Skip to content

TONSPUR 76: Karen Werner (USA): HAUS, part II: Zirkus

27.05.2018 to 28.07.2018 - TONSPUR_passage
Host: Q21

TONSPUR 76: Karen Werner (USA): HAUS, part II: Zirkus


Previous dates

sat, 28.07.2018
fri, 27.07.2018
thu, 26.07.2018
wed, 25.07.2018

All dates

Days with event

May 2018
01 tue
02 wed
03 thu
04 fri
05 sat

06 sun
07 mo
08 tue
09 wed

10 thu

11 fri
12 sat
13 sun
14 mo
15 tue

16 wed
17 thu
18 fri

19 sat
20 sun

21 mo
22 tue
23 wed
24 thu
25 fri

26 sat
27 sun

28 mo
29 tue
30 wed

31 thu
June 2018
01 fri
02 sat
03 sun
04 mo
05 tue

06 wed
07 thu
08 fri
09 sat

10 sun

11 mo
12 tue
13 wed
14 thu
15 fri

16 sat
17 sun
18 mo

19 tue
20 wed

21 thu
22 fri
23 sat
24 sun
25 mo

26 tue
27 wed

28 thu
29 fri
30 sat

July 2018
01 sun
02 mo
03 tue
04 wed
05 thu

06 fri
07 sat
08 sun
09 mo

10 tue

11 wed
12 thu
13 fri
14 sat
15 sun

16 mo
17 tue
18 wed

19 thu
20 fri

21 sat
22 sun
23 mo
24 tue
25 wed

26 thu
27 fri

28 sat
29 sun
30 mo

31 tue

Opening: Sun, May 27, 17:00
Venue: TONSPUR_passage
Admission free

“HAUS,” part II: “Zirkus” is once again set inside the house on Novaragasse where generations of Karen Werner’s Jewish family lived until 1939, when the Nazis took over the house as a “Sammelwohnungen”. “HAUS,” part II: “Zirkus” continues to explore language, narrative and possibilities for repair only this time the circus is adopted as a language and form, given Novaragasse's proximity to the circuses on nearby Zirkusgasse and in the Prater. The circus summons the complex—at times rich, at time troubling—entertainment and creative histories of this neighborhood in Vienna’s second district. Part II of the sonic diptych follows the performative structure of the old circuses, a chaotic sequence of spectacles and acts: an antenna “aerial” artist, the ghost castle, a flea circus, surprise performers. Like the Kabbalistic language in part I, the circus is a strange language, the only kind of language possible for connecting to the annihilating spectacle that happened in the house. And like Kabbalah, the circus is a language of those on the margins of culture; the margins reverberate with possibility for transforming the center. 

The circus, etymologically linked to the Latin word for circle, is a language that can bring people together while also carrying a legacy of othering, oppression and exploitation. So too, the original circus of ancient Rome was created as a political distraction, keeping the populace passive. Recognizing the wreckage within its language and form, the Haus Zirkus asserts and energizes the circus’ possibilities for surreal and nuanced truth-telling and for creating an inclusive and expanding circle, a growing community that includes performers, ghosts and memories in the Novaragasse house, current inhabitants of the house and all who listen now. Through attention and creative acts, this circus attempts to both witness and repair its own discursive legacy. At the same time, the Haus Zirkus works with the painful wreckage and creative vitality of the Novaragasse house across time and helps bear witness to, mend and transform the intimate spaces of the self, family and home, and the wider public circles of community, city and beyond. 

“HAUS,” part I, “Covenant of the Tongue” and “HAUS,” Part II, “Zirkus” are the concluding episodes of Werner’s seven-episode audio project, “Strange Radio”. A “Strange Radio” compilation album and booklet will be released in 2019.

Karen Werner, born in Pittsburgh PA, USA in 1967, lives and works in Montague MA, USA. 66. TONSPUR-Artist-in-Residence at Q21/MQ.


opening hours


Back to main navigation

Cookie Settings

This websites uses cookies to give you the best possible service. Detailed information can be found in our Terms of use and Data Protection Regulations.

Technically essential

Technically essential cookies used to ensure the basic functionality of the website.


Functional cookies used to ensure the proper performance of the website.


Target-oriented cookies used to improve user experience.