PhD Projects

”Circus as Practices of Hope” by Marie-Andrée Robitaille

PhD Marie-Andree Robitaille successfully defended the artistic research project "Circus as Practices of Hope: A Philosophy of Circus" on 27 May, 2024, within the PhD programme Performative and Media-Based Practices.

Det dokumenterade konstnärliga forskningsprojektet (doktorsavhandlingen) Circus as Practices of Hope: A Philosophy of Circus finns att ta del av i databaserna DiVA och Research Catalogue

My doctoral artistic research project, Circus as Practices of Hope: A Philosophy of Circus responds to the growing complexities emerging from the convergence of the fourth industrial revolution, the sixth mass extinction, and the eco-socio-political turmoil of our time. What does it mean to be human today? What does it mean to be a circus artist today? How is circus relevant in today’s context? 
Core to this inquiry is the assertion that although circus arts hold the potential to foster significant knowledge, they simultaneously perpetuate outdated worldviews that restrict their transgressive potential. With this research, I investigate alternatives to regressive models of thoughts and modes of composition, aiming to identify and articulate circus’ inherent epistemic, ontological, and ethical specificities and their relevance for navigating and steering the current planetary paradigm shift.
I conducted my research through embodied practices as a circus artist, as a pedagogue, and from the perspective of a human on Earth. My inquiry occurred through Multiverse, an iterative series of compositional performative experiments and discursive activities. I engaged critical posthumanism and neo-materialist philosophies to challenge and evolve my relation to risk, mastery, and virtuosity. 
The project conceptualizes circus arts as nomadic and fabulatory practices, culminating in a series of artistic, choreographic, and conceptual tools and methods that articulate circus arts within and beyond their disciplinary boundaries. The project advances a philosophy of circus that highlights circus-specific kinetic, aesthetic, and embodied relevancies in today’s context, situating circus arts as hopeful practices for the future. 
Keywords: circus, choreography, composition, posthumanism, posthuman ethics, new materialisms, performative materialism, kinetic materialism, body-reorienting practice, defamiliarization, practical fabulation, nomadic practices, nomadic images, nomadic practices, multiverse, technopoetics, material imagination, embodiment, hope, hopepunk

Project 2019-2024 



PhD student, Marie-Andree Robitaille

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