From a young age, Brin was naturally drawn to various artistic mediums. He grew up in the green mountains of Vermont, heavily involved in the local performing arts community. Eventually he joined Circus Smirkus, a non-profit youth circus organization, where he spent his teenage summers fully submerged in the life of a circus artist. Brin moved to Montreal in 2014 to continue his practice at l’Ecole Nationale de Cirque, where he specialized in tight wire. During these prominent years, his interest in filmmaking and photography blossomed, using the incredible talent that he was surrounded by as subjects for his work. After graduating in 2018, he spent the following two years touring internationally with Les 7 Doigts de la Main, a contemporary circus company based in Montreal. Due to the pandemic’s impact on live performance, Brin was naturally drawn to progressing his work in filmmaking. In January, he spent 3 months volunteering at Zip Zap, a social circus school in Cape Town, where he co-directed, filmed and edited a 50 minute film as a fundraiser for the South African organization.
Q: WHAT WAS YOUR ROUTE TO YOUR CURRENT ARTISTIC PRACTICE?
For me, the process of becoming an artist has been a lot about self acceptance and understanding how I can authentically express myself. In general, I think that my route has been quite untraditional. I am often connected to what brings me sensation in the moment and I follow this intuition, flowing in and out a lot from various practices. This keeps me really curious, which is essential to me as an artist. What I love most about playing within different artistic mediums is that it brings out such different aspects of my creative approach, ultimately giving me more tools to play with. Most of my career has been oriented around the circus arts. But integrating my love for film and photography has allowed me to create new paths and aspirations for myself.
Q: CAN YOU IDENTIFY ANY ELEMENTS OF YOUR COMMUNITY OR COLLABORATORS THAT HAVE HAD A STRONG INFLUENCE?
If I look at the circus community as a whole, not only has it had a direct influence on my work, but it’s the reason I ventured into filmmaking. Working in this environment gives me a lot of permission to explore and try ideas as a way to exaggerate how the artists envision their work on stage. I like exploring the different variables that film has to offer as an extension of these concepts. With the project that I have submitted, I truly owe this experience to so many close friends and collaborators that made it happen.
This film came about very spontaneously when my friend and colleague, Sabine Van Rensburg, invited me to volunteer at a social circus in Cape Town, South Africa. Zip Zap Circus was co-founded by Brent van Rensburg and Laurence Estève, who had a dream to use circus as a tool to bridge socio-economic gaps and empower youth to build a new culture of peaceful co-existence in South Africa. We spent 3 months creating a 50 minute film as a fundraiser for this non-profit organization who, like many, have been extremely impacted by the pandemic. The love that is shared within the community at Zip Zap Circus is the core reason why we were able to create this film with so many obstacles against us. Every single person involved held an essential role, enabling us to thrive as a unit.
Q: HOW IS YOUR PROJECT TIED TO THE CIRCA X DAZED CLASS OF 20:21 THEME OF ‘COMMUNION’?
Our project tells the history of gumboots, a traditional South African dance that was born in the gold mines at the height of the migrant labour system during Apartheid. The dance is extremely physical and serves as a cathartic release which celebrates the body as an instrument. This piece is a strong representation of the communion that lies in the history of gumboots, and what Zip Zap Circus ultimately stands for. It is a reflection of the past, present and future of this multicultural cast & nation, which is celebrated through the beauty of art and movement to bring people together.
Q: HOW WOULD THE CIRCA PRIZE OF £30,000 IMPACT YOUR FUTURE PRACTICE?
Being recognized as a finalist for CIRCA PRIZE has given me the confidence to pursue filmmaking. For some time now, I have been hovering in a grey zone between performance art and filmmaking/photography, which in many ways has allowed me to develop my craft and learn immensely through multiple experiences. However, winning this prize would create a deep sense of validation. The funding would further my education and be the first step in gaining the technical training that I believe I need in order to develop my work and skill set.
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