“Inertia”: great success for a creative circus in public space

The Chalon Dans La Rue festival included among the artists programmed in what was called IN, now called “Partis pris de création”, the company Underclouds. Their creation in 2022, Inertiais a small contemplative circus bracket built around an original sculpture-clothing.

At the origin ofInertia, a circus object that we would be wrong to confuse with a Cyr wheel, although it closely resembles it. Fruit of the sculptor Ulysse Lacoste’s work, it is a large circle of metal on which would have been welded two rods attached to diametrically opposite points on the object’s periphery, inclined at 45° to the axis. This unique, imposing object, strong by its very presence, is offered to the gaze of the spectators who are invited to the banks of the Saône in the morning, placed on a circular platform which carries it and emphasizes it.

However, it remains a circus apparatus, or at least an “inhabited mobile sculpture”, as the company file describes it. From the moment Mathieu Hibon gently sets it in motion – necessarily circular due to its weight and construction – the sculpture changes destination solely by human intervention and intent. These lines of moving metal, the interpreter, soon joined by Chloé Moura, will explore them, tame them, after all inhabit them. The risk-taking, the threat, quickly gives way to a kind of osmosis, where the performers and their “frame” are in sync, in harmony.

Indeed, the apparatus, by its inertia, imposes a kind of rhythm, while at the same time having the potential to crush the fragile human bodies that would get in the way. But by mating against the metal structure, the performers manage to find balance, to swing or, on the contrary, combine their forces to become masters of the machine. Moreover, it is not quite a machine: what makes it so much more interesting is that it is fundamentally set in motion by the impetus provided by the performers, who also explore all ways of imparting that motion by throwing it, push it, lift it…

The manner of arranging the bodies in relation to the apparatus is sometimes reminiscent of the Cyr wheel, sometimes of the Chinese pole, but nevertheless remains singular. The pitfall of this kind of proposal is to try to get the most spectacular effects from the apparatus, and since it is difficult to reinvent the circus during a stay of a few weeks, the result is often a little disappointing. Inertia thwarts this pitfall by siding with poetry and respecting sculpture’s ability to exist on its own. The artists give themselves space to breathe life into the imagination and the relationship – themselves and to the apparatus – without, however, renouncing the physical commitment and the technical. The equilibrium achieved is made ofInertia a harmonious spectacle, and this writing quality is to be applauded.

It is a beautiful work, almost serene, original, balanced, which offers something mysteriously touching.

It has many dates this season, it is a suggestion to look out of the corner of your eye…


Distribution: With: Chloé Moura, Mathieu Hibon / Sculpture: Ulysse Lacoste / Outside: Vassil Tasevski / Musical composition: Valentin Mussou / Sound universe and spatialization of sound: Sylvain Nouguier / Costume: Delphine Delavallade / Broadcast manager: Hugo Claude / Administrator producer: Sarah Douhaire

Mathieu Dochtermann

Passionate about live performance in all its forms, puppetry in particular, circus and street art too, and still comedy theatre, after all. Practice the clown a little, the story, even more, the theater, always, the laughter, often. Central criterion for a good show: the one who moves, who touches the sensitive thing at the bottom of the chest. The rest is talk. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matdochtermann

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