The poetics of contemporary circus. A bodyphenomenological analysis of contemporary circus as cultural practice
The PhD project investigates new circus as a cultural practice within the performing arts and the movement educational field. Derived from the body and the total optimization of the movement put into a narrative context new circus challenges the expected and other bodily representations within the traditional circus, theater and sports. New circus is a relatively young and internationally widespread form of performing arts described as an anarchic subcultural phenomenon and as an advanced and renewal of the avant-garde performing arts and the bodily expression. As a relatively new phenomenon new circus has the potential to challenge and develop precisely those other bodily expressions and tendencies, and thus open up new opportunities within the arena of artistic expression as well as already recreational and educational activities.
The empirical work will be based on two distinct yet overlapping fields: the performing arts and movement educational field. According to the performing arts the fieldwork will be conducted by the European Organization Jeunes Talents Cirque de Europe, which provides support to upcoming new circus artists. On the movement educational field the fieldwork will be based on the Danish institution The Academy of Untaimed Creativity which provides courses in new circus. The discussion will focus on how the new circus as a cultural practice can develop and challenge other artistic scene and movement educational contexts with potential compared to the sports field. The research questions is: How can the role of new circus as performing art and a movement educational practice be illustrated through a narrative practice-based study? How can this study of new circus develop and challenge the respective fields and have developmental opportunities within the sports field?
The theoretical framework of the PhD-project will consist of bodyphenomenology (Merleau-Ponty 1945/2006) and social constructionism (Gergen 2005. Burr 1995/2003, 1999) and Foucault's approach to bodily control (Foucault 1979). Circus is a field of research in development (Tait 1996, 2005. Damkjær 2003. Damkjær 2008. Eigtved 2001, 2003), and this PhD project will contribute to the development by providing a bodyphenomenological analysis of new circus as a cultural practice. Methodical the PhD project will rely on video surveillance (Rønholt et al 2003) and interviews (Kvale 2002) and methodical and intermediary use narratives (Bochner 2000, 2001. Ellis 2000, Halling 2002, Kraus 2000, Sparkes 2002, Van Manen 1990). Furthermore, I’m inspired by Performative Social Science, who argue that art and science can enrich each other by bringing artistic approaches into the research process (Jones et al. 2008).
Head of project: Stine Degerbøl
Supervisor: Helle Winther