About THE CARNIVAL, PEEP/SHOW ISSUE #2
Sideshow, freakshow, circus, vaudeville, medicine show, carnival. Fortune tellers, midway barkers, animal trainers, magicians. A man with no arms or legs who lights his cigarette without help. The Illustrated Man, the human skeleton, sword-swallowers, fire-eaters, the gorilla that breaks out of a cage into a crowd that pays a dollar to be terrorized. Jugglers, spangled trapeze artists in sequined bikinis, the Dog-Faced Boy, the Caterpillar Man. From the arms of Barnum's Fiji Mermaid to the feats of daredevils: if you were tall, short, fat, skinny, hairy, a conjoined twin, tattooed, limbless, or ate weird food, chances are you could have had employment as a circus freak back then. Now that job is solely in the seven-fingered hands of our bravest artists and poets.
We think of the unfolding possibilities in a film like Santa Sangre: the tattooed lady, the knife-thrower, the boy in a mental hospital who lives naked in a nest of his own building, the mother without arms, the tequila-swilling barker. We think of the elephant funeral, or Debord's The Society of the Spectacle.
Our second issue of Peep/Show is built around the sense that anything can happen when you put a lion-tamer and a human cannonball in the same room. It's about possibility, about disease we've never seen before, a viral opening, traveling on a train to the next town, reinvention, a deliberate reincarnation, the unfounded assumption that everything isn't already written, and the show that emerges from that dystopic assumption.
With live, accordian-driven, dark carnival music; these are some of the magicians whose work we've enjoyed lately.
Lynn Behrendt & Anne Gorrick, Curators
June 28, 2010