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#1 The Need to Redefine
#2 The Myth Called Circus
Encounter #1
Details and Format
Presentations
Relay Interviews
Encounter #2
Details and Format
Presentations
Relay Interviews
Negotiating Distance
Is there a way out of here?
Thoughts & Articles
Performances
ANECKXANDER
Raphaël
Library
BUY

First Relay Interview:
Extracts

The relay interview creates a space in which you can interrogate a fellow circus artist, in depth and without time limit. It is a strictly structured form of conversation that allows the participants to dig deep in a reasonably short time.

Jeanne Mordoj
What is your wish for the circus of today?
Alexander Vantournhout
"My wish would be that circus would keep its own specificity and yet reach the same level and artistic value as other artforms."
Sebastian Kann
Do you think that being an artist relies on a certain sensibility that you're born with or can anyone become an artist?
Jeanne Mordoj
"I think being an artist comes in a way from the necessity inside you."
Daniel Gulko
Within the circus medium what are your strategies to maintain your freedom as an artist?
Sebastian Kann
"Well, I'm not sure how much I believe in freedom. I feel like a lot of the decisions one makes come out of a kind of training – whether that's training from seeing stuff or training from doing stuff."
Darragh McLoughlin
Do you think that maybe by watching and seeing fewer things we have more freedom to be original because we don't know what's out there?
Daniel Gulko
"I do believe that everyone is looking to be original, but we're incredibly influenced by our environments. And so I don't think it's so much about being original as having an awareness of that and understanding where your work is situated in society, in art, and in art history. I actually think that the big error is to not be curious, to not search, or to only look at your own frame. It happens a lot in circus that there's a lack of curiosity for what's happening in other mediums."
Bauke Lievens
Why in your artistic practice is it important for you to be 'authentic'?
Darragh McLoughlin

"I was attracted to circus because I feel that it does have that layer of authenticity, or a lack of pretending perhaps."

Hanna Mampuys
How would you describe the importance of the work you did with Alex?
Bauke Lievens
"It's naked, which doesn't happen a lot in circus."
Antonia Kuzmanic
What are you going to do next?
Hanna Mampuys
"I would like to take the risk, from the start until the end of the creation, of making something that I want to make, and telling something that I want to tell."
Alexander Vantournhout
Why can't a very calculated action be close to the artform of circus?
Antonia Kuzmanic
"I want to see the risk if it is natural to be there; I do not want to see a fake thing in a performance."
Jeanne Mordoj
When you practice do you think, or do you follow an intuition?
Alexander Vantournhout
"I don't think so much when I practice. I think before. So when I go into a studio I've thought about what I will do and I'm actually the interpreter of my own ideas."
Bauke Lievens
What is your wish as an artist both for the circus and not for the circus?
Jeanne Mordoj
As an artist my wish is to continue to be inspired. It's also complicated for me to put in words – even in French it would not be so easy. For me it is a lot of searching. I would also hope for more spaces to create – there are so few free spaces, but it is from these spaces that creativity, that something new, comes.
Darragh McLoughlin
If you were to put yourself on stage as a creator and a performer what do you think you would want to show?
Bauke Lievens
"I feel with Alexander we made together what I would have wanted to make alone. So maybe if I would have been on stage the topic would have been quite similar. What I would make and how I would do it – I really don't know. I would be a really bad performer for the same reasons as in ANECKXANDER. Because of the birth mark I engage with the gaze in a very specific way, and it would be very difficult to get past that."
Sebastian Kann
Do you think there might be anything useful to you in considering yourself a 'circographer'?
Darragh McLoughlin

"I don't think it will change anything. I think Alexander's definition was just a curiosity for me – that he thinks like this."

Alexander Vantournhout
If they want to be subversive why do circus people look so cool all the time?
Sebastian Kann
"I think that the kind of approval that you get from doing circus is now a mainstream approval. It's very hard to point out circus artists as being outside society and I think that's part of the reason we have a hard time defining circus."
Bauke Lievens
If extreme physicality has become normalised can circus continue to be particular and extraordinary?
Alexander Vantournhout
"I completely agree that there is a danger that the individual or the particular is not that necessary, or not that innovative, not that new any more. I think we will soon have a development where we go to the very ordinary or the usual – something like a Jérôme Bel in the field of circus."
Daniel Gulko
Is there a better word than 'sincerity'?
Bauke Lievens
"I think in performance theory the word that is used for that is 'auratic presence'. It's connected to post-dramatic theatre – so theatre that actually produces presence instead of re-presenting. As western spectators we are very much trained in thinking of presence and of art in general as a tool to look for truth – so I guess realness and presence and here-and-now are linked to that.

What I find interesting is not to abolish the word 'authenticity' but to observe in circus that, more than in theatre or dance, we are more visibly engaging with the constant balancing between realness and representation. And it says a lot about the content of a human being I think – or possibly, it could do, in a world where we stage our identities to an extent that didn't exist before."

Sebastian Kann
Do you think using a personal engagement with a topic to make work causes that engagement to be less authentic even in real life?
Daniel Gulko
"My goal is to stage my experience in front of the audience as witness."
Darragh McLoughlin
How do you view the use of queer in circus?
Sebastian Kann
"For me identity is not something that I'm interested in exploring so much on stage. I get the impression from my perspective that identity politics is kind of at an impasse, and I think that what queer was trying to do, as I understand it, was to think outside of binaries, and I think queer / not queer has become a binary, unfortunately. I don't think that getting up on stage and declaring yourself – 'yes, I'm this!' – that that kind of representation is enough. I think destabilisation is more important – which is what queer was trying to do, but I think a lot of queer artists don't do it successfully."
Hanna Mampuys
How do you feel, as an artist and a person, about routine?
Darragh McLoughlin
"I think routine is a useful tool that we all use – but the question is to what extent is it useful. And on stage to what point can it survive before it becomes dead."
Alexander Vantournhout
Given that you studied religious science, what can you say about circus in relation to transcendence and surpassing oneself?
Hanna Mampuys
"A big part of the monotheistic religions is talking about group experience. Watching a peformance has some similarities because you can surpass yourself through the group experience that you share with the audience and the artist. The thing of the group means you surpass your oneness, your being alone."
Antonia Kuzmanic
Do you clap after a performance you didn't like?
Alexander Vantournhout
"I do think we clap way too often in performances, and I have constantly consciously searched for different ways of avoiding applause, destabilsing the applause moment, or interrupting the applause during a show. I think at the end though the applause has a function of 'we have been together and we end this moment here' – it's not always towards the performer, but is maybe more of an acknowledgement of the audience having sat through this thing together, and so ending it together."