Elements of Oz by The Builders Association. Photo by Gennadi Novash, courtesy of Peak Performances at Montclair State University
The Builders Association (New York City)
The Builders Association is an award-winning New York-based performance and media company that creates original productions based on stories drawn from contemporary life. The company uses the richness of new and old tools to extend the boundaries of theatre. Based on innovative collaborations, Builders’ productions blend stage performance, text, video, sound, and architecture to tell stories about human experience in the 21st century.
Marianne Weems (Artistic Director)
Marianne Weems is a theater and opera director and founder of The Builders Association. With the company, she has created and directed 17 original large-scale productions and worked with unexpected collaborators including the architects Diller + Scofidio, The National Center for Super Computing Applications, and the South Asian arts collective motiroti. Weems has also worked in various creative roles with The Wooster Group, (where she was the dramaturg from 1988-94), David Byrne, Taryn Simon, Susan Sontag, The V-Girls, and many others. From 2008-14 she was the head of Graduate Directing at Carnegie Mellon University and participated in founding a new program there in Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology. She is currently a professor in Theater Arts at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the co-editor of Art Matters: How the Culture Wars Changed America (NYU Press 2000) and recently co-authored a book about the company with Shannon Jackson, The Builders Association: Performance and Media in Contemporary Theater (MIT Press, 2015).
Moe Angelos (Writer and Performer)
Moe Angelos is a theatre artist and writer. She is a core member of The Builders Association. Recent Builders projects include the critically acclaimed SONTAG: Reborn and Elements of Oz. She’s one of The Five Lesbian Brothers, an Obie-Award winning theatre company whose works include, Oedipus at Palm Springs, Brave Smiles and The Secretaries, and she has been a member of the Wow Café Theater since 1981. She has collaborated with many downtown New York City luminaries including Lisa Kron, Carmelita Tropicana, Anne Bogart, Holly Hughes, Lois Weaver, Kate Stafford, Brooke O’Harra, Half Straddle and The Ridiculous Theatrical Company. She is a Mentor in the Queer/Arts/Mentorship Program in New York. Moe was a visiting artist instructor at Sarah Lawrence College in the Graduate Theatre department for the 2013/14 academic year.
Larry Shea (Video and Interactive Media Designer)
Larry Shea is an artist and educator working with a wide variety of digital and analog media, creating artworks and developing new media technologies for live events. Larry enjoys working in creative teams, merging technical possibilities with aesthetic and political concerns, creating layered and meaningful experiences. He is currently developing a series of geolocational experiences exploring the social, political, economic, industrial, and cultural development of Pittsburgh called Ghosts in the Machine. Psychogeographic in ethos, these experiences weave publicly available data and deep research into art interpretations or “story-events,” connected by location and meaning, that are both stand-alone experiences as well as doorways to further avenues for exploration. This is a mobile device-based AR system for “temporal wayfinding,” allowing users to gain a deeper sense of place as they go about their daily lives. Shea is currently an Associate Professor of Video & Media Design in the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he founded and runs the Video & Media Design MFA program.
IRL Labs (Pittsburgh)
Ali Momeni (Co-Founder)
Ali Momeni is a media-artist and researcher with expertise in interactive systems and human computer interaction. He studied physics and music at Swarthmore College and completed his doctoral degree in music composition, improvisation and performance with computers at UC Berkeley. Ali served as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota and Carnegie Mellon between 2008-2018, before joining Shield AI as a Senior Principal Scientist. Ali is also co-founder and principal designer at IRL Labs, an educational technology consultancy based in Pittsburgh.
Aparna Wilder (Co-Founder)
Aparna Wilder is a program director and community builder passionate about experiential learning and storytelling. Aparna leads IRL Labs outreach and education programs and is responsible for facilitating new partnerships, research projects, and workshops. Aparna holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a MPA from Columbia University. Aparna is co-founder and principal at IRL Labs, an educational technology consultancy based in Pittsburgh.
Tim Carlson (Theatremaker, Theatre Conspiracy)
Tim Carlson is a playwright, dramaturge, journalist and the artistic producer of Theatre Conspiracy. He led the creation of Foreign Radical, which won the 2015 Jessie Award Critics Choice Innovation prize and a 2017 Edinburgh Fringe First Award. The script was recently published in Canadian Theatre Review. His new documentary play, Victim Impact, premiered at The Cultch in Vancouver in June 2018. Tim co-created, wrote the music for and performed in Tanya Marquardt’s Stray, seen at The Tank in New York and SummerWorks in Toronto in 2018. He was researcher/ interviewer for Berlin-based Rimini Protokoll’s latest show, Top Secret International, seen at the 2017 Under the Radar Festival in New York as well as researcher/ dramaturge for Best Before (Rimini Protokoll, @ PuSh 2010) and 100% Vancouver (Rimini Protokoll/Theatre Replacement, @ PuSh 2011). The 2013 show Extraction, won the Rio Tinto Alcan Award, Canada’s largest prize for new play development. His play Omniscience (Talonbooks, 2007) was produced in Vancouver, Berlin, Lisbon and Chicago. He founded Club PuSh with the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver and served as co-curator along with Veda Hille and Norman Armour from 2009 to 2016.
Nyla Innuksuk (Filmmaker, Mixtape VR)
Nyla Innuksuk is a producer of film and virtual reality content. She is the Founder of Mixtape VR, which produces VR and AR content. She was featured in the widely spread Vice Motherboard article, “How an Inuit Filmmaker Is Using Virtual Reality to Tell Her Culture’s Stories” for her use of VR as a tool to break free from stereotypes. She wrote and produced the short film Kajutaijuq: The Spirit That Comes, a retelling of an Inuit myth that deals with isolation in the Arctic Tundra. Kajutaijuq premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was included in TIFF Top 10. Innuksuk has worked with artists including Kent Monkman, Tanya Tagaq and A Tribe Called Red. Nyla is a writer for Marvel Comics, and co-created the character of Amka, an Inuk superhero who joins the Champions League. Nyla is on the board of directors for the Glenn Gould Foundation and the Ontario Media and Development Corporation (OMDC). She was recently selected by Google to be included in their exclusive Google Jump program for new media storytellers and is directing her first feature 2D film called Slash/Back.
Lisa Jackson (Filmmaker & VR Creator)
Lisa Jackson’s award-winning films have screened widely, including Berlinale, Hotdocs, SXSW, and London BFI, aired on many networks in Canada, and earned her a Genie Award. Her CBC documentary Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier (co-directed with Shane Belcourt) won Best Documentary at imagineNATIVE in 2017 and her VR piece Biidaaban: First Light, made with the NFB, premiered at Tribeca in 2018, was widely covered by the media and seen by thousands at its Toronto premiere at Nathan Phillips Square, and continues to show at festivals around the world including Melbourne, LA, and Margaret Mead. Lisa is Anishinaabe, works in fiction and documentary, and upcoming projects include a multimedia installation Transmissions, an IMAX film Lichen, along with more traditional film and TV. She a director mentor for the NSI IndigiDocs program and sits on the advisory committee for the NFB’s Indigenous Action Plan.
Alison S. M. Kobayashi (Transmedia Artist, UnionDocs)
Alison S. M. Kobayashi is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist whose hybrid work mixes documentary and fiction through video, performance, installation, interactive and illustration. Her performance Say Something Bunny! has received critical acclaim heralded as “The best new theater experience in town” by Vogue, is a NYTimes critics’ pick and was listed in Time Out’s 2017 top ten productions. Kobayashi has received nominations for a 2018 Drama Desk award and United Solo Special Award and is the recipient of the 2006 TSV Artistic Vision Award. She was a guest artist at the 2008 Flaherty Film Seminar and her work was the focus of a Spotlight Presentation at Video Out, Jakarta International Film Festival. She was a 2016 Yaddo and MacDowell Colony fellow. Kobayashi was born in Mississauga, Ontario where she graduated with high distinction from the University of Toronto at Mississauga and is now based in Brooklyn where she is the Director of Special Projects at UnionDocs, Center for Documentary Art.
M.E. Luka (Producer, Narratives in Space+Time Society)
Dr. Mary Elizabeth (“M.E.”) Luka is an award-winning scholar, activist and digital media producer for arts, social enterprises, broadcasting and telecommunications, and creative management policy, planning and practice. She studies modes and meanings of creativity and innovation in the digital age, to investigate how arts, culture, media and civic sectors are networked together. Her research examines co-creative and collaborative production, distribution and dissemination in the intersecting fields of media, arts and culture. Dr. Luka has worked with 100+ cultural organizations as a consultant, staff member or advisor. She is a member of the 2018 Association of Internet Researchers Conference Programming Committee, and Past Chair of the Board for Arts Nova Scotia. She is also a past member of the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council, NSCAD University’s Board of Governors, and the Provincial and Territorial Advisory Group of the Cultural Human Resources Council. She is a founding and current member of collaborative research-creation and public art walking group, Narratives in Space + Time Society (NiS+TS). She is Assistant Professor of Arts, Media & Culture Management and Interim Program Director, Arts Management, at the Department of Arts, Culture, Media (UTSC), with a cross-appointment at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto.
David Mesiha (Sound Designer, Theatre Conspiracy)
David Mesiha is a music composer, sound designer, video designer, media artist and Theatre Devisor. He is a co-creator, composer and tour technical director for Foreign Radical, which won the 2015 Jessie Award Critics Choice Innovation prize and a 2017 Edinburgh Fringe First Award. The script was recently published in Canadian Theatre Review. He was the music composer and sound designer for Victim Impact and The Humans for which he received a Jessie Award nomination. David has a long history of working in immersive theatre utilizing emerging technologies to establish innovative dramaturgical approaches that challenge performance forms. Other select titles include Leaky Heaven’s Project (X) Faust, Theatre Passe Muraille’s Sound of The Beast with Donna Michelle St. Bernard and the immersive sound design of IFT theatre’s 2016 production Oraltorio. Currently David is leading the work with Theatre Conspiracy and a team of collaborator in devising of the upcoming project Same Difference that applies immersive techniques, chamber music and immersive video to examining issues of identity, sense of self, belonging and immigration.
Liz Miller (Documentary filmmaker & Transmedia artist)
Elizabeth (Liz ) Miller is a documentary maker and professor who uses collaboration and interactivity as a way to connect personal stories to larger timely social issues. Her films/educational campaigns on timely issues such as water privatization (The Water Front) refugee rights (Mapping Memories), gender rights (En la Casa), gender & environmental justice (Hands On) and climate disasters (The Shore Line) have won international awards, been integrated into educational curricula and influenced decision makers. Years of experience in community media and a background in political economics, electronic media art, and Latin American studies fuel her ongoing explorations of new media as art, advocacy, and as a catalyst for critical pedagogies. Miller has partnered with international organizations including Witness (USA) and UNESCO to offer workshops in water journalism, media production, digital storytelling, and media advocacy. Her recent co-authored book with Steven High and Ted Little, Going Public: The Art of Participatory Practice (2017) is accompanied by a website profiling the work of 29 socially engaged practitioners exploring the political, aesthetic and performative dimensions of their work. Liz is a Full Professor in Communications Studies at Concordia University in Montreal where she teaches courses in media production and research-creation.
Michael Wheeler (Theatremaker, SpiderWebShow)
Michael Wheeler is Artistic Director of SpiderWebShow Performance, Canada’s first live digital performance company. He was previously Executive Director and Transformation Designer of Generator, a mentoring, teaching, and innovation incubator that empowers independent artists, producers and leaders. He has also been a curator of The Freefall Festival with The Theatre Centre, curator of HATCH emerging artist projects with Harbourfront Centre, and an Intern Director at The Shaw Festival. Michael is a Co-Curator of foldA (The Festival of Live Digital Art) occurring annually in June at The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. He holds a BA (distinction) from McGill University, a Certificate from Harvard University and a MFA from The Moscow Art Theatre. Upcoming he directs the World Premiere of Behaviour at The Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa in March 2019. He is an Adjunct Instructor at Queen’s University where SpiderWebShow is also in residence.