In 2010 the Freak Show returned, and it was bigger and better than ever. Preceded by a manipulative promotion project involving posters, 45 opened it’s doors to all and sundry and presented all manor of freaks. The Devil was at work collecting souls and Rapey the Pig was there to warm up the broken boys, who played to every sin. Highlights included the Freaks Parade and the Birdman Dance.
Watch the Wonderful film Jack made of our last big event, Freak Show 2010.
For this project our aim was to test our current work and ideas within the context of a party, Halloween was our starting point, which pushed it in the direction of a freak show party.
The focus was on creating different spaces in order to effect people’s actions whilst intoxicated.
Jack created two tents based on materials and designs he had chosen, one was an ancient style bender, another was a circus style marquee. The intervention these structures made in the space caused people to arrange themselves differently within them. Sitting inside the bender, it was natural for everyone to sit in a circle all facing each other. This meant that no one was left out, everyone had equal say within the conversation. The other larger tent created out of a white parachute allowed for people to form different groups underneath it. This tent had the effect of creating a new sky above the party goers, where they would have seen dark clouds hanging above them instead they had a canopy with a range of colourful projections displayed on it.
Patrick used the party as a context for his death masks, work which continues his investigation ideas of death in the public consciousness. He had created several paper masks of dead celebrities on sticks which people could pick up and play with. These caused a great deal of discussion and changed the mood considerably. Presenting something morbid in this party context created juxtaposition between the expectations of grieving for the loss of a life whilst at the same time celebrating our own youth, at this all student party. Putting these two ideas side by side created the discussion that enabled a sharpened focus to be given to both topics. It was also interesting to see how group mentality meant that on the most part people turned these ‘bad taste’ objects of death into unifying displays of humour.
Martin, Fred and Jack took their freak show costumes outside the safe context of the party. This emphasises the reaction people had to their characters, on the street they performed a surprise side-show act to passers-by, some were appreciative, some were dismissive. Seeing the smiles on people who were heading home after a late shift was rewarding and when the performance was dismissed it made the performers push harder and become larger fools than they already appeared.
Overall the party brought the group together by achieving a shared aim and allowing our friends to share in our fun relationship. The event gives us the confidence to face a larger audience next time, because we have tested this situation as a method for getting our ideas across and getting a different form of response to our work. There are many elements of this event that we will expand on and develop into more considered and successful work in the future.