Slow circus:

Intimate and personal spaces create places of respect and equality. And it is in these spaces that the difference between touching and being in touch emerges.

Touching can be superficial. You can touch to know, to recognise and to know. You can touch to move, to hold, to reach. But when you touch to connect, to try to understand from the link between bodies, when you seek to know beyond the superficial, then you enter into contact.

Contact is intimate, it requires care. Contact is vulnerable.

I have found contact in the pause. It has been through the pause that I have become aware of space and bodies, of what is happening around me, of what is happening inside me. The pause has made room for transformation, for movement, for dialogue.

The pause gives me calm, it gives you time to breathe, to listen and observe attentively. It is in silence and in the pause that you can see the movement, see beyond the visible. The pause generates spaces of intimacy. And it is in these that transformation begins. The pause as a means to be in the present, to connect, to generate interconnections.

This is where the concept of Slow Circus comes from. That which I understand as the circus of the present, of the moment. The circus that looks deeply. A new concept that my tutor Marie-Andree put into my head. A new idea that I want to investigate in greater depth.

The pause gives you space to look. Slowness offers you to see the transformation, the work, the change, the trick, the present, the movement.

In the calm there is storm and, in the storm, there is calm, or as my dear friend and mentor Eleonora Dall'asta said, in the static there is movement, in peace there is rage and in rage there is silence.

Now that I am from the pause, I reflect on the horizontal spaces of which I have spoken. Until now they have been treated as those places of equality between bodies, between spaces, those places where there is care, respect and reciprocity. Places where there is dialogue on the same level, places that break the verticality, the vertical line.

And by breaking that vertical line I create a horizontal one, but when I think of changing the plane of the horizontal line, I find depth. This leads me to think that maybe I'm not just talking about horizontal or vertical planes and spaces, but that there are other planes, other dimensions, like diagonals, that cross the whole space between the vertical and the horizontal. Therefore, by breaking the vertical line I create a lot of lines with different planes and dimensions. Lines that embody space.

Perhaps I am looking at a space where many dimensions can be inhabited, depending on the perspective of the plane you occupy. Therefore, I could be talking about space as a multidimensional place. A space with lines with different senses and directions, straight lines, undulating, moving, pausing, knotted, occupying a space. A space that will remain a space of equality, reciprocity, respect and care, a horizontal space.

A multidimensional horizontal space.


Horizontality as a multidimensional space.







Circus and space:

I have spoken of space and it has been defined as that place where bodies and movement inhabit or are situated, where bodies adapt and stories are created. But little has been said about the circus.  Until now it has been spoken that the circus is the place where artists share part of their journey, that it is where pain is romanticised and where artists become their own tools, as well as trying to interact with other bodies.

But the circus is much more, the circus is a place where you can distort reality, take you to a new one, show you that bodies can go beyond the limits reaching the impossible, and in it not only seeks to entertain or amuse an audience, but to tell stories through spectacle and new experiences. The circus is about human culture, about risk, about the impossible.

And what is the importance of space in the circus?

 On the one hand, space in the circus has the capacity to transport bodies to another universe. When the audience enters the space where the show is going to take place, you have already adapted, transformed and travelled, the space prepares you for what is going to happen. The space puts you in context, situates you, speaks to you. The space can connect you with the present, with the moment, with what is happening or is going to happen.

On the other hand, space is not only the place where all this happens, but it has the power to be transformed as part of the circus. That is to say, space is not only place, but it is part of the interconnections that are created - between it and the bodies -, generating a series of dialogues that tell stories, distort reality, transforming everything. Space is part of the discipline, of the training, of the creation, of the spectacle. The transformation of space is circus.

Space is the place where the circus happens and at the same time it is circus.

The importance of space in the circus is that it allows, in this new reality, to break the verticality between the artist and everything else, putting an end to the anthropocentric gaze, erasing the established barrier of binarism between the material and the living, creating horizontal spaces, strengthening interconnections, making the invisible visible and creating movements as dialogues.

In both experiences, whether of space as the place where the circus takes place, or space as part of the circus, space is inhabited, by the bodies, by the spectacle, by the movement, by the invisible, by the space itself.

Is space then a limiting factor when it comes to expressing yourself and inhabiting it, or is space a place where you can adapt and find new ways of expressing yourself and inhabiting it? Restrictions or limitations are nothing more than the possibility of finding new ways. It is a way to expand your vision and turn things around. You get out of your comfort zone and find other ways of acting. What can you do with? There is no freedom without restriction. And you can choose to adapt to what you are offered by turning it into a new possibility or to conform.

And for this, for all of the above to happen, we have to embody space.

But how do we embody space? To embody space is to personify or represent it. Space has its means of communication, as do bodies. Both have limits, that is to say, possibilities. Therefore, a dialogue has to be created between body and space in order to do so. Giving and receiving, observing, listening and adapting. And in order to adapt to space, the body must inhabit it. And for this we cannot forget that it has its history and experience, like bodies. That there is not only what we see, but also what we do not see.

When one begins to inhabit space, one must be open to change, for no space is inhabited in the same way, just as bodies do not inhabit space in the same way. As Laban quoted, "space is a difficult word to define. Ask twenty people their opinion as to what space means to them and you will most likely get twenty answers".  To embody space, you have to move. We have to find the paths it offers us and then inhabit them, just as bodies also offer them and it is space that adapts.

In what ways can the body adapt through movement as dialogue. By moving we interrelate with space, creating a connection that makes both space and bodies transform.

When space is transformed, when we transform it, we embody it. All embodiment will depend on the lived experience of space. Spanovangelis (2021), said that "Embodiment is intimately linked and connected to our inhabitation and experience of space".

We observe, we listen, we adapt ourselves to inhabit a space. We create a dialogue that transforms the space, thus embodying it.

However, it must be borne in mind that not everything visible and invisible will always be seen in the same way. For as we have already seen, each body has its own way of understanding and seeing things, due to its own experiences, ways of thinking and living. We will never fully know the purpose for which a space was created - in the case of spatial architecture - because it will be difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of the person who made it, thought it, imagined it. Since nobody and nothing lives the same experience in the same way.

And how does the circus embody space? In the same way as bodies, through movement, adaptation, observation and listening. The circus inhabits space to embody it and space is embodied by the circus to transform it.

In the book Thinking through the circus, the idea is defended that we are bodies that inhabit space, and that as the different bodies that we are, we have different ways of inhabiting and communicating. And this is nothing more than the possibility of understanding and getting to know new ways of moving and communicating through the body, through bodies.

We can know and understand other bodies through dialogue, observation and listening, the book Vibrant Matter (2009) suggests that "life is unknown to us except in association with bodies" (p.75). The body has its own way of communicating through movement without the need for words. Movement is the dialogue between bodies, in it resides thought, its history, and it is through it that spaces are inhabited.

Let me return to the concept of embodying or representing the image as the meaning of embodying. When one embodies a space one can take two paths, the first is that one interprets what one sees, touches or feels, that is, one creates one's own history of what one inhabits; and the second is that one seeks the imprint of the one who created that space or body that one intends to inhabit. When one embodies a space that has been created, one is not only inhabiting that space, but the one who created it. It is not a representation, but an imprint left by the artist, a movement, a thought, an agitation. When you embody a space, there is not a space and a body, there is only a space, your body becomes that space. There is no space without a body, just as there is no body without space. "The image touches me, and, thus touched and drawn by it and into it, I get involved, not to say mixed up in it" (Nancy, 2005, p.7). Space penetrates you in the same way that you do.

When this happens, when a space is embodied, this encounter, this dialogue becomes intimate. Two bodies communicating to offer each other possibilities, telling their own stories to turn them into common ones. It is showing your vulnerability and sharing it. Nancy defends this idea in her book Ground of the Image:

Our body is an imprint, just like space. Our body harbours physical knowledge, as well as showing the inner ones. Movement shows the invisible of our body, that which others do not see. Our body also has human and social culture, through generations stories and experiences that the body remembers and memorises. The body and space are visible and invisible, they have traces, they have history, they are vulnerable and intimate.

It seems you have reached the end. And before we finish, let's recap.

 Over the course of two years, I have experimented and researched ideas and concepts in order to create something of my own, and it is now, after writing the thesis, that I have come to the conclusion that I have been working with a number of methods and methodologies to bring it to fruition. Some of the methods used already existed, the interesting thing is that others have emerged during and at the end of the process.

As methodologies I have used both contemporary dance and the circus practices of aerial dance with harness and the manipulation of objects, as well as the adaptation of bodies as blank canvasses, spatial architecture and art therapy.

Contemporary dance has been my ally to be able to develop movements and sequences to incorporate in different spaces, in addition to the fact that thanks to it my body and movement knowledge is greater, which has allowed me to open my body to new experiences. 

Aerial dance has allowed me to explore the body and space on different planes, high (ceiling) - medium (in the air completely, or on a wall) - low (floor or other bodies). Thanks to this I have been able to understand my body and its movement in changing its relationship to space. The use of this discipline has allowed me to play with gravity, suspending both my body and others, to break both the verticality between bodies, and the verticality of space itself by placing the body on a horizontal plane within the vertical. Breaking planes to see how gravity affects the suspension of bodies.

The manipulation of objects as a beginning to talk about the transformation of space. This discipline has allowed me to enter into dialogue with other material bodies to understand their movement and to begin to understand the dichotomy established between the human and the non-human in order to break it.

Regarding the adaptation of bodies as blank canvasses, I emphasize this because, as I have commented throughout the research, each body is unique and has something different to offer. Understanding this as a principle to develop exercises focused on the adaptation of bodies to space in order to transform it. Therefore, the curiosity to investigate the nervous system and movement was born, to understand what each body can offer. It should be noted that before starting the master's degree and during it, I had the opportunity to work in three dance companies -Compañía Neón, Colectivo Lisarco and Full Radius Dance- that work with the diversity of bodies, as well as the work of art therapy, which helped me a lot to understand and see the number of possibilities, not limitations, to relate to space.

Spatial architecture as a means to learn and understand how to design and plan other ways of modifying space through art and construction. How an architect looks, how to make the invisible visible.

And finally, art therapy as a means of understanding my research through other artistic mediums. Sometimes it is not necessary to express myself through the spoken or written word. Besides giving me tools to investigate and connect with space and bodies.

In terms of methods, there are some that already exist, some that have emerged as a result of research and some that have also emerged as a concept. 

Those that already exist (understood as those that I usually use to start a research project) consist of listening, and researching other projects and concepts. This has served as a means to be nurtured, inspired and learn from others who have researched or talked about the same or similar topics. These methods to be able to put myself in the gaze of another body, to look with perspective, to nourish myself, to question myself and to reflect.

The methods that emerged (understood as those personal ones that arise during the research to carry it out) as a result of the research were observation, adaptation, installation and pause.

Observation: what can what I observe offer, what do I think I can offer, how can it do it, how can I do it, how can I do it? I observe not only what I see, but also what I do not see. What ideas or concepts emerge from the observation? What do I want to do? What do I think I can do? And all the questions that may arise from observation.

Adaptation: the means to embody and inhabit, to come into contact with space and bodies. The body observes, touches, listens and sees. Touching to see, to listen. The body adapts with any part of the body.  It is the tool to adapt to space, to another body. How can I adapt my body to another body? and to space? how do these adapt to my body? what possibilities can I find? How can I adapt a movement, a colour, a shape, a smell, a person, a story with my body?

Installation: as a means to offer possibilities, changes, transformations to bodies and space. What else can I do with X? What happens if I transform X? I can generate new spaces to inhabit the existing space and incarnate it. Installation as a means to create a new reality and see what else I can do with bodies and space. Installation as a rupture of hierarchies. Installation as a means to dialogue, to enhance interconnections.

Pause: the pause as listening, to see the movement, the silence, the transformation. Through it one becomes aware of every look, every step, every story. One can connect and feel how what is around, in contact or not, is affected, changes, transforms. The pause to be in the present, in the moment, to be aware of the body, of the space. The pause gives space to the intimate, to the personal, to the vulnerable. The pause to investigate the slow circus.

Finally, the methods that emerge as a concept.

Movement as dialogue: A method to understand how bodies communicate. A method in which movement is understood as the dialogue that is created when bodies and space are interconnected. Through these connections it is possible to investigate where movement comes from, who or what moves whom or what, and to generate new possibilities of movement.  Through this method, the body or space can embody another body or space, adapt, communicate, relate, connect, observe, listen and transform.

Limitation and control as possibility: Stop seeing limitations or control as something that holds you back. When something limits or "controls" us, it gives us the possibility to find other paths. This feeds your perspective, your way of looking and understanding, and even your way of creating. When you stop seeing limitations, other worlds open up to you, other realities, other universes, you begin to find new possibilities. What else can I do? What other way is there to do x? and other questions that may arise.

Horizontality as a multidimensional space- breaking hierarchies, the dichotomy: This concept arises to create spaces where the research between bodies is equal, so there will be no hierarchies or differences between bodies, but everyone will be on the same level. Besides being a multidimensional space, where there are different planes to occupy space.  That is, there are different planes for inhabiting space, and a single level of equality.

Vulnerability as potential: Treat vulnerability as inspiring. Use fears, doubts and insecurities as power to gain strength, believe in oneself, accept oneself, show oneself, fight and create from there. Vulnerability as strength. Method to create from the personal and intimate and generate spaces of equality.

Bodies as spaces: method by which space and body become one. The body embodies space, space embodies the body. The body creates space, space creates body. This method is an ensemble of the previous four. Through them we can come to develop the potential of interconnectedness.


All this as a result and research process of my project, without forgetting all those questions that remain to be answered and investigated, and that can serve as inspiration for other projects and research.







The body occupies a space, and the space occupies a body.

The body dialogues with space and space dialogues with the body.

Body and space are interconnected.

Space creates bodies and bodies create spaces.

Space as body.

Body as space.


Bodies as spaces.

Click to read the pdf. 







Circus as an installation:

Installations, or art installations, seek to question works of art, create temporary spaces and be created in any space in order to break down the formal aspects of a work of art through an artistic experience. Creating installations in which movement, bodies and their transposition inhabit the space and dialogue with each other is one of the objectives of the project and the research.

To create living installations as part of the circus. These installations are nothing more than transformed space. When I occupy a space, I observe it and listen to it in order to adapt myself, I adapt myself to inhabit it, to dialogue with it and then embody it.

The installations are the result of the transformation of these spaces. The installation is made up of bodies and space. And these will be alive because they will always be in movement, transforming themselves. Because in them the bodies and the space will be in constant dialogue.

When we transpose bodies, we are distorting reality. A first reality that is going to be transformed. A reality that will give rise to this installation. And to begin with, we have to ask ourselves, what else can it be? what can be done in it or with it? what does it offer me? what can I offer it? what is its history? how can I adapt? how can it adapt to me? Each installation created, each space transformed will depend on the body that embodies it, on each dialogue that arises, because each body, as we have already seen, has its own gaze and experience.

If I go back a little and return to the object as something sacred, I remember that this means respect, if this concept is transferred to all bodies, equally, and to space, spaces will be created where respect will be one of the characteristics they have. When something is treated with respect and spaces are created where this has a place, spaces of intimacy are created, generating dialogues based on care.

When I create this respect between bodies, I am creating horizontality in space. The intimate space can begin to be transformed through interconnections. This horizontal space between bodies does not mean that the bodies are understood as alive, with feelings, as a living being, but that the treatment towards them is equal to equal, it is reciprocal, there is a dialogue from respect, it simply seeks to break the label between the living and the material in order to focus simply on movement. Of course, a non-living body will not be able to move through space on its own, it will need the help of another body to do so. But it will make the movement that the living body can offer to it one way because of its forms and histories, among other things. The living body adapts itself to the possibilities of the material body to generate movement. And the material body will generate a series of movements in terms of what the living body offers it. Therefore, both bodies are giving and receiving equally. That is why it is not necessary to differentiate the bodies.

All bodies are connected by a network that affects them equally. Every decision, every move, every trick, every action has its reaction. The living needs the material as the material needs the living. Therefore, I speak of a network of bodies living in symbiosis.

The installations are a space formed by bodies that are horizontal, and these are in constant change and transformation due to movement.

Installations can be created through the transposition of bodies and space, or they can be found already created as architectural spaces. 

The difference between the two is that the first would be to arrive at a space and through the movement generated by the interconnections between the bodies transform the space to create an installation, which can remain as such or can continue to be transformed, and the second is about an already created installation that is going to be transformed; that is, I transform the space to create an installation, or I transform the already created installation to embody it and transform it again. In this way, the installation will remain alive. What else can I do? What else can it offer me...?

Oliveira, on behalf of Ferrerira, relates in the article Circus Architecture: Ângela Ferreira's Zip Zap Circus School (2016), that architectural spaces are created to give them different voices, to create open places to be inhabited. "The architectural model thus lost its function and became an open space - open to be metaphorically inhabited by other voices, other events, other lives" (Oliveira, 2016, p.41). Architectural spaces have the capacity to adapt, like bodies. Space adapts to the body in the same way that the body adapts to it. "Ferreira underlined the potential of architectural models to signify precisely that provisionally and adaptability" (Oliveira, 2016, p.41).




It is necessary to take into account both the culture and the society in which the installation is going to be made, of the installation that is already created and of the person who created it or the one who is going to create it. And this is where the invisible parts of the installation will be.

If this is taken into account, we will be able to understand much more what the installation wants to tell us, why it is in that place, the reason for the materials, its history, the history of the person who created it.

Therefore, we must not only look at what we see first, but also at what we do not see, so that, when it comes to embodying the installations, whether new or already created, the relationship established between the bodies and the space is conscious, respectful and egalitarian.

In the same article in Circus Architecture: Ângela Ferreira's Zip Zap Circus School (2016), Ferreira defends the idea that spaces have the ability to travel through time, to transport you to the future, show you the present and tell you about the past. "If one of the intentions of Ferreira's Zip Zap Circus School was to invoke the past to understand the present, the location of its final manifestation in Foreshore was also crucial." (Oliveira, 2016, p.42). The space speaks of culture and Society. "Metaphorically, perhaps, the project also addressed how the history of architecture is directly linked to the changing definitions and uses of land and territory" (Oliveira, 2016, p.43). Space itself is a virtuoso. And, of course, space has the capacity to show us reality and allow us to transform it. "As in the Zip Zap Circus School, sculpture becomes a tool through which to read and translate reality" (Oliveira, 2016, p.47).

Playing with the relationship of intimacy between bodies to break limitations and find freedom. Let's forget the differences as something that separates and divides us, to find in them something that unites and equalises us, teaches us and offers us.

These installations create stories and transform them, distort space, and give the possibility of generating new means of movement, of research between bodies and space, of transformation and transposition. Installations have the power to create living stories that will never stop evolving.

These installations are living installations.

Understanding then that the relationship of bodies in space can be intimate and horizontal, that the dialogue between bodies and space can transform reality and distort it to create a new one, and that all this involves creating stories that speak of society and human culture, we can say that the creation of an installation, a living installation, in which all this happens, where movement does not stop but transforms, is part of the circus. Restrictions or limitations are nothing more than provocations to find other ways out and answers. Conform or transform the situation to take advantage of it. Create installations based on horizontality to generate new dialogues and realities. To look for new ways of moving, connecting and re-inhabiting to create new spaces in which to carry out the practice of transposing bodies.