Culture Circus: Uncommon Anchors

Context: Imagineers in Circus and Science:
Scientific Knowledge and Creative Imagination

The theatrical and conceptual or otherwise narrative, central spectacle of the fantastic, the peculiar, the uncommon also forms an anchor upon which the mundane, the everyday and the normative are (inversely) bound. The various cultural contexts, parameters and metrics indicating that possibility for the existence of the sensible, the rational and the sane are also those shared borders of distance and difference defining the improbable, the implausible and the ridiculous. There is a certain (formalised, ritualised, aspirational goal of) creative decompression in the structured entropy of the circus ring; also of the sitcom, the sporting drama, the political scandal. Without narrative vectors, means and methods by which to psychologically and subjectively unpack and decrypt all those adopted behaviours and adaptive forms of thought by which individuals are obligated to conform and survive in a rapidly evolving cultural and technological context, people might quite simply suffocate or be otherwise crushed under the burden of aggregated responsibility.

The unleashed chaos of the unexpected, of spectacle and melodrama hints at a disentangling of knots and social obligations but of course this is as much an illusion as is the character and persona of the player in any theatrical or public performance. Even where socially conventional modes of behaviour, engagement and thought are notionally dissolved in the drama and spectacle of the circus ring we can always interpret or project a second-order (displaced, distributed) social logic of rules and of behaviours. The purposes and methods of a theatrical nexus include an inverse attribution of value to order and – mischievously – that subscription to a fantasy in which an unacknowledged suspension of disbelief in dissimulation masks the impossibility for subjectivity to exit the orbit of its own Object of fascination. Reflexive subjectivity finds itself bound in free-fall around attempts to generate structure, meaning and logic; the recombinatory axiomatic and narrative metamorphosis of literal theatrical play, rule-bending and spectacle provide the superficial discontinuity through which continuity produces itself.

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