BETWEEN CLOWNING + ACTIVISM: a trickster laboratory @ COP26
CALL OUT!! LOOKING FOR ACTIVIST TRICKSTERS, REBEL CLOWNS, DISOBEDIENT FOOLS, BADLY BEHAVED BUFFOONS & MISCHIEF MAKERS OF EVERY FLAVOUR TO JOIN US FOR COP26
This is an invitation to join Jay Jordan founder of Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (C.I.R.C.A) and Robyn Hambrook (Bristol Rebel Clowns, The Online Clown Academy) for an exciting 10 day research project developing new methodologies of clowning and activism to be tested in public space in Glasgow as part of COP26.
We begin with an embodied practice; developing an ensemble through clowning, bouffon and butoh training. To ground our practice into a particular place and time we will use Samhuinn/Halloween, which coincides with the opening day of the COP, as the moment context. The themes of magick and mayhem, divination and pranks, reverence and silliness, disguises and the dead, rites of renewal and witchcraft will provide a rich source for material to overlay on the forms. And what happens when forms lead to action when we release these clown covens on the street. C.I.R.C.A emerged in a moment of war and military. Maybe its success is emerging in a time of rising interest in magick, ritual and healing.
Our research aims to elevate the work beyond aesthetic and spectacle into to more complex, effective and beautiful forms of direct action.
WHO IS IT FOR?
We are looking for 12 participants to join us in the research.
We interested in hearing from clowns and those with experience of clowning, physical theatre, circus and dance training who are interested in exploring new forms of activism as part of COP26 and expanding their understanding of clowning as a form of political expression.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Mon 25 Oct – Fri 29 Oct – Studio-based physical research at Surge
Sun 31 Oct – Thurs 4 Nov – Street actions, experiments and play around COP26
This project is supported by a Surge Residency so we will be based at their space 2/2, 1 Cadogan St, Glasgow G2 7HF
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
We ask that participants can commit to the full ten days.
Deadline for applications: Friday 8 October
You will know if you have a place by Monday 11 October
Click here to go to the application form:
We are waiting to hear the results of funding applications. At present we are unable to cover food, travel or accommodation.
If you would like to participate but have questions email firstname.lastname@example.org
MORE ABOUT THE TRICKSTER LABORATORY
Accepting and learning from failure is surely one of the great lessons of clowns and so 17 years later some of the original founders of C.I.R.C.A together with the founder of Bristol Rebel Clowns, have decided to set up a new experiment, to critically reflect on the past history and methodologies of C.I.R.C.A in order to develop new forms of rebel clowning.
This September, 22 activists and clowns joined us in Bristol to plot and play, reflect and invent ways to merge the deep power of the clown with the forces of resistance. We aimed to invent forms of action that are both effective in the streets and healing on our inner body-minds.
The research continues as we explore new methodologies for direct action to be tested at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
Jay (formerly John) Jordan
Labelled ‘a domestic extremist” by the British police and ‘a magician of rebellion’ by the French press, Jay is the co-founder of the creative direct action movements the ‘Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army’ and ‘Reclaim the Streets’ and now works with the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, a collective that merges art, activism and permaculture. They have 25 years experience using creative forms of rebellion to address climate justice and they love betwixt and between spaces of all sorts, especially where creativity and resistance, culture and nature, the masculine and feminine entangle.
More info: www.labo.zone
Robyn is a director, teacher, performer and clown. With 20 years experience, her passions lie in street arts, circus, clowning and activism. Since 2018 she has been exploring the meeting point of Clowning and Activism through her Masters research ‘Small Circus Acts of Resistance’, at Extinction Rebellion protests and on the streets with The Bristol Rebel Clowns. During the pandemic Robyn took her work online, setting up The Online Clown Academy with Holly Stoppit, and has developed The Activist Clown Toolkit co-lab series to continue conversations and research with international collaborators.
More info: www.robynhambrook.com
Covid-guidelines will be set out and agreed with the venue. By attending the residency you agree to follow these guidelines. Negative lateral flow tests results will be required before we begin and taken throughout the residency.
Masks need to be worn when walking through shared spaces. We will work with transparent half-face masks while training and then wear a surgical mask at other times inside
WHAT IS/WAS THE CLANDESTINE INSURGENT REBEL CLOWN ARMY?
Jay Jordan explains…
Looking back to go forward…
Some say it was a stupid idea, for many it changed their lives. It caused both revulsion and fascination. For some it was their first joyful doorway into direct action movements, for the UK police we were a gang of dangerous domestic extremists. For a few it was a powerful sacred embodiment of magickal activism for others an embarrassing aesthetic crime. It made multitudes piss themselves laughing whilst a handful shat themselves with fear. Some designed it as a revolutionary tool to open up our senses and resist what Deleuze called “the adoption of a way of life that suppresses desires”, others consumed it like a cheap protest meme dressing up to entertain journalists with. Many were recruited, most eventually deserted. We were teachers, scientists, shepherds, artists, priests and even an undercover cop. It was dreamt up in South London but thousands joined up on the four corners of the world. It was a cocktail of camouflage and pink fluff, a bizarre bastard born between the discipline of an army and the chaos of tricksters, a queer chimera of disobedient rage entangled with the unconditional love of the clown, it was The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (C.I.R.C.A).
Emerging within the tail end of the global anti-capitalist movements, in 2003 C.I.R.C.A aimed to merge direct action with clowning, therapeutic practice with protest tactics, (see the original call http://www.tacticalmediafiles.net/…/Clandestine…) with cannons firing pink pretzels at George Bush, invasions of British army recruitment centres to join up, kicking fascists off the street with ridicule and a lot of stupid marching, C.I.R.C.A soon became a global protest meme bringing thousands into the movement. Its absurd actions confused the police and attracted the spotlight of global media. At its peak in 2005 a UK recruitment tour brought over 200 rebel clowns to Scotland for the G8 summit and clown armies appeared across the world; but by 2008 there were few left, all the initial founders had deserted. Many felt that the experiment to bring clowning onto the streets as a powerful challenge to power and as a deep embodied practice to heal activist trauma had big holes in it, there was certainly a quantity of rebel clowns, and many unforgettable magical moments but the quality of clowning was often disastrous, many activist pretended to be clowns, dressing up as rather than becoming clowns. It was both a huge success and a massive failure! A stupid act of genius.