The Sphere is super happy to present our new substack newsletter and at the same time introduce all of you to our Circus Open Call - an exciting new proposition around which will revolve the Sphere Season #2 and our main focus for the upcoming year. Enjoy!
During the upcoming month we are reaching out to all the past artists and companies from the last 20 years of CircusNext history. The Open Call is open Nov 1-31. In close collaboration with our partners we will then proceed to explore the possibilities to connect live performances to interactive digital representations presented in our gallery to be voted on and invested in in multiple ways.
Explore the Open Call PDF’s on out website: https://thesphere.as/open-call-1/
What is the anarchive box-making process again?
We are interested in reviving past works, but we are even more interested in seeing how these works will evolve and generate their own derivative lineages over time. This is why the selected artists are invited to prepare a “box” around their already existing performance. What we call a box is an open-ended score for future iterations. It is like a time capsule addressed to future performers with different conditions or enabling constraints attached.
We hope that this derivative curational engine will eventually allow to pass percentages back to projects that inspired, and out to a Sphere common pool that fund further generative artistic propositions like this one.
Why blockchain and NFTs?
The reason is simple: with these web 3.0 tools, it becomes possible to imagine new ways of funding performing arts ecosystems and seeding a new collaborative infrastructure for the circus community.
For instance, each work that will be exhibited in the Sphere 3D virtual gallery can easily become an object of investment because of the NFT attached to it. We envisage a world in which audiences can easily become co-owners of artworks they care for together with artists, technicians, cultural professionals and all other stakeholders of a given project. We call it collective fractal ownership and we hope it will allow for new types of production to grow in the near future.
The Sphere as a letter from the past
We The Sphere shapers, come from contemporary circus, performing art, visual art, game design, radical economy, new technologies, social theory and more. We’re all influenced and inspired by the common trust-making, risk-taking, boundary-pushing art of circus.
One of our key starting point is a shared frustration with existing models for organizing artistic production. Artist’s creativity is often limited by inflexible infrastructures that suffer systemic inertia, restrict artistic expression and waste resources. We felt the need to propose an alternative organizing system that distributes power differently between actors and
incentivizes artistic inventiveness. New forms of art can thus arise and inefficient bureaucracy is avoided.
The other main starting point relates to circus as an artform and its current reception. As contemporary circus artists and innovators, we are part of a movement where interdisciplinary, global and experimental work are essential parts of the practice. Nevertheless, the expanded notion of what contemporary circus could be is often held back. We have an urge to experiment with the art production framework itself. This is what brings us to imagine business models meeting artful propositions, pondering in tandem on their joint landing point.
Artists who were previously thinking through almost utopian ideas or different organising structures as part of their practice have got mixed up in the blockchain space, and then suddenly, they’ve found themselves migrating away from the art world. They’re now participating in this emergent blockchain economy and are producing companies but working with an artistic toolset.” Ben Vickers (https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2018/06/13/artists-as-cryptofinanciers-welcome-to-the-blockchain)
We didn’t know at all where this exploration process would end up at first; we approached the blockchain space as a new circus discipline – mapping different possible approaches, techniques and entry points to somehow interact with this hard-to-grasp apparatus.
As we started to choreograph different economic flows and build an understanding of how the circus ecosystem could benefit from our design, we didn’t fully grasp the full potentiality of the meeting between these two forms of expression. Little by little new ideas and possibilities started to unfold.
What we finally had in front of us was something that potentially could change the way we engage with our artworks, how we share and contribute to each others concepts and ideas. But that wasn’t enough. We also saw a way to include every actor in the whole ecosystem - the artists, the audiences, the venues, the producers, the potential investors and sympathizers - at the level of decision-making, funding and production.
What other curatorial models could be invented? Could audiences of dreamers and publics of interest be invited to participate in the propositional stage of an art project? And could they all benefit from the new radiance of a circus culture that is actively involved in its own reinvention?
EU Partner organizations: Saloranta & de Vylder/A Radar Styled Novel (SE), Berlin Circus Festival (DE), Lithuanian Dance Information Center (LT), Teatro da Didascália (PT), Steven Bachelder (SE), Stockholm School of Economics (SE), Maison des Jonglages (FR), Cordata F.O.R. (It)
Third country partner organizations: High Acres Farm (US), Nordic House in the Faroe Islands (FO), La Serre – Arts Vivant (CA)
In close collaboration with: Curve Labs, Gnosis, Black Swan DAO, Spectre and CultureStake