Results of Quiz: Part 1 – Creative, Controversial or Clueless

Posted by: on August 23, 2013

Finally, we’ve compiled the results to our Aerial Pop Quiz: Creative, Controversial or Clueless. Thanks to all who took the time to answer.

The post went up on May 30, 2013. It appeared on the Heliummm Website, Twitter feed, and Facebook page. We also posted it on several aerial-related Facebook pages, and encouraged folks to share it with our community. The last response was received on August 18, 2013. Fifty-eight surveys were received. For you math geeks, more than one answer was accepted for each question, so the totals add up to more than 58.

The good news is most of you clearly know the difference between what’s Creative, Controversial and Clueless. See commentary and discussion below.

There were many great answers to the questions about who inspires you and who is controversial. Those results will appear in a separate Part 2 post.

1. Engaging an audience with a new theatrical or electronic device

Controversial: 4
Clueless: 1

No surprises here.

2. Drinking or using drugs before performing, ’cause baby, that’s how I roll

Controversial: 9
Creative: 1

For those of you who answered “controversial” or “creative”, I invite you to check out the definition of “reckless”.
The invincibility of youth may lead you to believe that ‘just one beer’ is fine before you perform. It’s not. Any substance or condition (including lack of sleep) that can impair your judgment and/or motor skills is just not appropriate before dangerous activities, no matter how many times you’ve done them before. Yes, even for those of you trying to be ‘controversial’ artists. The artists you truly admire are most likely not reckless.

There’s a difference between a calculated risk and pure recklessness. While trained circus professionals do often engage in risky business (Nik Wallenda’s tightrope crossing of the canyon comes to mind), the calculated trained-for risks are much different than drinking and driving or smoking and performing. All dare-devils prepare extensively for their stunts. See more on this topic here.

And don’t forget that sometimes the acts of an individual can impact the industry as a whole. One reckless accident can adversely affect gig opportunities for all of us and can give the aerial industry a bad name.

3. Making people question the use of earth-destroying precious metals in cell phones through your piece

Clueless: 8

I have to agree with most people here. Challenging people’s use of cell phones is certainly controversial, as is making us think about what must be done to the earth to give us our conveniences. and if you can do that in an aerial piece, it’s definitely creative. In fact, any piece that makes me think and goes beyond ‘ta da’ showiness is indeed creative.

Don’t get me wrong — creativity comes in many forms. Artistic creativity is not limited to pieces that take a stand on a social or political issue. Creativity can come from the movement and transition choices, costuming, make up, and staging. Virtuosic displays that make one’s jaw drop can also be incredibly creative.

Sarah Joel and Stephan Choiniere’s incredible Body2Body Duet from Zumanity is hugely creative and virtuosic. This act goes beyond creativity to innovation – that is, making something that truly hasn’t been seen before. These two fabulous artists spawned a whole new genre, taking traditional hand-to-hand and making it body-to-body.

Watch it here (video used with permission of Sarah Joel).
sarah and stephan

And, if you’re interested in the issue of innovation, creativity, and copycat-ing, click here.

4. Performing on a fabulous custom-made apparatus no one has ever seen before.

Clueless: 7
Controversial: 2

Almost everyone got this one right! And here’s a lovely example of an innovative aerial apparatus. The aerial bicycle is made by Ludwig Goppenhammer of ludwig bicycle 2 - Version 2 Image courtesy of Ludwig Goppenhammer.

5. Calling your new apparatus a new invention, when you haven’t been around long enough or done enough research to know it’s been done before.
Clueless: 50

Controversial: 5
Creative: 3

Let’s face it, folks, a silk has been hung in many ways and variations, from sling to double sling, to hammock, to hammock with tails, just to name a few. You’d really have to be pushing the limits to claim a new apparatus or configuration here. And with more and more innovations on the scene monthly, you may be surprised to learn you’re not the only one with a moon-shaped aerial apparatus or an aerial bartending bar…

6. Getting arrested for performing on private property
Clueless: 39
Controversial: 23

Creative: 2

So, while most people think breaking the law is clueless, almost as many think it’s controversial. Interesting social experiment…

7. Getting arrested for ideas expressed through aerials that threaten the government.
Controversial: 54

Clueless: 6
Creative: 6

At last, something clearly controversial. Don’t know of any aerialists making this kind of controversial work – do you?

8. Rigging your new apparatus from dental floss ’cause your’e so cutting edge!
Clueless: 55

Controversial: 3
Creative: 3

People, this example was pretty obvious, but the message is this: Check out your rigging. Just because the venue tells you they’ve had aerial before, it doesn’t mean the rigging is safe. Here’s an example of a rig I was told was ‘relatively sturdy’. With alarm bells rigging, I contacted one of my rigger buddies who told me this Unistrut is meant for electrical wires, not dynamic human loads. I’ve also seen new aerialists and unfortunately some new aerial instructors, with questionable rigs. Be safe people! Educate yourselves. Poor safety choices are never creative – they are clueless.

Bad Unistrut Rigging small

9. Aluminum vs. Steel
Controversial: 31
Clueless: 23

Creative: 6

This question was meant to pertain to aluminum vs steel for rigging. I’m not sure how the question was interpreted or what exactly these results mean. But, while both aluminum and steel are rated, sometimes steel is more appropriate than aluminum. A full discussion of this issue is outside the scope of this article and is best left to experienced aerial riggers.

10. List one artist who inspired you and why:
We’re saving these results for Part 2. Stay tuned!

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