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Interview

Circus on Paper

Since 2020 there has been a magazine dedicated solely to the New Circus, tadaa Magazin. We talked to the three editors Gesine Jäger, Laura Runge, and Dominikus Moos about their idea for the magazine, their inspirations and the differences between working on stage and working at the keyboard.

Chamäleon: How did the idea of publishing a magazine come about?

Tadaa: The three of us, Laura, Gesine and Dominikus, founded the project Kompanie Neun with a few more friends in 2017. This was after some years together in the performing group Impuls. Laura and Gesine wrote a monthly experimental lyrical newsletter for the contemporary circus company. After two years, the members of Kompanie Neun went separate, new ways; the project ended and so did the newsletter. Gesine wanted to continue writing something similar and Dominikus, who had also been part of the design team at Kompanie Neun, wanted to design and publish something in print.

The amazing coincidence that we, Gesine, Laura and Dominikus, have birthdays exactly 4 months apart, inspired us to create a magazine that would be published three times a year. And so, on her birthday, Laura became co-editor of blattmagazin, a very personal magazine featuring poems, thoughts, photos and nonsense from our lives.

After just the second issue, each with a limited edition of 50, we realized that our magazine needed a target audience and a theme if we wanted to reach more readers. That’s how we came up with the idea of founding and publishing a magazine for contemporary circus in early 2020.

All three of you actually come from the stage. Is the magazine a passion project and a nice activity on the side, or rather a practical alternative career, for example, after being a performer?

The stage has never been the only passion for any of us. Gesine loves writing and is studying education, Laura is studying communication design, and Dominikus has a degree in design. From the beginning, we saw the magazine more as a side-line, because it currently costs more money than it generates. Of course, it’ s also a passion project and has the potential to become our main occupation if the readership grows enough to pay a salary.

We could always put more time into the magazine and the distribution of the magazine, but currently our jobs, on which we depend financially, studies and our passion for being artists does not allow us to do so. So it’s great to see the magazine develop from issue to issue, despite the low financial and time resources. We see the magazine as an equal part of our lives alongside our other activities as artists.

Where do you get ideas for your articles?

We view our editorial work as researching, networking, and documenting contemporary circus. Both the research of contemporary circus itself and its forms of representation through the medium of paper is a unique and new kind of representation.

Each issue has a central theme. We do not see this as a restriction, but more as an inspiration, which can give us pointers to topics and texts we would like to write about.
In choosing a theme, we are influenced by the following questions:

How can we expand the image of circus in the German-speaking regions?
What are topics of interest to the makers of contemporary circus?
Which topic could be interesting to represent on paper?
Which topics of contemporary circus do we want to focus on?

The magazine looks extremely professional. Did you train in photography, graphic design and journalism?

Gesine reads and writes a lot, Laura looks for the connection between circus, society and design, and Dominikus has a good eye for sleek design, visuals and photographic subjects. We have learned a lot by experimenting and doing, but of course also through our studies.

Do you still have plans to further your education in one of these fields?

Our plan is to develop a training workshop in cooperation with a very experienced person in the field of journalism, especially with regard to art and culture, for circus practitioners and other people interested in supporting the German-speaking circus scene. Not only are there far too few people familiar with the art form contemporary circus, there are also very few people who write about it.

You have been on stage together several times. Does it make editorial work easier if you know each other well?

Of course, if you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and have worked together in other contexts, it simplifies communication, for example. The level of trust is also quite different, because unconditional trust is essential for acrobatic figures on stage. Nevertheless, the different character of editorial work as opposed to physical work is not to be underestimated. Finding a common work rhythm on such a theoretical, organizational level wasn’t always easy either.

Does the journalistic work also inspire your artistic work? Does one give impulses for the other?

Yes, definitely. On the one hand, you engage much more theoretically and thoroughly with topics when you write about them. And a text that can be understood by anyone is different from notes your record for a stage production. On the other hand, we as artists are probably better able to understand, interview, depict and make space for other contemporary circus makers, because we are part of the scene, have had the same experiences and are one of them.

Is it sometimes difficult to keep the two different types of work separate?

No, it’s actually quite easy. One takes place mainly on the computer and the other mainly in the training hall. Often times we lack movement during editorial work and then do physical exercise together, or we talk about the magazine and come up with ideas for the magazine during rehearsals and circus training. But as long as we don’t log hours, because there’s no money, we don’t worry much about the two jobs blurring together.

What’s the best thing about publishing your own magazine?

What’s really great is meeting a lot of interesting artists and people. We always have a great reason to ask them all kinds of questions and do projects with them. It’s amazing how many people we get to meet and amazing what these people do.

What is your wish for the magazine for the future?

We would like to contribute to making contemporary circus more visible in German-speaking countries, especially making contact to people who are circus spectators or who don’t know contemporary circus at all.

Furthermore, we would like to foster more exchange within the circus scene, through the printed magazine, but also with people outside the scene and from other artistic disciplines. We would like the magazine not to become a burden for us or to put us under pressure, but to be able to continue to design and publish freely and with joy.

What would you like to tell people during this time?

Try to use the time to think outside the box, don’t give up on your vocation, if it’s at stake, but let it rest.
It’s okay if you’re having a bad time. If someone tells you, “Stop complaining, everyone is miserable right now.” Just respond, “I’m not complaining, I’m feeling.”
Feelings are not inherently harmful, we just need to channel them sometimes.
Take care of each other, don’t let it get you down; we can carry this time together.

Many thanks to the editors of tadaa magazine, who took time for us despite their busy schedules. Through journalistic work from the heart of this art form, the three of them contribute to more and more interest and appreciation for contemporary circus.

At tadaamagazin.de the magazine can be ordered individually or as an annual subscription for a donation.

 

Photos:

Cover: Dominikus Moos
Artist: Mikail Karahan

1. photo: Dominikus Moos
Artist: Mikail Karahan

2. photo: Gesine Jäger
Artist: Dominikus Moos

3. photo: Dominikus Moos
Artistin: Laura Runge

4. photo: Dominikus Moos
Artistin: Gesine Jäger

5. photo: Dominikus Moos