Originally commissioned for the Ringling Museum of Art, Circus Sarasota features portraits of five local performers from the Circus Arts Conservatory. Filmed during Summer 2013, these pieces play with the vocabulary of traditional 19th Century circus posters, such as those created by Strobridge Lithography Company for the touring American circus and Wild West shows.
Custom wood frames evocative of a sideshow carriage window surround the figures, whose motion is portrayed with multiple bodies performing the same action in the poster scene. Each portrait runs on a cycle of approximately eighteen minutes, capturing the performers both on stage, and on the lush grounds of the Ringling. In playback, the timing between the portraits is networked, and video scenes are manipulated in real time. Random selections are generated from a library of clips for each scene of action, while fluctuations occur in luminosity, opacity and speed.
The full series also includes portraits of Texas “Jack Fulbright (“the Fastest Roper in the World”), Dolly Jacobs (“the Queen of the Air”), Duo Romanesc (“Towering Feats of Strength”), and Pedro Reis (“the Visionary Impresario”). The entire series debuted earlier this year as an interactive installation for Now, a solo exhibition organized by contemporary curator Matthew McLendon at the Ringling Museum