets on sale now for The Sleep and Flesh Tone – Part of the Big Art Group TAKE OVER at Abrons Art Center April 15-18, 2010.

THE SLEEP in the Experimental (NYC Premiere)
April 15-18, 2010 at 7:00pm
Click here for Tickets – $15

The Sleep mixes early cinema techniques, magic lantern, concept album and Big Art Group’s Real Time Film technique into a live see-though movie adapted from M. P. Shiel’s 1901 story, “The Purple Cloud,” in which a lone explorer races to the North Pole while a poison purple cloud covers the earth. His subsequent return to the remnants of civilization drives him into a crisis of being, in a classic “last man” adventure that eerily presages catastrophic climate change. Live music by Theo Kogan, Sean Pierce, and Jemma Nelson. Supported by the Greenwall Foundation.

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FLESH TONE in the Playhouse (Preview)
April 15-18, 2010 at 8:30pm
Click here for tickets – $15

Big Art Group’s new project Flesh Tone is told through hybrid, hallucinatory storytelling influenced by steely Hollywood thrillers and filtered though the company’s breathtaking mediated performance techniques, Real Time Film and Green Screen Performance. A character-driven critique of the American way of looking at the world, Flesh Tone turns the visual economy of the US into an acid bath of self-exposure. Confronting social issues of economic and environmental degradation, a war-scarred national psyche, and transformed bodies, Flesh Tone queries Image-America about a possible path to reconciliation with its own monstrous reflection This live performance spans cinema, visual art, and spectacle in an utterly unique, compelling event.

Flesh Tone returns to the conceptual and performative model of Real Time Film and Live Green Screen Performance technique the group pioneered in 2001 with its trilogy of works Shelf Life, Flicker, and House of No More. Flesh Tone delves deeper into the techniques and the questions these hybrid forms raise, moving beyond the Film-Theatrical hybrid of the group’s earlier works to create a theatre of mediated information in which action, re-enactment and special effect create a participatory spectacle with the “active editor” audience member. For Big Art Group, the theatrical event is based not on illusion, but on a synthesis of simulation and impersonation, on the ritualized action of recreating a readable, multi-layered Image Theatre.

10th Anniversary TAKE OVER in NYC

To celebrate 10 years of innovative work, Big Art Group takes over all three Abrons Art Center performance spaces with projects past, present, and future.

April 15-18, 2010
Abrons Art Center
Henry Street Settlement
466 Grand Street, NYC
t:212.598.0400 f:212.505.8329
www.abronsartscenter.org

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THE SLEEP in the Experimental (NYC Premiere)
April 15-18, 2010 at 7:00pm
$15

the_sleep
The Sleep mixes early cinema techniques, magic lantern, concept album and Big Art Group’s Real Time Film technique into a live see-though movie adapted from M. P. Shiel’s 1901 story, “The Purple Cloud,” in which a lone explorer races to the North Pole while a poison purple cloud covers the earth. His subsequent return to the remnants of civilization drives him into a crisis of being, in a classic “last man” adventure that eerily presages catastrophic climate change. Live music by Theo Kogan, Sean Pierce, and Jemma Nelson. Supported by the Greenwall Foundation.

__________________________________________________________________________________

FLESH TONE in the Playhouse (Preview)
April 15-18, 2010 at 8:30pm
$15

Big Art Group’s new project Flesh Tone is told through hybrid, hallucinatory storytelling influenced by steely Hollywood thrillers and filtered though the company’s breathtaking mediated performance techniques, Real Time Film and Green Screen Performance. A character-driven critique of the American way of looking at the world, Flesh Tone turns the visual economy of the US into an acid bath of self-exposure. Confronting social issues of economic and environmental degradation, a war-scarred national psyche, and transformed bodies, Flesh Tone queries Image-America about a possible path to reconciliation with its own monstrous reflection This live performance spans cinema, visual art, and spectacle in an utterly unique, compelling event.

Flesh Tone returns to the conceptual and performative model of Real Time Film and Live Green Screen Performance technique the group pioneered in 2001 with its trilogy of works Shelf Life, Flicker, and House of No More. Flesh Tone delves deeper into the techniques and the questions these hybrid forms raise, moving beyond the Film-Theatrical hybrid of the group’s earlier works to create a theatre of mediated information in which action, re-enactment and special effect create a participatory spectacle with the “active editor” audience member. For Big Art Group, the theatrical event is based not on illusion, but on a synthesis of simulation and impersonation, on the ritualized action of recreating a readable, multi-layered Image Theatre.

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2 FOUR CHANNEL VIDEO INSTALLATIONS in the Underground
April 15-18, 2010 all day
FREE

SOS/ANIMALS 2010
SOS/Animals
was filmed on location in the industrial district of Greenpoint Brooklyn with the Animals from Big Art Group’s 2009 group work SOS.

imitation
The Imitation
is based on the 2008 group work by the same name and features singers Theo Kogan and Justin Bond.

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SPECIAL PACKAGES

OPENING NIGHT VIP TAKE OVER
Package covers admission to see both The Sleep (7:00pm) and Flesh Tone (8:30pm) on opening night, April 15. VIPs receive a Big Art Group gift bag, an invitation to the after-performance toast with the company, and free admission to the after party at the Delancey Bar, 168 Delancey Street.
$100

TAKE OVER PACKAGE (see both performances for one price)
Package discounts the admission to see both The Sleep (7:00pm) and Flesh Tone (8:30pm).
$25

SOS (2008 – Touring)

SOS is an investigation into the nature of sacrifice within a supersaturated, hyper-acquisitive society. Set in a theatrical space that plays with the idea of representation, where the cables and cameras of surveillance appear as a forest of technology, the performance unwinds through overlapping abstract narratives. Animals (played by actors in plushy costumes and body mounted cameras) pushed from their native habitat turn on each other in a hopeless contest for survival. Televised Trans-Variant Revolutionaries from the Realness Liberation Front broadcasting in a skeletal studio implode under the pressure and failure of their own rhetoric. Social networking addicts enmeshed in a self-created universe seek escape from a tightening web of perception. As these scenarios vibrate against one another, the action transforms into a celebration of renewal though chaos.

Creation History:

2008
Wiener Festwochen (Vienna, Austria)
Theatre Garrone (Toulouse, France)

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

Press:

“The show is outrageous, brilliantly designed, and incredibly smart.”
– L Magazine

“Yes! Here is something with enough smarts, humor, speed, and daring for this moment: Big Art Group’s new hybrid production, SOS.”
– NY Theater

“Big Art Group mixes video and mystical rites for its mesmerizing spectacle SOS.”
– NY Time Out

“The final moment, was the single most visually compelling thing we have seen on stage, maybe ever, and likely worth the price of admission in and of itself. To that end, it also served as a reminder that Big Art Group remains one of the boldest crews around, and their work at the intersection of video and performance persists as uniquely important. “ – Artcat Zine

“It’s like standing in the big-screen-TV section of a Best Buy, but with the volume on every set cranked to “maximum.”
– New York Times

Co-Producers:

Wiener Festwochen, The Kitchen. Developed with the facilities and support of the Digital Performance Institute and The Abrons Arts Center’s Artist Workspace.

Big Art Group featured in the Village Voice article about the best progressive theater in NYC

Tom Sellar has penned an article about the state of the avant garde/experimental/progressive theater in the Village Voice that features Big Art Group and one of the best progressive performance companies.

Many of New York’s edgier ensembles have been drawing on non-dramatic source material (i.e., no plays) and creating work that mirrors other media forms—two impulses historically embraced by modernist avant-gardes, of course, but sometimes yielding original results today. Big Art Group, for instance, makes a touchstone out of synthesizing media elements. SOS, their 2009 show at the Kitchen, offered a spiraling series of hallucinations of consumer catastrophe—simultaneously humorous and apocalyptic. Scenes alternated between terrified animals fending for themselves in the Darwinian wilderness, and grotesque chats between urban creatures of consumption. The group used live projections, computer graphics, and a dense soundtrack to create an overstimulated (but deliberately oppressive) mediascape, which was somehow charmingly homemade.

SOS points to a category of experiment under way in alternative theater, which might be described as Internet dramaturgy: live performances structured around nonlinear associations, a continual or escalating series of non sequiturs, or constantly regenerated narrative frames. These dramatic forms echo our now-daily experiences of clicking through multiple sites and toggling between realities. Stage compositions increasingly reflect structures and patterns from the Web, a development ripe with potential.

… But in the next era—now under way—there’s an appetite and opportunity for enlarging the theatrical experience in New York. If anyone can seize the day, it may be Big Art Group, Nature Theater, and anyone else with the intellectual muscle to build up the vanguard.

Read the full article at VillageVoice.com

The Sleep NYC Premiere April 15-18, 2010

The Sleep mixes early cinema techniques, magic lantern, rock concert and Big Art Group’s Real Time Film technique into a live see-though movie adapted from M. P. Shiel’s 1901 story, “The Purple Cloud,” in which a lone explorer races to the North Pole while a poison purple cloud covers the earth. His subsequent return to the remnants of civilization drives him into a crisis of being, in a classic “last man” adventure that eerily presages catastrophic climate change. Music by Theo Kogan, Sean Pierce, and Jemma Nelson.

Upcoming Performance

Abrons Art Center (NYC Premiere)
April 15-18, 2010 @ 7pm

Creation History:

2009
The Wild Project (NYC – showing)
Festival Escena Abierta (Burgos, Spain)
Exodos Festival (Ljubljana, Solvenia)
Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin Germany)

Funding:

Greenwall Foundation

THE PEOPLE (Italy 2007, Germany 2008, Serial Project)

THE PEOPLE is a transformation of civil life: an expansion of the experiments of real-time film to a panoramic new scale: the conversion of a village into a multi-location video shoot, simultaneously projected & broadcast into the public square: a retelling of the Oresteia in the age of information war and electric vengeance: a counterstrike from the culturally assaulted.

Creation History:

2007
THE PEOPLE – POLVERIGI
Inteatro Festival (Polverigi, Italy)

2008
THE PEOPLE _ HALLE
Theatre Der Welt (Halle, Germany)

Upcoming:

THE PEOPLE – SALZBURG
July 2010

THE PEOPLE – Philadelphia
September 2010

“What Could We Build, or Is the Future Already Behind Us?: A Forum” – Big Art Group published in Yale’s Theater Magazine

Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson have been published in Yale’s Theater Magazine. They were part of “What Could We Build, or Is the Future Already Behind Us?A Forum” during Prelude15 Festival along with David LevineDavid ConisonRyan McNamaraAlexandro Segadeand Tom Sellar. Available online at Duke Journals.

“For the 2015 Prelude festival, held at New York’s Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, cocurator Antje Oegel and I wanted to think about architecture in two ways. First, we invited artistic leaders of New York’s newest theater buildings—Performance Space 122 and St. Ann’s Ware- house—to present their plans to an audience of artists and professionals. We wanted to know why these structures were going up and what the ideas were behind their designs. We talked about how they would (ostensibly) contribute to the urban ecology and what opportunities they might o er artists and audiences.

For the second part of this initiative, we invited a handful of hometown theater makers to imagine ideal architectures for future performance: anything from a building to a technol- ogy, a public assembly or any other kind of structure. They presented their projects live and in a modest exhibit—and a spirited discussion ensued. Is architecture about more than just buildings? What’s the use of utopian fantasies like this—are they essential nourishment in a city dominated by commerce, where culture easily becomes another commodity? Was the curato- rial prompt a form of entrapment for artists who prefer to work around limitations and come up with something real? What did these artists’ thought experiments reveal about the creative needs of the city when placed next to the building projects actually going up in the metropolis?” – Tom Sellar

 

Shout Out In The New York Times

Our friends and collaborators are featured in the NYTimes for their 7 years of working and presenting the SPANK Art Zine and Party. We’ve been collaborating with them and helping to curate performance into their art parties since day one and they gave Big Art Group a little shout out! Go read up and then join their mailing list. You might just catch us making a spectacle of ourselves at the next one.

 

In Print: The People in Danish Teater1 Magazine

theater1

Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson spoke with Mette Garfield, co editor of the Danish Theater Magazine Teater1, on the occasion of Big Art Group’s performances of THE PEOPLE – LES at Abrons Arts Center in New York. In the article and interview Big Art Group discusses the performance of democracy, contemporary tragedy, and Big Art Group’s use of technology in participatory live events.

“Its not high tech or low tech, its me and you tech” – Caden Manson

After Spectacularity published in Theater Magazine

In Print: Big Art Group’s THE PEOPLE – L.E.S. Featured in Exeunt Magazine

© Grant Shafer

© Grant Shaffer

“New York-based performers Big Art Group came home to Abrons Arts Center this month, with their show The People, an experiment in democracy-building as only this adventurous, tech-savvy company could imagine it.”

Click here to read the full article. http://exeuntmagazine.com/features/with-democracy-and-theater-for-all/

Big Art Group at PRELUDE13 Oct 3, 2013 5:30 pm – 6:15 pm (NYC) Free!

SONY DSC

This coming Thursday, Big Art Group will be giving a presentation on our serial project THE PEOPLE at PRELUDE13. We will also show video from the 6 other installments and perform a short section of the work. Come by and chat with us afterwards. We are also looking for collaborators for the New York installment in MAY 2014.

Big Art Group at PRELUDE
Thursday, October 3, 2013
5:30 pm – 6:15 pm | Elebash Recital Hall
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016-4309
ph: 212-817-1860
FREE!

The People – L.E.S. is the 6th installment of a serial project created by Big Art Group. It takes place as an hour long live performance simulcast in a 5-channel wide monument sized video on the outside of a public building to a audience viewing from the street. Incorporating Big Art Group’s virtuosic mix of live action/video, the narrative is constructed from interviews conducted with community members of the Lower East Side, who voice their thoughts about democracy, war, terrorism and justice as it relates to their personal histories.it retells a version of the Greek tragedy cycle The Oresteia to investigate the contemporary nature of democracy and justice and the relationship of the networked public to mediated information.

Artist StatementThe People serial project originated as a 2007 commission from Inteatro Polverigi in Ancona, Italy and the desire of the company to create a project that interacted deeply with the community as well as drawing its dramaturgy from local participants. It takes its narrative from the Greek tragic cycle The Oresteia, in which the citizens of Athens come together to arbitrate a solution to a series of murders precipitated by a bloody code of justice that demands revenge for every blood crime. The project has been co-produced and presented with Inteato Polverigi (Italy), Theater der Welt (Germany), Szene Salzburg (Austria), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), and TBA Festival (Portland, Oregon).

About Big Art Group: Big Art Group was founded in New York in 1999 by Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson. The company uses language and media to push formal boundaries of theatre, digital media and visual arts creating live performances, installations, participatory events and online works using original text and immersive technology. In its short history, the company has risen to international prominence through its Real-Time Film trilogy (Shelf LifeFlickerHouse of No More), and its collaborative, site-specific, and ensemble work (The SleepCinema FuryThe People, S.O.S.). It has toured extensively in Europe and North America (Festival d’Automne à Paris, Hebbel am Ufer, Wiener Festwochen, Szene Salzburg, REDCAT, Usine C and many others) as well as regularly presenting work in New York (Abrons Arts Center, The Kitchen, PS 122, Dance Theater Workshop).

Upcoming for The PeopleThe People – L.E.S. will be presented with Abrons Arts Center at the end of April 2014.

In Print: Big Art Group’s BROKE HOUSE featured in Artpress

Jennifer, Parker-Starbuck. “Le Théâtre Cyborg.” Art Press 2.25 (2012): 85-91. Print.

Big Art Group’s latest production, Broke House, is featured in Jennifer Parker-Starbuck’s article, Cyborg Theatre, published in the current edition of ARTPRESS.

“Big Art Group develops work that challenges notions of American cultural identity; their characters move through scenarios that cannot be divorced from their technological surroundings. Broke House is a Chekhov for the twenty-first century; a biting mediation on an eroding nation symbolized by the deconstruction of the skeletal frame of the characters’ house over the course of the show”  – Jennifer Parker-Starbuck, Artpress

In Print: Big Art Group included in “My Screens Are Killing Me, or Watching Hurts” by Sue-Ellen Case published in Theater Magazine

Pictured Jeffery Rose, Rebecca Sumner Burgos, Cary Curran

Sue-Ellen Case, Distinguished Professor and chair of the doctoral program in theater and performance studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, has included Big Art Group in her article “My Screens Are Killing Me, or Watching Hurts.” in the current Theater magazine 42.1. In the article she discusses the the genealogy of spectating violence on stage and the feminist critic built into several pieces.

“They Reveal how the body and a film are coproducing one another – what Jason Farman has described as a dialogic relationship between the real and virtual body.

Case, Sue-Ellen. “My Screens Are Killing Me, or Watching Hurts.” Theater 42.1 (2012): 21-31. Print.