Alterazioni Video: The New Circus Event

8–10 May 2019
V–A–C Zattere, Venice

The V–A–C Foundation celebrates the opening of the Time, Forward! project with a three-day public event on the canal in front of V–A–C Zattere.

Following an approach that distinguishes each of its activities, V–A–C asked the Alterazioni Video artistic collective to create an engaging three-day show open to all. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Russian state circus, V–A–C and Alterazioni Video reflect on the time when circus shows were popular events where people freely gathered.

The three-day public event sees Alterazioni Video rethink and question the circus format in a site-specific live installation featuring performers from all over the world, offering all passers-by an insight into the ageless tradition of Russian hospitality.

Departing from their exploration of a skillful and banal fandango, Alterazioni Video adopt the internet community’s hive mind production mode, immersing into its chaos and focusing on spontaneously generated stunts, on the one hand, and the endurance and theatricality of circus performances, on the other. The artistic collective creates a circus of abundance resonating with contemporary performance art through an ongoing dialogue with new, unpredictable and unstable formats not easily framed into the more formal art categories.

Geeks, Guinness world record breakers, dancers, depressed comedians, gym teachers, believers, yoga masters and gifted mathematicians all entertain the audience of tourists, honeymooners, lost kids, Venetian workers and, hopefully, some Biennale guests.

The painter, curator and Instagram star Francesco Bonami carries out an act of endurance, while painting portraits of tourists, guests and performers during the entire event. Alterazioni Video also intend to set a number of new world records.

On the third and final day, The New Circus Event culminates in a Dionysian celebration with improvised dancers, generous barmen and sound-altering DJs. Join the circus!

In pre-revolutionary Russia, circus artists, jugglers and comedians roamed the audience during fairs. They were nomads, cosmopolitan and free from social conventions. They organized egalitarian participatory events open to the whole community, without distinguishing between performers and audiences, offering a momentary glimpse of equality, abundance, freedom and amusement for all, rich and poor. These events lasted several days, during which anarchy and the Dionysian spirit ruled free. Euphoric parties filled the squares with short-lived spectacles and stunts. Nomadic performers travelled in groups from one celebration to another, setting up their colourful autonomous cities. It all ended in August 1919, Lenin signed the Decree On the Unification of Theatrical Affairs, according to which all circuses became state regulated.

– Alterazioni Video