Circus and the Avant-Gardes : History, Imaginary, Innovation book cover
1st Edition

Circus and the Avant-Gardes
History, Imaginary, Innovation




ISBN 9780367757281
Published March 15, 2022 by Routledge
284 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book examines how circus and circus imaginary have shaped the historical avant-gardes at the beginning of the 20th century and the cultures they help constitute, to what extent this is a mutual shaping, and why this is still relevant today.

This book aims to produce a better sense of the artistic work and cultural achievements that have emerged from the interplay of circus and avant-garde artists and projects, and to clarify both their transhistorical and trans-medial presence, and their scope for interdisciplinary expansion. Across 14 chapters written by leading scholars – from fields as varied as circus, theatre and performance studies, art, media studies, film and cultural history – some of which are written together with performers and circus practitioners, the book examines to what extent circus and avant-garde connections contribute to a better understanding of early 20th century artistic movements and their enduring legacy, of the history of popular entertainment, and the cultural relevance of circus arts. Circus and the Avant-Gardes elucidates how the realm of the circus as a model, or rather a blueprint for modernist experiment, innovation and (re)negotiation of bodies, has become fully integrated in our ways of perceiving avant-gardes today.

The book does not only map the significance of circus/avant-garde phenomena for the past, but, through an exploration of their contemporary actualisations (in different media), also carves out their achievements, relevance, and impact, both cultural and aesthetic, on the present time.

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgements

List of Illustrations

Chapter 1

Arts for all Senses: Circus and the Avant-Gardes – Introduction

Anna-Sophie Jürgens and Mirjam Hildbrand

PART 1

HISTORICAL CIRCUS, POPULAR ENTERTAINMENT AND AVANT-GARDES – INFLUENCES AND INTERRELATIONS

Chapter 2

A Treasure Trove for Avant-garde Artists? Metropolitan Circus Performances around 1900

Mirjam Hildbrand

Chapter 3

Circus, Dada, Vaudeville: Historical Avant-Garde – Between Popular and Experimental Theatre

Martina Gross

Chapter 4

‘Attractive Novelties’: Spectacular Innovation and the Making of a New Kind of Audience within Colonial Modernity

Martyn Jolly

PART 2

STAGING CIRCUS OUTSIDE THE RING: AVANT-GARDE EXPERIMENTS IN THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY

Chapter 5

Typocircus and the Czech Avant-Gardes

Anne Hultsch

Chapter 6

The Present as a Trick or the Assault on the Spectator’s Psyche: Circus and the Soviet Avant-Garde

Oksana Bulgakowa

PART 3

STAGES OF TECHNOLOGY: CIRCUS, AVANT-GARDES AND (NEW) MEDIA

Chapter 7

‘Like a Three-ring Circus’: The Avant-garde Appropriates the Circus in the Battle between Distraction and Attractions

Tom Gunning

Chapter 8

The Animated Circus and New Arts of Motion

Kristian Moen

PART 4

CIRCUS-AVANT-GARDE BODIES: CONTEMPORARY ARTISTIC PHYSICALITIES

Chapter 9

‘Glitter and Broken Bones’: Professional Wrestling, Circus, Avant-Garde and the Radical Participatory Body

Claire Warden

 

Chapter 10

Glam Clowning: From Dada to Gaga – A Conversation with Le Pustra

Anna-Sophie Jürgens and Le Pustra

Chapter 11

The Aesthetics of Queer Work: Loïe Fuller’s Exhausting Life as Performance Art in Stéphanie Di Giusto’s The Dancer (2016)

Wesley Lim

 

PART 5

CIRCUS AND AVANT-GARDES REIMAGINED SINCE THE LATE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Chapter 12

Political Clowns, Thrilling Strong Women and Animal-Free Excitement: Circus Reimagined through 1970s Avant-Garde Political Theatre

Jane Mullett and Peta Tait

Chapter 13

Avant-Garde Gestures and Contemporaneity in Today’s Circus

Louis Patrick Leroux

Chapter 14

 

‘Today for the last time’? On the Cultural Meanings of Circus and the Avant-Gardes – Some Final Provocations

Mirjam Hildbrand, Anna-Sophie Jürgens and Aiden Essery

Notes on Contributors

Index

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Editor(s)

Biography

Anna-Sophie Jürgens is an Assistant Professor in Popular Entertainment Studies at the Australian National University (ANU), Australia. She is part of the network of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Her research explores the intersections between circus/comic performance, science and technology, and the cultural meanings of science.

Mirjam Hildbrand is a PhD candidate in Theatre Studies at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Her research explores historical circus practice, the intersections between circus/theatre, and the discourse of ‘high/low’ culture. She also works as a freelance dramaturge and a programmer in the field of contemporary circus.