We are tremendously happy to welcome you to the 4th edition of the Peculiar Families Festival in Split. This edition is a special one as we are hosting the Annual General Meeting of Circostrada, the European Network for contemporary circus and outdoor arts, within the festival. We are honoured by the trust of the network coordination team and its members and we are excited about the challenge of doing it here, on the margins of the circus sector.
This year’s festival edition is organized in the sisterhood and unity of three organizations that have practised alchemy for more than five years together in a working environment that has usually been precarious. Hence, the crisis is nothing new here. It’s a state of the world we have lived in for decades. To adapt, contemporary circus organizations ROOM 100 from Split, Cirkusfera from Belgrade, and Cirkorama from Zagreb share values of bottom-up, peer-to-peer, and interdependent approach to creation, production, and presentation resulting in a specific blend of resilience, improvisation and reliability. Even before the pandemic, working in countries lacking institutional and public support for arts and culture, mutual support and constant interaction of regional actors was a tool for the long-term development of shared infrastructure, fresh generations, artistic criteria, and operating on low resources.
In this edition of the festival, we made an effort to present you a panoramic overview of local and regional contemporary circus production, and beyond that, the community, environment and circumstances in which the contemporary circus arts are created and performed in this region. With 19 performances from 8 countries, and 44 artists, we have put together a programme that offers a proper insight into the Croatian and regional landscape of circus arts with a strong flavour of humour and spice of melodrama. The festival is mostly happening in the tent of the CirkoBalkana gang in Zenta bay. This is the first time ever that Split’s audience can enjoy contemporary circus performances in a tent. The tent, the Youth Centre and the outdoor performances are all located outside of the tourist centre.
By programming away from the epicentre, together with guided walks and critical reflections, we are highlighting the phenomenon of overtouristifaction in which Split and the region are submerged. The impact of the tourist industry on the everyday life of local people inspired us to set a critical ground for reflection on our own practices as a large family of European circus arts. Aside from a great appreciation for all of the collective and individual efforts to make this artistic field visible and innovative, new trends in production emerge that are often far from being sustainable and inclusive, for example, enormous set-ups with an excessive ecological footprint and occasional lack of joyful simplicity in times that need it as we do live in different (financial, technical, and social) realities. This all recreates imbalance, i.e. periphery-centre relations or unrooting the circus from its local and immediate audiences. But instead of insisting on balance, let’s embrace diversity and mutuality. Let’s dance with uncertainty and enjoy being in this together!
— Antonia Kuzmanić
Circostrada Annual General Meeting
ORGANISERS CIRCOSTRADA & ARTCENA
Circostrada is the European Network for contemporary circus and outdoor arts. Created in 2003 with the core mission of furthering the development, empowerment and recognition of these fields at European and international levels, over the years the network has become an important anchoring point for its members and a key interlocutor in the dialogue with cultural policy makers across Europe.
In a few words, Circostrada is:
A community of contemporary circus and outdoor arts professionals linked together by common values and aspirations, who advocate for greater recognition and more structured cultural policies. • The voice and reference network of contemporary circus and outdoor arts in Europe. A group of passionate and committed individuals who meet several times a year at the network’s events.
A network dedicated to its members, engaged in facilitating the exchange of experiences, knowledge, and good practices at European and international levels. • A digital resource platform that provides thematic publications, observation tools and news on contemporary circus and outdoor arts, available to all free of charge in English and French.
ARTCENA is the National Centre for Circus, Street Arts and Theatre. Created by the French Ministry of Culture, ARTCENA is a national rallying point that aims to strengthen the foundation and growth of circus, street and theatre arts. Keeping an open attitude and lively outlook, it works closely with sector professionals while also addressing the needs of teachers, students and researchers. It coordinates Circostrada and has a permanent seat on its Steering Committee. ARTCENA works towards its missions in three main areas: sharing of knowledge and resources through a digital platform; supporting professionals via mentoring and training; promoting and strengthening the circus, street arts and theatre fields by carrying out international development projects.
Galina the co-founder of Mini Art Foundation will be presenting the foundation and our current and upcoming projects and events.
She will keep you informed with daily facebook stories and posts via our site Mini Art Fest, here: https://www.facebook.com/miniartfest