Master’s Project: CirqusIxD – Interaction Design for Circus Art

Camilla Ryd, masters student in Interaction Design at the School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University, has for several months been working in collaboration with the Living Archives project.

Ryd explores how interactive materials can be a part of a circus act, to create poetics and magic, and what methods a designer could use when designing in collaboration with circus performers.

In her own words:

CirqusIxD is a master’s thesis project connected to the Living Archives Performing Memory research strand. The project is exploring the combination of circus performance and digital technologies, engaging local circus performers based in Malmö.

As circus has a strong corporeal theme, this projects seek for qualities of the living. The contemporary circus landscape is diverse, mixing circus techniques with dance, theatre and music. The aim is to explore ways interactive materials can be a part of a circus act, to create poetics and magic. So far, there has been experiments with acrobatics, juggling and aerials, combined with interactive visualizations and physical prototyping.

Video: A design-research proposal – an exploration of digital tools for circus art. View on Vimeo.

In contrast to the traditional circus, where the techniques were handed down from generation to generation, contemporary circus has become an open interdisciplinary, experimental practice. This opens up for new artistic collaborations, informing each other’s practices. The specificities of circus, the time required to master skills, the skills of the single performer, the height and the large physical space, and the generous and creative mentality in the circus, all make up the terrain where this work is being developed and performed.

CirqusIxD Arduino

Boris Acro and Amanda van Rheinberg in a workshop combining acrobatics, sound and conductive paint.

The results of Ryd’s work will be made public in June, 2013.

Read more about Malmö University’s Interaction Design two-year Master’s programme.

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