Shannon Jackson

Shannon Jackson is Associate Vice Chancellor of the Arts and Design and the Cyrus and Michelle Hadidi Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Her publications include Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics.

  • Public Servants

    Public Servants

    Art and the Crisis of the Common Good

    Johanna Burton, Shannon Jackson, and Dominic Willsdon

    Essays, dialogues, and art projects that illuminate the changing role of art as it responds to radical economic, political, and global shifts.

    How should we understand the purpose of publicly engaged art in the twenty-first century, when the very term “public art” is largely insufficient to describe such practices?  Concepts such as “new genre public art,” “social practice,” or “socially engaged art” may imply a synergy between the role of art and the role of government in providing social services. Yet the arts and social services differ crucially in terms of their methods and metrics. Socially engaged artists need not be aligned (and may often be opposed) to the public sector and to institutionalized systems. In many countries, structures of democratic governance and public responsibility are shifting, eroding, and being remade in profound ways—driven by radical economic, political, and global forces. According to what terms and through what means can art engage with these changes? This volume gathers essays, dialogues, and art projects—some previously published and some newly commissioned—to illuminate the ways the arts shape and reshape a rapidly changing social and governmental landscape. An artist portfolio section presents original statements and projects by some of the key figures grappling with these ideas.

    • Hardcover $44.95 £35.00
  • The Builders Association

    The Builders Association

    Performance and Media in Contemporary Theater

    Shannon Jackson and Marianne Weems

    A lavishly illustrated history and critical appraisal of The Builders Association, an award-winning intermedia performance company, with detailed accounts of its major productions.

    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.

    • Hardcover $40.95 £32.00