8 ½ Circus space
“The fool often presents himself uninvited to our attention … he is alien enough that he disappears again and is forgotten.” (William Willford, The fool and his sceptre)
The circus tent on half a floor plan is open in front. The roof and rear wall of the tent are made of blue-and-red-striped cotton fabric. A red, round pedestal (diameter 4.8 m) stands half in and half in front of the open space. Inside is a rostrum that occupies part of the round area. On the different levels—empty space/sculpture, venue or opportunity to liven up the podium spontaneously—the ordinary can be experienced anew and unusual connections considered. As a sculpture, the tent seems to be the antipode to the framing buildings. A colorful, filigreed cotton wall seems now animated now abandoned. The open space enables visitors and passersby to experience the action from a distance.
The idea of the open circus was inspired by the final chapter of Franz Kafka’s novel Amerika: “The Nature Theater of Oklahoma.”
In 8 ½ Circus Space, the opening is radical, unlimited in every respect. In our chronic restrictions of our animated world, the circus opens up a window onto the courtyard of the creative spheres. No one should be excluded; everyone can participate. Everything presents itself as it is of its own accord.
A place of meeting that reflects the social situation of the groups that populate it more than utopian equality.
The circus disciplines of acrobatics, artistic cycling, trapeze and juggling, balance, and magic produced bizarre situations that evoke the absurd games of an apocalyptic cabaret. Although the emotional states of human tragicomedy are pushed to an extreme, seemingly violently, in several places, it does not lack for a trace of comedy.
Highly artistic acts are smartly dressed, so that the scene supposedly leads into a jumble. What has value, what has none? The ordinary is rejected by means of incomprehensible gestures and the enigmatic figures that make them. A didactic tale is distorted and its interpretation hampered. Manufactured allegories that mean something uninterpretable. We briefly feel the embarrassment and the pain when our innermost self experiences the loss of order. The difference between play and existence is abolished for a few moments.
8 ½ Circus Space, 2006–2014
Tent, arena, rostrum
Cotton fabric, steel wire, fittings, spruce wood, enamel paint, 11.6 m × 5.8 × 7 m (without anchors)
B1A4 The beauty of the big street sculpture project by Markus Ambach
Philine Dahlmann, acrobatics (cello, piano, electric guitar, percussion)
Salvatore Frasca, artistic cycling (electric guitar, percussion)
Alessandro Angius, light-sound (electric guitar)
Claudio Inferno, balancing acrobat (electric bass)
Eleazar Fanjul, magician (trumpet)
With additional participation by
Loreto Tormen, trapeze
Chiara Unisoni, dance
In Lübeck, 2013
Bürger Garten Lübeck in collaboration with the Overbeck-Gesellschaft
In Hamburg, 2006
sculpture@CityNord, the temporary sculpture project in City Nord
Music: Michael Riessler with students from the Hochschule für Musik