In 1986, the Archaos association was officially created in France, and then in 1987, Guy Carrara and Pierrot Bidon joined forces to become co-directors of the circus company.
The company’s artistic vision initially consisted of making a radical break from the aesthetic codes of the traditional circus. This approach included creating innovative scenography, adopting contemporary costumes, using modern musical scores, and dealing with important social issues.
For the first time ever, the circus entered the social debate by addressing subjects such as violence in the suburbs, religious oppression, and sexuality (quoted from https://www.archaos.fr/en/la-compagnie)
I arrived in Archaos on the 17th of January. I met the crew who carry the center forward, including Guy Carrara and Raquel Rache de Andrade who are the other two directors of the center and two out of three founding members of the circus company Archaos. Pierrot Bidon, who passed away in 2010, together with Raquel were performers in the Archaos shows, and Pierrot, together with Guy, was also the one to write and direct the performances.
My first day here I sat down with Guy and got a compact history of the circus company, their shows and touring life, accompanied with incredible videos of the shows that for sure shocked the world between the 80s and 00s.
The practical part of this shadow experience has formed quite naturally. Since there’s a training space attached to the institution, I have been utilizing it some of the mornings. The hall is rugged and charming, with multiple aerial points and crash mats and it holds nicely at least 12 people training at the same time (based on my experience). The space is open from 9:30 to 13:00 and it’s for circus professionals.
Some mornings there are meetings at the office with different team members about the social projects that Archaos has (there’s so so many), productions (they are already in full planning mode of the BIAC 2025 of course) and general team meetings with current topics. The atmosphere is always warm, kind and the three leaders are very generous with positive affirmations and validation. The space feels safe and there is room for mistakes, conversations and disagreement. Help is asked and given easily.
Simon has his plate full, that’s for sure. In addition to his usual things, he debriefs the meetings for me every day, or his current projects, and we drift from one topic to another.
One day we started the morning at a radio station, where Simon was interviewed about the Entre2 BIAC, a smaller circus festival that is organized every other year, between the two BIACs, as the name says.
After lunch (which everyone usually eats together around the same time) I had a nice meeting with Raquel, who told me about her project Telecirque (https://www.archaos.fr/en/telecirque). Telecirque is a mini series in the sense that it has multiple short episodes per season. But it is quite grand, it has been running successfully for ten years. I’ve watched episodes from the early seasons, and also from the latest seasons, and I have enjoyed the material as a short view to the (recent) history of European circus. I recommend taking a look!
For the next blog text I might dive deeper into the values and working methods of Archaos.
Thank you for reading, I'm going to head outside to have a little lunch coffee now!