Hey. I am not sure if I’m allowed by internet etiquette to revive an almost week-old thread (i’ve been off Object Episodes, so just saw it yesterday), but i was intrigued by your proposal so i’ll do i t anyway and hope to not get shunned:D
There are a few problems (not as in bad things but as in things to be discussed) inherent to your idea that seem unsaid or unemphasized and I would like to focus a bit on them, because your proposal raises some more general questions about juggling and how we look at it that i find interesting.
One thought that we’ve explored a little in some threads here already is that juggling exists in many different worlds, such as sports, entertainment and performative art. And if you look at that last world-what you are proposing is of course already being done quite a lot. Especially when you put juggling in the context of the art of contemporary circus, it is being analysed criticised and interpreted like literature or art…because, well, it is art. So you have reviews and analyses such as the ones made by professional critics ( for example: https://www.thecircusdiaries.com/2017/08/18/sigma-by-gandini-juggling-2/ , http://sideshow-circusmagazine.com/magazine/reviews/defracto-circuits-fermés ), breakdowns by the artists themselves ( http://sideshow-circusmagazine.com/magazine/deconstructions/gandini-juggling-smashed ) etc. (Sorry for giving kind of similar examples. There isn’t actually that much of this kind of stuff online, since contemporary circus is a relatively new and less estalished art, but the point is that professional juggling critique that looks at juggling as art does already exist :))
In addition to that, among people who are interested in the “art” context of juggling, it’s very natural to discuss performances in exactly such a way, finding deeper meanings, interpreting stuff and suchlike. To me it seems kind of normal or natural to watch a juggling show or performance and discuss it with friends like you would discuss any other piece of art. You are also encouraged to think like that (what’s the meaning, what’s the subtext, what’s being communicated by the juggling and so on) about your own work if you are an “artistic” juggler.
(i guess it’s clear that i don’t fully agree with the statement that “a white ball in juggling is a white ball”, or at least with the implications of that statement, as i perceive them:))
However, you are proposing to analyse juggling acts in particular. And this is where questions start arising for me. A juggling act, the way i understand it, can be part of different contexts. It can be done in an “art” context (for example a final work in an artsy french circus school) , in a hobby context (for example an act at a convention basically showing off what new technique that juggler has learnt that year) and in an entertainment context (self explanatory. Cruise ships, private commercial performances etc).
Your experience might be different, but for me, the entertainment context is where i most usually see juggling performed in the form of an act. (Like a 7 minute type of thing that’s kind of technique heavy and has a certain type of progression). As I have observed, the main goal of such acts is quite often not to communicate an idea or a message, but mostly to show exciting technique. The theatrical parts of it (such as crazy costumes or some mime stuff where the juggler pretends to be a janitor to explain him juggling with a broom or something) quite often seem to be just added on cosmetically, in order to “justify” the 9 ball flash or whatever.
Therefore, as the goal of most juggling acts that i have seen are seemingly not intended to be interpreted as literature or art, and instead the goal seems to be to just impress the audience, the question arrives - is there a point to trying to interpret those acts as art? It’s still possible, as you have shown with your examples, but my thought is that when a performer doesn’t put a lot of conceptual material into their work (such as themes, influences, ideas they want to communicate), it’s much harder and less rewarding to analyse it…A commercial juggling act, of course, still communicates much more than just tricks-when you watch one, you analyse the information presented to you and you do interpret different stuff like why did they choose this music, why are they dressed as a pirate, why did they have this particular reaction to a drop etc, but as analysis goes, this seems very one sided-you try to get something out of it that wasn’t put in there in the first place.
An “artistic”’ juggling piece (and by artistic i mean any performance that tries to communicate a message, beyond “look at this ,this is cool”. ) has a lot of information put in there by the performer, who wants you to interpret it and sort of invites you to a dialogue. You might get a different interpretation than the artist intended, but at least if it made you think and feel, it can be called successful. Of course a 7 minute juggling act can also be such a “dialogue-opening” performance. But as i said, in my experience that’s rare.
Your experience might be very different, and so I guess my main question, summarizing all this, would be-why do you propose to analyse juggling acts, and not other forms of juggling performance? Why not analyse combat sessions as literature?
(P.s. sorry for the long text, i might unnecessarily overexplain some things that are already clear to everybody. But i think it’s important to lay out my thoughts in such a way, that you know where my logical chains start from:))