DOCH, School of Dance and Circus

Jonathan Priests 30 % seminar

"The following circus is false, the preceding circus is true" Jonathan Priests 30 % seminar.

Moving through a project that analyses the circus trick as a statement that refutes the mechanism that makes it, any attempt to conceptualise this central unit of circus results in contradictions, paradoxes and tautologies.

  The question is whether to shun such fallacious loops as unwanted or spurious or to look further into the idea of the trick as the practice of freedom.
  Is it possible to use something ‘wrong’ to prove you are ‘right’?

In presenting two images I want to be clear about these observations as being from my perspective, from my practice. In presenting two images I want to draw attention to the fact that for every possibility for resisting gravity, or the laws of physics generally, there is just as much evidence for the trick being the glorification of the thing from which it seeks to escape.

One image of the trick is concerned with resistance, temporary autonomy and mobility a cyclical way to present an image of the body as not held by the force of gravity and I posit other obvious readings of such gravitational ‘dissent’. I will look at pranks, hacks, hoaxes and cons as similarly double-edged swords.
The other image of the trick is of an advert for neo liberalism where the capable ‘individual’ strives to escape restriction, is autonomous and mobile in his or her modes of production and consumption.

I will present how these two images of the trick are present in each of the collaborations I have undertaken in the last year with riggers, film makers and circus performers. These have been small low-key experiments in speaking circus, filming mobility and trying to rig impossible, temporary structures.