I just got back from 5 days at 101 Outdoor Arts near Newbury (England). Matt and myself have been working on our new outdoor show, Project_Vee. The days were spent practacing technique, creating segments of the shows, making some set and going for runs by the old nuclear bunkers and abandoned military landing-strip that nature has reclaimed, two minutes away from 101.
It only really occurred to me how lucky I am to have access to such an amazing resource when talking to Matt and Lauren. I was of course grateful to be able to have had time in residency there, but I didn’t appreciate quite how unusual a space like 101 is.
Other art forms have creative spaces, destinationas for artists to arrive and fill their time in the studio, spaces suitable for their medium. Outdoor arts and circus have very particular issues- they need space, lots of it- regularly working on a scale that the fine art world doesn’t have to deal with too often. For the outdoor arts creative spaces need to be large, felixible and have the ability to deal with lots of people.
101 is an all too rare occurance in the UK. It offers accomodation for visiting artists, a working kitchen, office, even a workshop kitted out in which to build props or set and most imporantly, space. Focused, warm and welcoming space. The number of companies and shows that travel through 101 inspiring. The only down side to 101 is that it’s so unique.
Doch are proving their growing reputation of being at the edge of new circus.
An essay by Bauke Livens covers some interesting points about circus history. I can’t say I agree with all of it and the use of launguage seems unnecessarily academic but I did like this quote…
…in the nouveau cirque, circus acts always interrupt the narrative. It is simply not possible to combine the two in one smooth whole. At the moment of physical danger (of presence), the story (the re-presentation) simply stops.
Read the essay here:
I wrote out a bunch of rules to explore and spent 3 days on my own in the Creation Studio investigating. Some ideas led to some interesting things, lots of which require further development. It also let to plenty of dead ends and brick walls.
There’s a few of videos up on my Instagram account, this one being a favourite:
Unfortunately the cupheads didn’t turn out to be the strongest of props. I killed two of them in 3 days, pretty surprising for a juggling prop.
I’d love to see a one piece version that resisted splitting and didn’t require glue to keep it together because as a prop it’s really fun and has lots of areas of development still untapped.
I really enjoyed my time in the studio and hope to continue to develop some of the ideas I discovered in future projects.