Mastering Entertainment. On Travelling Showpeople and Amusement Machines
The dissertation sheds light on the almost unstudied practice of travelling showpeople (owners of carousels, etc.) and their cultural field: the annual fair (Jahrmarkt) in Austria, since mid-19th century. The artistic-scientific research oscillates between two poles: On the one hand, the history and present of the mobile practice of travelling showpeople is reconstructed and documented based on the example of two showpeople families, on the other, the meaning and function of the quality of experience that the audience is (and has been) seeking at the fair are retraced, with a focus on the continuously changing relationship between the human and machine. The research emanates from the (historical) experiences and perspective of travelling showpeople and is based on artistic and ethnographic methods, whereby the field research conducted for the documentary RIDING (FAHREN, 2020, 30 min), which accompanies two travelling showpeople families on their routes through Austria today, served as a vehicle.
Veronika Barnaš is an independent artist and curator based in Vienna. Since the completion of her graduate studies (MA raum & designstrategien, University of Art and Design Linz), her artistic practice made use of a variety of media and genres (film, mapping, theatre and exhibitions) to work on the presentation of spatial, historical, and biographical connections. Using selected biographical cases, the research topics range from exemplary protagonists of migration movements in the Third Reich to the present, from exile literature and the culture of remembrance to urban history. Among other activities she worked as an university assistant at the University of Art and Design Linz (2012-2020), where she is currently researching on the mobile practice of travelling showpeople and the history of amusement at annual fairs since the mid 19th century, with a focus on the changing relation between the human and machines. The documentary RIDING (FAHREN, 2020, 30 min) is a part of the PH.D.
Foto: Alexander Glandien
Publikationen (u.a.): »Fahrende Schausteller*innen und mechanisch erzeugte Rauscherlebnisse auf Jahrmärkten. (Filmische) Einblicke in die Gegenwart und historischer Kontext«, in: Österreichische Zeitschrift für Volkskunde, 01/2020, S. 87–114; »Mastering entertainment«, in: European Journal of Life Writing, 1/2020, p: C1– C9; Veronika Barnaš (Hg.), unORTnung. Eine Ausstellungsreihe in Wien, Schlebrügge 2011.
Temporäre Jahrmärkte erfreuen sich vor allem im ländlichen Raum bis heute großer Beliebtheit. Der Berufsstand der fahrenden Schausteller*innen, die dort für die begehrten Erlebnisse sorgen, ist in Österreich allerdings kaum erforscht. Was macht das Erlebnis Jahrmarkt weiterhin so anziehend, und wie leb(t)en und arbeite(te)n die Schausteller*innen?