Victorian Freak Show Tarot
The idea of an exhibition participating individuals with severe physical distortions and anomalies
has existed for many years. Nevertheless, the form of these shows, as we know it today,
begun to emerge in the first half of the 19 century with troupes wandering from town to town
to unveil shocking images of unpleasant nature to the public observation.
A mixture of fright and amusement pushed the viewer to stare at those suffering
from all kinds of unique anomalies. Dwarfs, giants, conjoined twins,
people with impaired arms or no legs were put on an exhibition and marked as "freaks".
Most of the freak shows' "entertainers" had already had remarkably complicated lives by the time
they entered the "industry". They have had experienced refusal from family members and relatives.
In countless examples, being kids they were simply sent to the freak shows by their parents.
State schools wouldn't have them but with the participation in the show there was a chance to earn
extra money for their families. For others grown up, the freak show was the only work opportunity
possible, it became some sort of a shelter where they could find acceptance among others suffering
from alike conditions.
However, by the middle of the 20th century, freak shows popularity had started to decrease significantly.
The medical context of disability had changed from "miracle" to "pathology",
arise of cinema and television shifted the audience to different sources of "amusement".
With "The Victorian Freak Show Tarot" we would like to create some sort of a mystical iconography
of the Freak Show World with its destinies, saints and martyrs. Incorporating biographies of the real people
into the deck we would like the viewer to address their questions to them as to spirits or guides in the occult sense.
Nature's deviation from the average among the species, a mistake in the gene copy process,
first appearance of a biological variation - should be considered as the gate to the transcendental
and therefore the object of our attention. To decipher and translate the messages reality gives us through the phenomenon
of pathology we appeal to the spirits of the Freak Show World as to the messengers of transcendental.