The Builders Association



"The Builders Association: Media and Performance in Contemporary Theater"

Co-authored by academic practitioner Shannon Jackson and artist Marianne Weems


This book begins with the building of a house, and the building of a company while building the house. It expands to look at the ideas found in various rooms, some of which expanded into virtual space while they still were grounded in the lives of the artists in the house.

- From the preface by Marianne Weems

The Builders Association, an award-winning intermedia performance company founded in 1994, develops its work in extended collaborations with artists and designers, working through performance, video, architecture, sound, and text to integrate live performance with other media. Its work is not only cross-media but cross-genre—fiction and nonfiction, unorthodox retellings of classic tales and multimedia stagings of contemporary events. This book offers a generously illustrated history and critical appraisal of The Builders Association, written by Shannon Jackson, a leading theater scholar, and Marianne Weems, the founder and artistic director of the company. It also includes critical meditations from such artists and scholars as Elizabeth Diller, Pico Iyer, Saskia Sassen, Kate Valk, and many others.

Technological wizardry in the theater has a long history, going back to the deus ex machina of ancient Greek drama. The Builders Association makes its technological dependence visible, putting backstage technologies center stage and presenting architectural assemblies of screens and bodies. Jackson and Weems explore a series of major productions—from MASTER BUILDER (Ibsen by way of Gordon Matta-Clark) to SUPERVISION (an exploration of dataveillance) to HOUSE/DIVIDED (the foreclosure crisis juxtaposed with the Joads of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath). Each work is described through a series of steps, including “R&D,” “Operating Systems,” “Storyboard,” and “Rehearsal/Assembly.”

The Builders Association not only traces the evolution of an intermedial aesthetic practice but also tells a story about how a group makes the risky decision to make art in the first place.

An Incomplete Bibliography of
The Builders Association

Schechner, Richard. Building the Builders Association: A Conversation with Marianne Weems, James Gibbs, and Moe Angelos. The Drama Review the journal of performance studies. The MIT Press, (Fall 2012).

Marranca, Bonnie. Performance Histories. New York: PAJ Publications, 2008. ISBN 978-1-55554-077-7 See "Mediaturgy: A Conversation with Marianne Weems."

Miller, Heidi R. "Super Vision." Theatre Journal: Performance and Cognition. Edited by Jean Graham-Jones. New York: The John Hopkins University Press 59, No. 4 (December 2007), 553-719 pp. ISSN 0192-2882

Kaye, Nick. "Screening Presence: The Builders Association and dbox, SUPER VISION (2005)." Contemporary Theatre Review. Edited by Nick Kaye. London: Routledge, 2008.

Giesekam, Greg. Staging the Screen. The Use of Film and Video in Theatre. Theatre Performance and Practice. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007. ISBN 1-4039-1699-0

Dixon, Steve. Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art, and Installation. Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-262-04235-2

Féral Josette. Mise en Scène et Jeu de l'Acteur. Entretiens Tome III, Voix de Femmes. Québec: Editions Québec Amérique inc., 2007. ISBN 978-2-7644-0397-6

Felner, Mira and Claudia Orenstein. The World of Theatre: Tradition and Innovation. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006. ISBN 0-205-36063-7

Chapple, Freda and Chiel Kattenbelt. Intermediality in Theatre and Performance. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2006. ISBN 90-420-1629-9

Sussman, Mark J. "Alladeen." Theatre Journal: Theorizing the Performer. Edited by Harry J. Elam Jr. New York: The John Hopkins University Press 56, No. 4 (December 2004), 695. ISSN 0192-2882

Ali, Tariq. "Hegemony." The American Effect: Global Perspectives in the United States, 1990-2003. Edited by Lawrence Rinder. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2003. ISBN 0-87427-134-7

Svich, Caridad. Trans-Global Readings: Crossing Theatrical Boundaries. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-7190-6325-6

Wessling, Katherine. "Dreaming of Genies: A Conversation with Moti Roti and The Builders Association." AI, Performance for the Planet. Edited by Susan Jackson. New York: Arts International, Inc., (Fall 2002), 30-35. ISSN 1529-3777

Wehle, Philippa. "Live Performance and Technology: The Example of Jet Lag." PAJ, A Journal of Performance: Intelligent Stages, Digital Art and Performance. The MIT Press 24, No. 70 (January 2002), 133-139. ISSN 1520-281X

McCarthy, Kevin F., Arthur Brooks, Julia Lowell, and Laura Zakaras. The Performing Arts in a New Era. Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 2001. ISBN 0-8330-3041-8

"(About) Arts International." AI, Performance for the Planet. Edited by Susan Jackson. New York: Arts International, Inc., (Fall 2001), 8-10. ISSN 1529-3777

Strickland, Louise. "Construction or Deconstruction?" Lighting and Sound International: The Entertainment Technology Monthly. Edited by Ruth Rossington. East Sussex: The Professional Lighting and Sound Association, (December 2000), 65-67. ISSN 0268-7429

Derrar, Nadio. "Xtravaganza." Le-Maillon, Theatre de Strasbourg.: Strasbourg Ville de Culture, (October, November, December 2000).

Marti Peran, "The Builders Association and Diller + Scofidio: Jet Lag, 1998." Mira Como se Mueven: 4 Ideas Sobre Movilidad (See How They Move: 4 Ideas on Mobility). Madrid: Fundacion Telefonica, 2005. ISBN 84-89884-61-7

Chalmers, Jessica. "A Conversation About Jet Lag: Between Diller & Scofidio, Jessica Chalmers, and Marianne Weems." Performance Research: On Line. Edited by Richard Gough. London: Routledge 4, No. 2 (Summer 1999), 57-60.

Diller & Scofidio. "Jetlag." éc/art S : #1-99: site de recherche & d'expérimentation. Edited by Eric Sadin. Paris: ecarts, 1999. ISBN 2-9513755-0-6

Marti Peran, "The Builders Association and Diller + Scofidio: Jet Lag, 1998." Mira Como se Mueven: 4 Ideas Sobre Movilidad (See How They Move: 4 Ideas on Mobility). Madrid: Fundacion Telefonica, 2005. ISBN 84-89884-61-7

"Jet Lag." Teater. ET & Kit. Edited by Rikke Rottenstein and Jakob Steen Olsen. Copenhagen: Foreningen TEATER 1, No. 94 (June 1999), 16-17. ISSN 0905-3026

Wehle, Philippa. "Overlapping Worlds: The Builders Association and Jump Cut (Faust)." Theatre Forum: International Theatre Journal. Edited by Jim Carmody, Adele Edling Shank, and Theodore Shank. Sand Diego: Department of Dance and Theatre, UC San Diego, No. 14 (Winter/Spring 1998), 4-9. ISSN 1060-5320
A comparison of Jump Cut to other previous productions of Faust: includes several photos from Jump Cut.

Kaye, Nick. Art into Theatre: Performance Interviews and Documents. Contemporary Theatre Studies. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Overseas Publishers Association, 1996. ISBN 3-7186-5789-9

"Marianne Weems Master Builder: Theater Production 1994-1995." Creative Time 1993/1994. New York: Creative Time, 1994.