Todays news of Sir Edmund Hillarys death has been reported around the world. His legendary achievements have inspired many tributes but I remember seeing, several years ago, probably the strangest imaginable.
I was in Sydney and while exploring the waterfront area stumbled into the Museum of Contemporary Arts. One exhibit was a small table sized Circus tent with beautifully made machined miniature alloy apparatus. Tiny towers linked with a high wire, a miniature cannon, a high dive board above a thimble and little dumbbells.
A video showed real living fleas performing the feats of skill and daring. The one that came to mind today featured a tiny felt covered conical mountain and seen, on the video, ascending it was none other than Sir Fleamund Hillary.
I wonder if Sir Ed ever saw it? I suspect he would have liked it.
I found a two videos of The Cardoso Flea Circus. The first is the performance I saw with the exhibit and the second shows the installation in Sydney.
ross rudesch harley - Cardoso Flea Circus Video (Featuring the sequence seen in the stills below)
Cardoso Flea Circus Video, 8 min colour video, co-directed with Maria Fernanda Cardoso, 1997
ross rudesch harley - Cardoso Flea Circus Installation at the MCA Sydney
3 min colour video, 2002; Museum of Contemporary Arts, Sydney, 2002.
UPDATE 24-01-2008: Thanks to a comment I can add these Flea Circus resources!
Fleas and Circuses Blog - fleascircuses.blogspot.com
A look into the microscopic world of educated and trained fleas.
Flea Circus Research Library