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Mitsein (being-with) is an outdoor circus installation in three parts that examines the way we exist together on a spectacular nine-metre-high structure

About the show

Mitsein explores the way we connect and interact with others by combining circus vocabulary with the philosophy of being. The work was created to engage with the idea that we exist as richly interconnected individuals, not isolated consciousness’ separated from others.

Drawing on the phenomenology of 20th Century philosopher Martin Heidegger the work grapples with the concept of ‘mitsein’ or how ‘being-with’ others is an essential part of our being. Mitsein situates existence firmly amidst a web of interactions with others – my existence is wrapped up in yours, and yours in mine. But what happens when the connections that hold us together not only create unity, but also uniformity? How does one struggle for authenticity within these forces?

In Mitsein, ensemble acrobatic relationships are the vehicle for exploring these ideas as the performers are individual parts of an interdependent whole. Drawing on his rejection of the understanding of interaction as conflict, Mitsein delves into Heidegger’s exploration of interaction as care:

The care and solicitude we extend to others is mirrored beautifully in the collective risk-taking that is group acrobatics.

The nine-metre-high sculpture of aluminium truss is the world that the artists ‘inhabit’; they explore the ground underneath it, climb in and out of it, and balance on top of it, negotiating the constraints and freedoms of their ‘being-with’ one another. 

Mitsein brings this creative exploration of ontology to an outdoor public setting. It is presented in three twenty minute parts: the artists move through states of isolation, negotiation, complicité, and authenticity, traversing the truss structure and various circus apparatus. Between the three sections the audience can walk under and around the structure, exploring for themselves what was a living circus installation just minutes before

Sarah Berrell, Piri Goodman, Jonathan Morgan and Charice Rust 

Directed by Jonathan Morgan and Charice Rust
Composer by Winter Chapman
Videography by Caleb Morgan
Make-up design by Latony Wiggington
Lighting design by Wen Shobbrook
Photography by Aaron Walker
Special thanks to Dawn Holland 

Mitsein was created with the generous support of the City of Port Phillip, through their Vibrant Acland Seed Grants. 

Running time three times 20mins – full technical requirements available on request