Juggling - Music

Prototype is the artistic representation of 5 years spent researching advanced juggling concepts. This work unites a series of collaborations and is divided into two main parts. One half of the show is dedicated to new juggling skills, inspired by new juggling props. The other part makes live music for the show through the juggling itself. The result is a rare collection of juggling imagery that has never been seen before.

Results from the Manipulation Research Laboratory suggested different shapes to manipulate, which were then constructed by RenegadesignLab in California. Linking rings, mobius rings, triangles, squares, hooks, and modified clubs (flattened ends, cup ends, cut out holes), provide entirely new ways to interact with the body and combine with each other.

A live soundtrack is played by placing and moving small objects on the surface of the Reactable, a tangible interface that creates generative music. These objects have special markings which the table reads, and interprets musically in relation to their orientation and location- necessitating new juggling techniques to control their behavior. Work with the Reactable initially started with JAM (Juggling and Music), the first masters degree course offered by a circus university.

A major ingredient in the music are sound samples taken from behind the scenes transmissions of the Apollo era space program. Many of the recordings were first sent from the surface of the Moon, suggesting a certain technologic mastery. The contrast between these low quality recordings, and the cutting edge technology they are now played with is also found in the construction of the Reactable itself- seemingly futuristic and yet pieced together by hand, not yet mass produced or proven. Similarly, even though the RenegadesignLab designs are new, their handmade construction mirrors the process of jugglers from 100 years ago, when jugglers could not just order the same limited choices off the Internet. All of the materials in this show remain prototypes, and by their nature embody exploration.

Jay Gilligan has performed in 23 different countries, touring solo work and collaborating with companies such as The Gandini Juggling Project, Cie Jérôme Thomas, Les 7 doigts de la main, Cirkus Cirkör, and Cirque du Soleil. He is the head teacher of juggling at the Dans och Cirkushögskolan in Stockholm, Sweden, and has recently published a book about contemporary juggling titled "5 Catches."

Founded in 2010, Fourth Shape is a company dedicated to juggling as an art form. Where as Fourth Shape's first production, Objectify (2011), made a statement of where contemporary juggling is today, Prototype suggests where juggling can go in the future. Objectify has been performed in Sweden, Finland, France, Italy, and America. The fourth shape is a symbolic concept representing the search for new juggling ideas, extending and going beyond the traditional trio of juggling balls, clubs, and rings.


Production: Fourth Shape
Director: Jay Gilligan
Consultant: Luke Wilson & Wes Peden
Performer: Jay Gilligan
Soundtrack: Jay Gilligan
Costume Design: Jay Gilligan
Lighting Design: Luke Wilson & Jay Gilligan
Prop Design: Erik Åberg, Tom Kidwell, & Jay Gilligan
Prop Construction: Tom Kidwell & Mike Gilligan
Photography: Frida Flodin

Support by:
Manipulation Research Laboratory
CIRKO Center

This show is dedicated to the memory of Luke Wilson.

(click photo to enlarge / right click high-res photo to download)