"defies category" - The Wall Street Journal
In 2008, Small was noted by American Photo Magazine as “one of the top emerging photographers” for her photographic series, The Delirium Constructions, which has since become the conceptual umbrella for her work cross-genre and which has been exhibited on six continents. Small has premiered works with Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, and Brooklyn Youth Chorus; performed with Sean Ono Lennon, Shara Nova, and Reggie Watts; and been lauded by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Vogue, NPR, WNYC, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Life Magazine.
In 2011, Small mounted a 120-participant performative incarnation of The Delirium Constructions (Tableau Vivant of TDC) which interwove Balkan vocal music, classical arias, a string quartet, choral droning, historical and contemporary dress, synchronized facial gestures and dance, and two legal marriage ceremonies conducted by Small. The New York Times described the Tableau as “a miracle” and performance videos have exceeded 2.5 million views.
In 2014, Small starred in Butter on the Latch, a psychological thriller feature film directed by Josephine Decker. The film screened at Berlinale, throughout the US and internationally, and was placed on The New Yorker’s “10 Best Films of the Year”.
In 2015, Small was invited to be an American Representative by the Ministry of Culture of China for an exhibition of her photographs in Zhengzhou during China’s International Photographic Art Retrospective.
In 2016, Small’s musical album, Secondary Dominance, was commissioned to premiere as a staged work at Beth Morison’s PROTOTYPE Festival. The Theatre Times described it as a “a perfect synthesis of opera and media” and The Wall Street Journal noted that it “defies category”. Secondary Dominance then shape-shifted into a series of music videos, and ultimately found its landing place as a feature film presented by Godfrey Reggio.
The Film is a hybrid biographical expression / auto-fiction documentary / long-form music video that explores trauma’s cellular imprint from a place where art and science intersect. The overarching goal for Secondary Dominance is that, through an adventurous storytelling template, the film can act as a conduit for a multi-dimensional conversation around trauma, transformation, non-linearity of memory, and our capacity as humans to hold this complexity.
Throughout quarantine, Small edited Secondary Dominance, recorded a chamber work, “Behind the Gymnasium” and produced an LP, “Boomerang of Black Fluorescence” all pending release 2023. Small lives with her two cats, Bunny and January, in a pink house on a tree-lined street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She spends as much time as she can dancing Waltz, Tango, Rumba, and Foxtrot.
Composer and singer on Yo-Yo Ma's GRAMMY-winning album, “Sing Me Home”, Small is a multidisciplinary artist, musician, performer, filmmaker, and photographer.
Born in 1979 in Washington D.C. into a family of writers, psychoanalysts, a lutenist / composer mother, and a pianist / composer father, Small spent her childhood playing cello, concocting gibberish languages, dancing, and performing in musicals written by her mother. She became enraptured by photography when she was 13 yo, and in 2001 graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BA in photography. She moved to Brooklyn the day before September 11th.
Founded in 2005 and dubbed as “the Ramones of Balkan a cappella song” and the “punk rock version of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares,” Small’s Balkan vocal trio, Black Sea Hotel has toured and taught throughout the US and Scandinavia, and was described by John Schaefer of WNYC’s Soundcheck as “expertly play(ing) with melody and harmony, fashioning a musical world equally familiar and fantastical."
THE DELIRIUM CONSTRUCTIONS
Originally conceived as a still photography series in 2003, The Delirium Constructions is a conceptual umbrella for Small’s live performances, musical works, and film explorations. The Delirium Constructions explores unlikely combinations of themes, characters, and sonics together, within the same framework, to investigate the tensions and resolutions of close connection. Social, graphic, and musical contrasts are examined side-by-side: youth and experience, hysteria and discipline, hilarity and tragedy, and sexuality and desexualization. The scenarios are staged, yet the resulting emotions are born through improvisation, spontaneous interaction, and authentic experience.