New York University and University of California, Davis, USA
Bio: Most of Ante Ursić’s professional career has taken place as a performer and choreographer in the field of contemporary circus. He has successfully produced independent as well as collaborative projects. He received a gold medal from the SOLyCIRCO festival and a special prize from the Cirque du Demain festival. Ante Ursić performed with companies such as Cirque du Soleil (Totem), Circus Roncalli and the Tiger Lillies Circus. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Performance Studies at UC Davis. He focuses on circus acts, events, shows and performances which facilitate the expansion of our perception of circus: what and who it encompasses, as well as its politics. He is currently investigating the animal–human relationship in traditional and contemporary circus.
Title: Approaching Limitrophy – Beastialities in Baro d’Evel Cirk’s Bestias
Abstract: I am interested in different instantiations of the human and animal encounter in modern circus practices. In this year’s contribution, I examine Bestias, the latest show produced by the French-Spanish circus company Baro d’Evel Cirk, one of a handful of circus companies who work with their animal performers to address questions of animality. My presentation uses Bestias to approach Derrida’s concept of limitrophy. Rather than positing one absolute and decisive limit between the human and the animal, limitrophy is concerned with differences, heterogeneities and multiplicities. However, Bestias becomes a limit case. As a circus, it represents Derrida’s horror of taming on domestication. Hence, for Derrida, the traditional, animal-centered circus is a spectacle that arouses negative affects and a place where limitrophy is denied. In contrast to Derrida, I attempt to suggest that circus is a site where boundaries between species are constantly transgressed. More specifically, I examine how Bestias fosters heteroaffections and practices limitrophy rather than denying it. Furthermore, I reflect on how Bestias, by exploring and staging limitrophy, allows us to think of a political plurality beyond the category of the human.