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

NEW WORK: Flesh Tone — April 15-18, 2010 @ 8:30pm (NYC)

Flesh Tone is the new group piece from Caden Manson / Big Art Group

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 transmogrified 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.

FLESH TONE
First Showings at Abron’s Art Center (NYC)
April 15-18, 2010 @ 8:30pm

Production Schedule:

Feb-Mar 2010 Rehearsals in NYC
April 15-18 First showing at Abron’s Arts Center in NYC’s Lower East Side
December 2010 Development stage 2
January 2011 APAP Performances

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