Alexis Soloski did a nice article in the Village Voice about Multimedia in Theater. Here are our responses to her questions.

Alexis Soloski wrote an article in the Village Voice about Multimedia in Theater. Here are Jemma Nelson and my full responses to her interview questions.


AS–> I understand this piece, like much of your work, makes ample use of live video. How does the video story intersect with the form)?

B!G–> The use of live video continues Big Art Group’s investigation into the construction of the Image and the gap between Realness and the Real. In this particular piece, a roving tethered “documentary filmmaker” provides a framed point of view, while surveillance cameras provide shots of otherwise unseeable spaces. There is no separation of content of the piece from form, this is an ancient division of labor to which we do not subscribe. In our performance model, all information, from the biographies of the actors to the sound effects, interact to construct the Image-Event.


AS–> With marked technological content what makes the work theater, theatrical

B!G–> We make performance, so providing theatrical justification doesn’t interest us. Big Art Group focuses on the breaks and fissures in the constructed image. A question of framing (who is framing  and what is beyond the frame) runs throughout the work.


AS–> What attracts you to use video in the theater? What does it permit that unmediated performance wouldn’t allow?

B!G–> We are all voracious image eaters and producers. We create and consume images daily. It is the international language of commerce and anti-commerce. We video-chat, blog, tweet, and post images to our friends and family. Big Art Group understands that our audience has a facility with technology and reflects that in the construction of our live work. Its important for us to speak the language of the everyday and that language is Image.


AS–> Are there any drawbacks? Theater’s selling point has always been its liveness, the idea that living spectators and living actors together create and event in a particular moment, what theorists like Grotowski call “communion.” Film and video can interrupt that liveness. What do you do to bring the audience back? To make sure they’re communally engaged?

B!G–> ‘Communal engagement’ has a different meaning today, considering the rise of social media and online networking, and by that measure traditional theatre that spurns technology fails to address a whole host of contemporary social issues from new conceptions of identity to power and economic structures that shape current experience. We created our performance ensemble in order to speak a contemporary language, and so we feel compelled to engage and confront these issues either by technological strategies or by whatever tools we find useful. For those who have a preconceived idea of what theatre ‘should’ be, I would not recommend one of our events; we make work for the curious, the queer, the rebels, and the monsters.


AS–> What are the things you would like to do in the theater in terms of effects and possibilities that technology doesn’t yet allow?

B!G–> We are from the future. We hope that our work will lead us back there, soon.

In Print – Essay by Big Art Group in the Book, Performing Politics: Political Art After The 20th Century

Big Art Group essay “After Spectacularity”  by Jemma Nelson and Caden Manson has been published in Theater der Zeit’s new book, Performing Politics: Politisch Kunst machen nach dem 20. Jahrhundert. The Book is in German and can be purchased from Amazon

Is there a return of politics in the arts?  And if so, what does it mean to make political art, whether in theater, performance or painting? In the last decade, many experiments in the arts have showed a new interest in questions of the political, “Politics” and political intervention – all left over from the twentieth century and its catastrophes. This edition of Theater der Zeit features essays from Big Art Group, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Philippe Quesne and more.

In Print: Big Art Included in “New Theater, New Media: Theories and Practices of Theater and The Digital.”

Big Art Group is included in “New Theater, New Media: Theories and Practices of Theater and The Digital” just released by the publisher Franco Angeli in Italian (Milan) by Anna Maria Monteverdi with an introductory essay by Oliviero Ponte di Pino.

“The book illustrates the most interesting experiments related to the use of audio-visual technologies in live performance and video theater from the eighties to the interactive multimedia experiments of recent years. In the third part of the book some interviews with international artists (Antunez Roca Marcel.lí; Konic THTR, Roberto Paci Dalò, Big Art Group, Builders Association; Jaromil).”