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the general bibliography (in French)
CNAC CollEx label
Circus and Illusion collection
The Cnac encourages research, innovation and experimentation in close connection with its educational resources (students, teachers and professional contributors).
Through the practice of circus arts, research into new materials as well as the creation and construction of innovative apparatus, should also be developed.
As such, the Cnac technical department possesses internal skills in engineering and creating prototypes. The department helps the students with research into and the design of their acrobatic material, with support divided into the following 3 phases:
1- Development: forming ideas, analysis, design, specifications,
2- mechanical physics: making a plan, engineering, production,
3-Logistics: technical validations and adjustments, acrobatic safety validations, help & follow-up.
This project was a personal research project undertaken by Quentin Claude in order to create a new, sensitive and acrobatic approach to the tightrope.
A student at the Enacr in Rosny-sous-Bois, Quentin Claude wanted to become a tightrope walker. A meeting with Mathan Israël in 2011 radically and definitively changed his vision and his perception of the rope, its immobility and position. A new conception of this apparatus and its practice was born.
The first tests were carried on with a mobile rope that rose from 2cm to eight metres off the ground. As the rope rose, it turned through angles that were more or less feasible, pushing the artist to the limits of his body. Although the approach was interesting, it was not all practical, as twelve people were needed to manipulate the rope, which in turn required six anchorage points on the floor and two aerial hooks.
The need arose to create a freestanding, transportable structure that could be dismantled :
a genuine "mobile tightrope" offering acrobats different practice heights. After several attempts, a first model arrived, and therotating double tightrope was born.
When Quentin entered the Cnac (autumn 2012), he worked with Jean-Charles Le Gac, an engineer at the Cnac, on the technical development of the project. After much discussion and consideration, a second model was constructed in November 2013 and a specifications list was drawn up, which included the following constraints:
- a freestanding structure adapted to both indoor and outdoor use;
- with maximum dimensions of 2.80m for ease of transport,
- designed to potentially accommodate group work.
The Cnac construction committee validated the project in March 2013. The Cnac technical workshop then proceeded to produce and assemble the prototype (June 2013). Two persistent problems soon became apparent, including the system used to block the two wires, which have since been solved (prototype finalized in December 2013).
After several months of practice on the apparatus, alone and in a group, the relationship between the stage space and the spectacular element was completely overturned. The tightrope walker had to continually question the movement and meaning of his practice, for he was no longer working simply on a horizontal plane, but was crossing the vertical, inversion, acrobatics and suspension.
The balancing act was different as the wire was now mobile, constantly slipping away from and destabilizing the artist. The acrobatic dimension of the apparatus added an additional richness to the vocabulary of the tightrope walker. The use of this new structure generated new states, questions and co-operation in the case of group work, the relation between man and machine, the insignificance of man faced with monumental constructions, all underlie a global approach to the artistic and circus practice of this apparatus and have a profound influence on artistic research.