Sven Johne, 2011

Greatest Show on Earth (Excerpt)

In this excerpt of Greatest Show on Earth Sven Johne focuses on the act of storytelling per se. "You will be amazed, perhaps distressed." Setting his spectators’ expectations, a compere announces in an endless loop one sensation after another. His chief concern appears to be with effect rather than meaning. Yet no gasp, nor applause, nor cries are heard from the audience. In fact, the show never opens and the audience remains invisible.

In the closed space of the theatre, the "Greatest Show on Earth" is as shut off from reality as it is from the spectacle itself. As a bizarre series of magic tricks, the narrator makes performers, animals, and all kinds of extraordinary creatures appear and disappear. The fantasies are summoned and dispersed so quickly that we are soon overwhelmed by the imaginary multitude. Its hectic, even grotesque sequence and cruelty leaves us numb, or rather at unease.

In his work Johne confronts us with an entertaining void – where anxiety and boredom are closely paired – and where the quest for new sensations is limitless. And, did you know? The show is "only for you"!

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Greatest Show on Earth (Excerpt)
Sven Johne
1 channel video, color video, stereo audio
1920px x 1080px, 5'40"