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Acrobatic Design Week 2: Ideas Galore!!!!!

Hi Everyone!

Today, Bradlee, Pablo, Joshua and I met for the second time to share the ideas we had been culminating over the past week. Pablo and Josh explored a concept stemming from an artistic idea while Bradlee and I explored technical ideas not tethered to an artistic concept. What we came up with provided a great basis for forming an innovative and cohesive design. Here's what was shared:

Left: Artistic Concept Notes by Joshua Lawson

Right: Sketchup Models of Ideas by Pablo Gonzalez

To start the meeting, Joshua shared his notes for an artistic basis of the act. The idea incorporates the sense of duality, two things which come together or go apart. As he mentions, the thought is to incorporate the "Ebb and Flow" into the act through two contrasting elements. Possible examples of this would be symbols of the sun and moon, or the solar system. How could we play with the light and dark side of a planet, incorporating silhouettes, rotations, and orbits into an acrobatic act? This proved interesting for a 'Flying Act' since many existing acts include one cohesive ensemble of performers, not necessarily two groups of characters which contrast or complement one another.

From this idea, Pablo presented initial possibilities for the actual apparatus. As Pablo described, these captured the notion of a pendulum, swinging from one side to another. His designs also included simple elements as to not overcomplicate the nature of acrobatic act.

All: Acrobatic Design Concepts by Bradlee Hager and Houston Odum

The team then looked at the ideas that Bradlee and I came up with. Since our aim was to look at technical aspects of acrobatics, we focused less on the artistic purpose of the equipment. Instead, we focused on what was possible. Bradlee mentioned the concept of horizontal movement via tracking, which isn't done often in aerial disciplines. She also pointed out in a document by FEDEC the concept of verticality and the importance of having "visual reference points" for the audience to gauge the height, length, and orientation of the performer. This also relates to the directing thought that in a circus production, an acrobats goal is often to gain audience admiration. How can the audience admire an acrobat, without a reference to the difficulty of their act? We decided establishing references within the act would be crucial to the success of the final design.

In our group discussion, some of these ideas began to come together and we explored how we could combine multiple ideas into one. This was very exciting and a bit overwhelming since the possibilities are endless. There were some key points made though. These included:

- Integrating artist safety lines in the design will free us from using a net, causing there to be less 'lines' needed to support the structure. This will ultimate lead to more freedom to transform the structure in the air.

- Creating an act simplistic enough so that it relies more on performer efforts than it does on technologically driven equipment.

- Incorporating a designed (solid) structure to help support the essential equipment. This will not just lead to less lines, but also add to the design and artistic quality.

- The design needs to take into account the fact that the act needs to be doable by different artists, without requiring years, or a lifetime, of training. Because of this, looking at existing apparatuses and tweaking/transforming them will be to our benefit in the overall feasibility.

So what next? Well, each of us if going to spend the next week analyzing our ideas, with the goal of combining a few technical ideas with the artistic principle Joshua came up with. When we reconvene, we will do another group discussion and presentation in hopes that we will be closer to having a single design to develop further.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more updates!!! Any comments or suggestions are welcome!


Houston Odum

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