Enjoy the Show

This body of work discusses the human urge to dominate animals, especially with reference to the provision of 'entertainment' within a circus.
Once the piece is worn, it creates for the wearer a feeling of imposition and restriction. The metallic element on the back references the oppressive tools that animal 'trainers' use in order to subjugate animals. As the wearer moves, the constant knocking of the metallic element on their back is a subtle and persistent reminder of the conditions that animals endure in the circus.
The red cord symbolizes the illusion of ‘entertainment’, which the animals, estranged from their natural routine are supposed to offer the audience through fancy costumes and tricks.
The knots are fundamental to the piece; the links they form, like the animals they represent, if ever untied will unravel the piece’s illusion and theatricality –The abusive and barbaric nature of the relationship would be revealed for what it is.

"Enjoy the Show" Project, University for the Creative Arts, 2013

Excerpt from the poem 'Moonlight Sonata' by Yannis Ritsos

At times, when evening descends, I have the feeling
that outside the window the bear-keeper is going by with his old heavy she-bear,
her fur full of burrs and thorns,
stirring dust in the neighborhood street
a desolate cloud of dust that censes the dusk,
and the children have gone home for supper and aren’t allowed outdoors again,
even though behind the walls they divine the old bear’s passing –
and the tired bear passes in the wisdom of her solitude, not knowing wherefore and why –
she’s grown heavy, can no longer dance on her hind legs,
can’t wear her lace cap to amuse the children, the idlers, the importunate,
and all she wants is to lie down on the ground
letting them trample on her belly, playing thus her final game,
showing her dreadful power for resignation,
her indifference to the interest of others, to the rings in her lips, the compulsion of her teeth,
her indifference to pain and to life
with the sure complicity of death – even a slow death –
her final indifference to death with the continuity and knowledge of life
which transcends her enslavement with knowledge and with action.

But who can play this game to the end?
And the bear gets up again and moves on
obedient to her leash, her rings, her teeth,
smiling with torn lips at the pennies the beautiful and unsuspecting children toss
(beautiful precisely because unsuspecting)
and saying thank you. Because bears that have grown old
can say only one thing: thank you; thank you.

Ritsos, Y. (1993) 'Moonlight Sonata' London: Anvil Press Poetry

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