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CIRCollaborative Tools meeting in Budapest

So, the last day of our CIRCollaborative Tools meeting in Budapest is over. With the partnerorgnaizations of 8 countries we have spoken about the future of circus and how we can use Collaborative Tools to improve that. But we did not just talk: several people have worked on a ‘social experiment’ with Hungarian children, various performances have taken place, a flash mob has been organized.  And we experimented with serveral tools. In short, an energetic and interesting program!

 The purpose of this project was to think together about contemporary circus and how to facilitate this. People share their stories and knowledge from different countries with different backgrounds, experiences, cultures and opportunities. Both at the political, organizational and execution level. Topics that came along are: what is contemporary music, how can we involve children in circus, how can we respond to the current technology in circus, etc.

It was great to be in Budapest and we had te opportunity to see great circusshows and presentations! 

We look back on fun and interesting project! View the photo report here!

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Naga Collective on creation and remote work

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Naga Collective is a Belgian circus company founded by Jatta Borg, María José (‘Majo’) Cázares, Mari Stoknes and Viola Baroncelli, graduates from the Lido in Toulouse and ESAC in Brussels. The company will have its first show premiere in Brussels’ UP ! Festival in March 2018. They are at the Grainerie from February 26th to March 9th in order to finish their creation. We interviewed the four circus artists along with Virgnie Strub, director.

 

What is Naga Collective ?

Although based in Bruxelles, this is a very international circus company. We mix languages in work (we speak seven languages between the five of us!), and we compose with our six different circus disciplines. In « Persona », our first production, we have strived to create a hybrid language between circus, dance and theatre. In the show we are constantly on stage and each of us integrates the disciplines of the others, which is not always comfortable… We do not separate circus from the other components, but instead use them all as dramaturgical elements like any other, hence creating coherency in the writing.

Why have you borrowed one of Jung’s archetypes of psychoanalysis, the Persona, as a departure of your research?

Persona is the social mask we carry to move in the world. This mask helps us to interact with others, but paradoxically, it prevents us from living fully. There is also the shadow, what we do not show. The shadow, which is essentialy pure selfishness and much less controlled, very often has a negative connotation ; Yet it also constitutes our share of creativity. We are in the very heart of the human tragedy !

Our work is based on both, in how they play out in our relationship to others and ourselves.

You are in La Grainerie these days for a residency. What is your schedule like?

We were in the theater during the first week, and so we worked on our lights. In the studio, we’re taking time to refine the scenes, work on details, focus on emotions. This residency is precious to us as we are about to have our première.

You live between Toulouse, Brussels and Oslo. How do you organize and manage to work together while apart?

Majo and Viola are in charge of most organization because they live in Brussels, the company’s base of operations. We all multitask, do a lot ourselves and even though it is difficult to do so much at once, we really like the investment that puts us in a role of entrepreneur, it makes us learn a lot. Fortunately, we had very helpful partners and godfathers like Espace Catastrophe, ILES asbl and more experienced artists.

We communicate a lot through Skype and created a private Facebook page to solve urgent issues. We also use Wunderlist, a task-managing app, and slowly we have gotten to know each other better and created our own communication rhythm and channels. We mostly communicate in French, which sometimes makes understanding tricky since it’s not our first language. And to handle concepts and collaborative tools for such different people could have been a Tower of Babel…

 

Naga Collective is :

6 countries : Belgium, Mexico, Finland, Italy, Norway, Switzerland

7 languages : French, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, English

6 disciplines: Chinese pole, vertical rope, hair suspension, contortion, acrodance, handbalancing

6 words evoking Persona : multilayered, visceral, hybrid, raw, relatable, tectonic plates

 

© Bernard Boccara

Fheel Concepts on Circus VR and Helpful Digital Tools

 

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The very first residency of CIRCollaborative Tools project took place at the Arts Printing House in Vilnius, Lithuania on 2-14th of January with the company Fheel Concepts. The team is working on contemporary circus and VR (virtual reality) project Ordinary Circus Girl where the viewer will become a circus performer in a short VR movie. We talked with the artistic director of Fheel Concepts and the choreographer of this project about their work and digital tools they use to manage it. We talked a day before their public presentation of the project which photos you can find here.

First of all, could you describe yourself, the company and who works on this project?

I am Corinne Linder, the creator of company Fheel Concepts and I have started this project. The artistic work is being done in collaborations with other artists and I am more of a concept creator. Heini Koskinen is a choreographer for this piece, there will be four or five main characters doing aerials, 10-12 people doing side roles and we also have people to help us with cameras and other technology part. We also need a lot of try outs with cameras so we need a lot of other people.

Ordinary Circus Girl contains circus and VR  and it will also be a movie. Could you tell more about how all those things work together?

Corrine Linder: The idea is to create a personal experience for a viewer, for him to have a point of view of being on stage and being a circus performer. That said, it would also be a different way of seeing a circus performance: having an unusual point of viewing, being very close to the performers, having an ability to look anywhere you want around you. The idea behind VR is to put up to 24 units of 360′ cameras and cut all the scenes together in the post-production, so you as a viewer would be in the middle of the action, you could look in every direction.

Why did you choose this type of technology and how do you see the connection with circus?

C.L.: I chose to do this because I saw the opportunity to give a closer experience for the viewer. VR, first of all, gives a 360′ experience and circus is a 360′ art. So that was the first connection. Also we wanted to find a way how to guide a viewer without telling a story, because we don’t have a lot of dialogues. And circus together with VR is free to guide viewer’s focal point without telling a logical story.

You are trying to get help from the people who are coming to see your presentation by asking them about different point of views. It seems that audience input is very important during the creative process. What do you think about it?

Heini Koskinen: Yes, one of the main focuses of out residency was to try out as many different point of views as possible, so we thought – why not try it with the real audience who has a 360′ view as well and can give us feedback afterwards.

Circollaborative Tools project is all about different digital tools. VR obviously is one of them, but what other tools have you been using?

C.L.: We are also using augmented sound design. It is a way of using a lot of different microphones to make the viewers experience more immersive. For example, we record the sound of aerialists, so you can hear the breathing, the impact of drops from the rope and so on. But mostly we are focusing on VR. It is hard to talk about it because VR is so commercialized these days, but it is very interesting for us to work with it.

What digital tools do you use for managing your work? Maybe you find yourself in need of tools for particular work?

C.L.: We work with a big group of people, so I was looking for a tool for our administration. We work in France, where we have a very complicated financial system and the way you have to pay the artists. This financial part is very complicated already, and then we have residencies where we have to keep track of all of our expenses as well. So instead of sending dozens  of emails with different receipts and boarding passes, we put everything on Google Drive, so nothing gets lost.

Another problem we faced was sharing expenses for food when eating out. For that we are trying to use this app called Splitwise and hope it can help to solve this problem.

H.K.: The only problem we find with it, is that if we decide to use it, we all must have a smartphone or a computer and that’s not always the case in our group, so then it’s not so easy. Maybe at the end of residency we will have a better idea of how to use it.

What tools do you mostly use for communications between your group?

C.L.: We mostly use Facebook chat. And we actually started to talk a little bit on Splitwise as well.

What apps or tools would you say are the best and you would recommend them to other artist?

For task management I use Trello a lot so I would recommend it. And for more visual plans I like to use Evernote. Google Drive was the most useful for me from them all.

H.K.: We also use Google Drive to share all our videos when we are not together.

 

Digital tools Fheel Concepts use for their management:

Google Drive

Splitwise

Trello

Evernote

Follow Fheel Concepts on Facebook here