What kind of circus is this?

2010

Vejle, Danmark

Video installation - reinterpreation of circus music featuring King Ayisoba

For the exhibition I made a collaboration with the great Ghanesian musician King Ayisoba about a reinterpretation of traditional circus music. I wrote the lyrics mainly taken texts fragments from pop song about circus (e.g. Madonna and Lenny Kravitz) and Ayisoba wrote the music.

 

What Kind of Circus Is This
What kind of fools are we
What can I do to set me free

The circus left town and took our elephants with them
I fell so down
I won’t play the clown

When we collaborated about the project it surfaced that Ayisoba had never seen a circus and had no idea about or imagery of circus. So we went to see Circus Arena where Ayisoba were most courious to see elephants as they no longer really have them in Ghana.

We are seated. The show is about to start. We are a bit anxious. The show starts, events take place…but then it happens. He misses a pole, he makes a mistake. We are in a state of limbo. Will he make it the next time? We hold our breath and the muscles in our chest tighten.

We, the audience, are partly in control of what happens in the manège. It is not the performer only – contrary to other scene acts as concerts and theaters. The relationship between the audience and the performer is “connectiveness”. When we enter the circus we are part of a non-chosen community whether we like it or not. We are part of the same energy.

What is the relationship between Africa and the West? Who performs and who is the audience? Who holds the breath for whom? And who is responsible for what?