Circus may not seem like the most obvious medium through which to explore climate change, but watching Perhaps Hope it starts to make a certain kind of sense. What other art form involves so much risk? Where else do you see humans courting danger, even death, with such abandon? The circus artist's willingness to edge as close as possible to the brink and stare oblivion in the face is a pretty good metaphor for the world's inaction on climate change.
Company Here and Now describe Perhaps Hope as an 'eco-apocalyptic circus show', and its three acts feature a repeated set of sequences that gradually unravel. The soundtrack is integral to the piece, weaving written extracts in among the music. Key words like 'anthropocene' and 'hyperobject' play out over the strings, Laurie Anderson and REM.
The LA Review of Books explains what we mean by a 'hyperobject' in relation to climate change. In 'Global Warming and Other Hyperobjects', Stephen Muecke explains that a hyperobject is something vast, something that challenges our assumptions about human mastery over things. Hyperobjects are 'scary game-changers, and they have a touch of the sublime'.
Circus is a display of human mastery over physical constraints – it is a space where a person can balance on one leg on the head of a man, or on the top of a wine bottle. It is a space where people take on gravity and win, if only momentarily. And so it is a potent space in which to talk about issues that challenge human mastery. Perhaps Hope underlines the performers' frustrations and fears about climate change. Through its physical unraveling, it explores the psychological impact of the knowledge that we may be facing the end of the world as we know it. (HB)
Perhaps Hope is on at 17.30 at Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows until 22 August. Wheelchair Access, Wheelchair Accessible Toilets - https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/perhaps-hope
'Global Warming and Other Hyperobjects': https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/hyperobjects/
'What is climate change doing to our mental health?': http://grist.org/climate-energy/what-is-climate-change-doing-to-our-mental-health/
'Climate Change Will Have Broad Psychological Effects': http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/06/climate-change.aspx
'Human Health: Impacts, Adaptation, and Co-Benefits': http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap11_FGDall.pdf
'Saving the World Together: 5 Shows Tackling Climate Change in Edinburgh': http://exeuntmagazine.com/features/saving-world-together-5-shows-tackling-climate-change-edinburgh/
'Generation Anthropocene: How humans have altered the planet for ever': https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/01/generation-anthropocene-altered-planet-for-ever