**Sadness! I never got to see the circus. This is completely the end of an era and a great loss. Also a sadness for the conservation center-hope they can find an alternative means of funding or what will happen to the poor elephants there. Great shout-outs to all the great members of the circus group and all the joy they brought audiences for years. You were seriously a part of the American culture!
High operating costs and the decline of ticket sales “made the circus an unsustainable business for the company,” Feld said.
And after “the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop” in ticket sales, Feld said. Before taking the final bow, the Ringling Bros., will perform 30 shows across the United States between now and May.
For years, the elephants have been in the spotlight and their dance routines featured prominently in the shows. But due to mounting criticism from animal rights groups, the Ringling Bros. phased out the elephant acts entirely.
Off stage, the Ringling Bros. runs an elephant conservation center which sits on 200 acre of rural land in Florida, between Tampa and Orlando. Created in 1995 by Ringling, the facility focuses on the care and study of Asian elephants — an endangered species that it had used in its shows.
Augmented reality! Kinect hacks! Enormous video projections! We’ve seen all kinds of wacky digital ways of making immersive, arty illusions. Here’s what we love about Bâtiment (Building) by Leandro Erlich: It just uses mirrors. To do what? How about float in midair, scale a building like Spider-Man, or defy gravity like someone in an Escher drawing (or David Bowie in Labyrinth). Is that “immersive” enough for you?
The design trick behind Erlich’s installation is child’s play: Build the facade of a building on flat ground, and then erect an enormous mirror standing perpendicular to it. The “building” is reflected, life-sized and standing-up, in the mirror. But because the physical facade is safely on the ground, anyone can walk around or lay down or otherwise playfully pose themselves on it, and look up to see themselves “stuck to” the mirror-building’s vertical surface.
Cheap trick? Maybe, but it’s the attention to detail writ large that makes Bâtiment feel more authentic than any digital simulation. . . . .