Animal Cruelty. It is a tricky topic. While no one likes animal cruelty everyone draws the line at a different point. How do we stop cruelty to animals while respecting cultural boundaries? Some countries continue to have bullfights, other countries have dog fights. While these ideas seem too cruel to live with most countries that pat themselves on the back for their approach to cruelty still have traveling circuses with live animals, or aquariums with dolphin shows. There is an element of hypocrisy in allowing these activities to go on while condemning the others. In Germany, one circus company is making giant leaps in progress with their latest innovation – circus animals as a hologram.
Circus Roncalli in Germany has a long and rich history as a circus and has been phasing out animals since the 1990s. Since 2018 the show features no live animals at all, but animals are still a large part of the attraction. How do they achieve it? With holograms. The company sets up 11 projectors around the arena to project these animals onto the circus floor. One look at some of those photos shows how impressive this spectacle is.
While the cruelty-free advantage is the key component it doesn´t stop there. Holograms can be made to do anything. So instead of training an animal to ride a walk a tightrope, you could now make an elephant really fly (sorry Dumbo).
Optoma is the company behind the holograms (who recently claimed a Guinness Book of Records nod for the largest projection mapping show, using 220 projectors) and they are pushing the boundaries in what was previously thought impossible. Audiences have given rave reviews to the show and found that it is bringing the circus to the modern era.
What are your thoughts? Is the traditional circus a cultural novelty that should be protected, or does it fail to stand the test of time?