Coney Island, Brooklyn, USA
APRIL 9-18, 2010
Since the 1860’s, Coney Island has been a beacon for strange and interesting people. For generations, it has attracted the curious and the enlightened, the onlooker and the performer. Every spring Coney Island USA convenes The Congress of Curious Peoples, a 10-day gathering of unique individuals at Sideshows by the Seashore and the Coney Island Museum, celebrating Coney Island’s subversive and exciting power and exploring its political, artistic, and spectacular possibilities through performances, exhibitions, and films by important artists in the world of the 21st century sideshows.
Adding to the madness, this year, in conjunction with Observatory and the Morbid Anatomy Library, Coney Island USA introduces the Congress for Curious People. Consisting of a 2-day symposium and 5-day lecture series, this additional congress will take a scholarly yet popular approach to the curiosities and wonders of Coney Island and seek to investigate–via lectures and and a scholarly conference–the relationship between education and spectacle in American amusements, the collection of curiosities from the renaissance to the present, and the display of “freaks” and “primitive peoples” in fairgrounds and worlds fair settings. The series will celebrate the interdisciplinarity of Dime Museums while calling into question both popular and scholarly assumptions about the importance of Coney Island’s legacy, its sordid past, and its titillating present.
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