Big Art Group's newest show, SOS, opens next week (March 19th) at The Kitchen. We sent over some questions for Artistic Director, Caden Manson and he was kind enough to send us his answers!
1. Who are some of your professional influences?
I have a big list of artists that I admire! Its a shout out - click away. Romeo Castellucci, Theo Kogan and Sean Pierce, Meg Stuart, David Altmejd, Paper Rad, Justin Bond, M. Lamar,, Rachid Ouramdane, Trajal Harrell, DD Dorvillier, Koosil-ja, Muta Imago, Nick Cave (artist not singer), Alain Platel,Frank Castorf,René Pollesch,Selene Luna,Jack Smith, Nibroll, A.L. Steiner, Paul McCarthy,and Dynasty Handbag to name a few.
2 .How has you work changed over the years?
The work has become physically bigger, conceptually more layered and thematically denser. It is definitely more aggressive in its relationship to an audience and to the performance form in general.
3. What is the most challenging part of creating multi-media work?
Finding a space in New York that we can afford to set down in for the duration of a creation process. With multi-media, it's important that the technology be with you from the start so that its organic and grows with the performers and conceptual and formal equations.
4. Can you name a work you've seen in the past 12 months that is particularly memorable?
There is a piece that has stuck with me for three years now. In 2006 I saw Ann Liv Young's piece called Solo (there are three people in it). I still can't get it out of my head. I haven't been surprised like that in a long time. In the last 12 months I had the chance to see a rehearsal of Romeo Castalucci's new piece based on Dante's Inferno. It was the Purgatorio section and I saw it in a theatre in Italy that we have performed in a few times. There were moments in the piece where I couldn't tell how something was being made. It became a kind of monstrous illusion. I kept having to check my self to make sure I was still seeing what I thought I was seeing. After it was over the entire audience sat there in silence for the longest time trying to get there bearings again. The piece is a formal and stylistic departure from his past work. I think it will be in LA next year. I hope it comes to Montclair.
5. Is there an idea for a piece that has intimidated you and that you have not attempted?I'm methodical about my work. If I have an idea for a piece nothing really gets in my way. I find intimidation attractive as an obstacle.
6. Do you consider your work political?
Creating performance in America is a political act in and of itself. It is a creation without physical product that is an anathema to our capitalist culture. Beyond that, our work has a political point in its content and formal equations. The spoken text in the pieces is anti-theatrical and precisely political in it use and content. The formal aspects of the performances highlight the fissures in image construction and communication as well as the liquidness of identity.
7. What discourages you?
What discourages me is also what drives me to find ways around it to create work. SPACE!, TIME!, MONEY!
8. Your work is seen around the world, how do critics differ in other countries?
In the US we are working from within the Image Spectacle; subverting the messages and scrambling the codes. An American audience has a harder time breaking the shell of the pieces, because they are living them also. Outside of the US the work is viewed from a critical and cultural distance. Foreign audiences, because of their cultural distance, can mostly see though the shinny exterior of the work to the critique that lies under its skin.
9. What's next?
2009 is Big Art Group's 10th year. I'm very proud of the work the group has done and am really fortunate to have had the chance to work with such an amazing ensemble of artists. For the 2009/2010 season of Big Art Group we are planning a season at home in NYC. We'll be bouncing around to different venues and performing and presenting as much as possible. We are planning performance installations based on our early works The Balladeer, Shelf Life, and Ficker; Two new works in the Cinema Fury Project - The Sleep and The Dogs, Actions (installation/performance/parties) all season long, a new group work called NO SHOW and a big party to celebrate our 10 years of NYC survival.
Caden Manson / Big Art Group
The Kitchen - NYC March 19-21 & 26-28, 2009
For Tickets and Info : CLICK HERE