The Whitney's Collection: Selections from 1900 to 1965

Solo en Inglès

Read transcripts for audio and video works with sound in this exhibition, and watch videos for select works in American Sign Language.

Sound Description: Carlos Vilardebó, Le cirque de Calder, 1961

Running time: 26:38

Sound Description:

[soft squeaking]

ON SCREEN:            Calder comes into view

♪[triumphant theme music]

ON SCREEN:         Calder blows whistle

[whistle tweet]

[music stops]

ON SCREEN:            Figure raises bull horn

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Mesdames, Messieurs, je vous présente le Cirque Calder. 

(Ladies, gentlemen, I present to you Calder’s Circus.)     

♪[theme music begins]

ON SCREEN:            Calder positions ringmaster

[whistle tweet]

[music stops]

ON SCREEN (through narration):    Calder’s face, assemblage of set

CALDER:      C’était très long temps avant que je fasse le mobile et le stabile que j’ai fait le cirque. C’était en 26, 27 à Paris… Ensuite, je les emportais en Amérique et ailleurs. En 29 et 30 à New York, je l’ai beaucoup augmenté. Mais finalement, j’ai compris que si je l’augmente plus, il faudrait acheter de valises et comme j’avais déjà cinq, j’en avais assez.  

(It was a long time before I made the mobile and the stabile that I made the circus. It was 26, 27 in Paris… Then, I made in America and elsewhere. In 29 and 30 in New York, I made it much bigger. But finally, I understood that if it grew more, I would have to buy more suitcases, and since I already had five, I had enough of it.) 

[Calder chuckle]

[laughter]

ON SCREEN:            Further assemblage of set

♪[ragtime music]

ON SCREEN:            Crank is turned 

[bell-like sound of crank] 

ON SCREEN:            Figure is shot onto horse

[recoiling spring]

[applause]

[ahhhs]

[bell-like sound of crank] 

ON SCREEN:            Montage of moving horse, some with their riders.

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Sur les planes il y a des chevaux sauvages...

(On the Western plains, there were wild horses…)

♪[square dance music with clapping, rhythmic beat]

[music fades out] 

CALDER OFF SCREEN:    …le Wild West.

♪[folky music with heavy violins]

ON SCREEN:            Wire horse figure is lassoed

[sudden silence]

[brief riff from harmonica]

♪[soft music]

CALDER OFF SCREEN:    Qu’est-ce que c’est ce machin-chouette là?

(What is that thing-a-ma-jig there?)

[laughter] 

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Je n’en sais rien mais c’est parfait à vendre.

(I don’t know but I think it’s made to sell.)

[woman murmur]

[laughter]

[Calder laugh]

ON SCREEN:            Figure inflates balloon 

[blowing air]

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Ce n’est pas Calder qui gonfle le ballon, c’est le ballon qui

gonfle Calder!    

(It’s not Calder who’s blowing up the balloon; it’s the

balloon that’s blowing up Calder!)

ON SCREEN:            Balloon pops

[pop]

[laughter]

ON SCREEN:            Ghost figure

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Shhhh… Ahhhhh!!!

[murmurs, laughter]

[soft sigh]

[laughter]

ON SCREEN:            Calder blows into toy bullhorn

[sputtering]

ON SCREEN:            Calder blows into toy bullhorn again

[high-pitched kazoo noise]

ON SCREEN:            Ghost is lifted into the air

[second higher-pitched kazoo noise, gets progressively louder]

ON SCREEN:            Ghost descends

[applause, laughter]

♪[main theme music]

[grunts]

ON SCREEN:            Figure turns somersault

[chuckle]

CALDER, OFF SCREEN:    Up, up. 

[grunts]

[whistle tweet]

ON SCREEN:            Calder blows whistle

[tweet]

[music stops]

CALDER:             Desperado, art thou ready? 

ON SCREEN:    `        Calder talks into the crook of his bent arm.

CALDER:            Aye, sir, always ready! 

ON SCREEN:            Calder lowers arm

CALDER:            Then go!

♪[dramatic music]

[recoiling spring

ON SCREEN:            Figures fly into the air

[applause]

[music stops]

ON SCREEN:            Calder assembles set

CALDER, OFF SCREEN:     First this table, then this thing… 

[male laugh]

[mutters] 

♪[theme music]

CALDER:             Mesdames, Messieurs, je vous présente le maharaja de 

Sharina-be-damned avec sa première ballerine.

(Ladies, gentlemen, I present to you the Maharaja of 

Sharina-be-damned and his first ballerina.)

[laughter] 

CALDER OFF SCREEN:      Strong carcasse.

                (Strong body.)

[laughter]

[recoiling spring]

[giggles]

ON SCREEN:            Gold coin hits wall

[clanking]

ON SCREEN:            Gold coin falls to ground 

[sound of recoiling spring]

ON SCREEN:            Gold coin knocks over figure

[gasps]

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Au secours! Au secours! Now bring him out the other way… 

(Help, help… now bring him out the other way.)

ON SCREEN:            Figure is placed on gurney

[laughter]

[tape reeling]

[laughter]

[cough] 

[tape reeling]

ON SCREEN:            Figures carrying the gurney exit

[soft laughter] 

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Mesdames, Messieurs, je vous présente la deuxième 

ballerine.

(Ladies, gentlemen, I present to you the second 

ballerina.)

ON SCREEN:    Figure is replaced

[laughter]

[brief scattered applause]

♪[theme music]

[blowing whistle]

[music stops]

CALDER OFF SCREEN: French, just a few words: Ontag, ontag. (?!?!?!)

♪[theme music]

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     N’evite de venir visiter notre grande ménagerie..

(Don’t forget to visit our large menagerie.)

ON SCREEN:            Bear is shown

[grunts, growls to simulate bear noise]

ON SCREEN:            Seal is shown

[barks to simulate seal noise] 

[music stops]

ON SCREEN:            Crank is turned

[bell-like sound of crank]

ON SCREEN:            Curtain is pulled open

♪[ethnic chanting music] 

WOMAN OFF SCREEN:     C’est marrant! 

                (It’s funny.)

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Non, c’est tordant.

                (No, it’s twisted.) 

[applause]

ON SCREEN:            Curtain is pulled shut

[music fades out]

♪[theme music]

ON SCREEN:            Dumbbell set is assembled

[whistle tweet]

[music stops] 

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Ladies and gentleman, I present you Charles Rigolo, l’homme le plus fort du monde. 

    (... the strongest man in the world.)

[applause]

CALDER OFF SCREEN:    D’abord, le tambour… Attends qu’il l’attrape! Vas-y!

(First, drumroll… Wait ‘till he grips it. Go ahead.)

[banging drumroll, soft at first, then louder and faster]

ON SCREEN:            Dumbbell is lifted

[gunshot]

[drumroll stops]

[applause] 

ON SCREEN:            Dumbbell is lowered 

♪[lively orchestral music] 

[music stops]

ON SCREEN:            Wrestling set is assembled

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Ushita et Kuyanagi!

CALDER OFF SCREEN: C’est la, il y a plus de cheveux, mais c’est le fils quand même.     

(Really, the fellow who has no hair is the son.)

[laughter] 

ON SCREEN:            Figures fall to ground

[clatter]

[laughter]

ON SCREEN:            Figures fall to the ground

[clatter]

[laughter]

ON SCREEN:            Figures are wrapped up and put away

[applause]

ON SCREEN: Calder assembles set

[old, folksy, lively music]

ON SCREEN: Figurine rides horse around the set

[applause]

[Upbeat old, folksy, lively music]

ON SCREEN: Blackout

[music stops]

CALDER OFF SCREEN: Sur les planes il y a des chevaux sauvages…

(On the Western plains, there were wild horses…)

[applause]

ON SCREEN: Calder assembles tightrope set

[lively music]

[blows whistle]

[music stops]

ON SCREEN: Tightrope walkers meet on rope

[slow old music]

[applause] 

[music becomes lively]

CALDER OFF SCREEN: La dernière fois...c’était en 1135 (12:40) 

                                           (The last time…was in 1135)          

[applause]

[lively music]

[applause]

ON SCREEN: New figurine with hat and jackets is introduced

CALDER OFF SCREEN: El hombre de mil chalecos.

                                          (The man of a thousand vests) 

[slow old folksy music with soft flutes] 

ON SCREEN: Calder removes vests from figurine 

[blows whistle off screen] 

[applause]

ON SCREEN: New figurines with pencil are introduced

(14:00) CALDER OFF SCREEN: L’écrivain qui peut écrire n’importe quelle couleur (The writer that can write no matter what the color)

                                           Darling, quelle couleur? 

                                           (Darling, what color?) 

WOMAN OFF SCREEN: Rouge. 

                                     (Red.) 

ON SCREEN: Calder writes on the paper

[laughter]

[applause]

ON SCREEN: Figurine smokes

[lively music with singing]

[laughter]

ON SCREEN: Acrobatic figurines are introduced

[drumroll]

[applause]

[lively music]

ON SCREEN: Calder moves animal figure around the ring

[lively music]

[drumroll]

[applause]

ON SCREEN: Calder assembles new set with dog figurine

[lively music]

[applause]

[laughter]

ON SCREEN: Calder moves roundtable of new figurines

[lively music]

[laughter]

[blows whistle]

[music stops]

ON SCREEN: English guard and elephant figurines.

[blows whistle]

[Calder mimics elephant sounds]

[blows whistle]

[applause]

[silence as soft music slowly starts]

[blows whistle as elephant moves] 

ON SCREEN: Elephant eats

[slow music turns lively]

[Calder mumbles offscreen]

[blows whistle]

[applause]

ON SCREEN: Calder assembles new set with animal figurines

[Calder chuckle]

[laughter]

[applause]

♪[accordion tarantella music] 

ON SCREEN:            Calder shoots “gun”

[gunshot]

♪[slow, old-timey music] 

FEMALE VOICE, SINGS:     Tell me you’re sorry/so sorry that you broke my heart/let us break up/let us make up.

ON SCREEN:            White pieces of paper flutter down to female figure

[chirping]

[applause]

[singing stops]

[murmurs]

ON SCREEN:            Wife comes into view

[whistle]

ON SCREEN:            Ringmaster

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Mesdames, Messieurs, je vous présente Doctor He’s Got an Mine Gut… Doctor Boyau de Fer. 

[Ladies, gentlemen, I present to you Doctor He’s Got a

Mine Gut… Doctor Iron Gut.]

ON SCREEN:            Figure is revealed

[applause]

[Calder chuckle]

ON SCREEN:            Calder wipes off sword

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Mesdames, Messieurs, je vous assure c’est du vrai acier.

                (Ladies, gentlemen, I assure you, it is real steel.)

[laugh]

ON SCREEN:            Bangs sword on pipe

[clanging]

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Silence! … quiet!

ON SCREEN:            Sword is fed into figure’s mouth

WOMAN OFF SCREEN:    Oh! Oh!

MAN OFF SCREEN:    Ugh! Ugh!

[laughter]

ON SCREEN:            Sword is removed

[applause]

♪[theme music]

ON SCREEN:            Calder blows whistle

[whistle tweet]

[music stops]

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Herr Doktor Umschlag Wunderheit aus Berlin gekommt.

(Mr. Doctor Umschlag Wunderheit coming from Berlin.)

[growls]

ON SCREEN:            Lion figure is removed from the cage

[growls]

CALDER OFF SCREEN:    Tien bon, Gustav/Umschlag? (?!?!?!)

[applause]

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Mesdames, Messieurs, il le va monter. Avec les fauves, il faut jamais avoir peur.

(Ladies, gentlemen, he is going to ride it. With wild animals, one must never be afraid.)

[roar]

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Oh stop it.

[murmur]

[soft clatter]

[laughter]

[growls]

[loud roar]

ON SCREEN:            Calder opens mouth to roar

[roars]

ON SCREEN:            Camera pans back to lion 

[growl]

ON SCREEN:            Lion’s “poop” is ejected

[laughter, gasps] 

WOMAN OFF SCREEN:     C’est marrant.

                (That’s funny.)

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Non, c’est “doody.” C’est moi qui est tordant.

                (No, this is doody. It’s me who’s twisted.) 

[growl]

[roar]

ON SCREEN:            Figure shoots gun

[gunshot]

[grunt]

ON SCREEN:            Lion falls

[funeral riff]

♪[theme music]

[shouts]

ON SCREEN:            Calder sets down racing horses

[music stops]

[deep male laugh]

[singular laughs]

ON SCREEN:            Horses shown in profile

[ringing bell]

♪[race music, heavy on horns] 

[murmurs, shouts, catcalls]

ON SCREEN:            Horses cross finish line

[ringing bells] 

[music stops]

[applause] 

[Calder chuckle]

♪[theme music] 

ON SCREEN:            Calder sets up trapeze artist set

[whistle tweet]

[music stops] 

ON SCREEN:            Figure is walked out

♪[soft accordion waltz]

[scattered applause]

ON SCREEN:            Figure swings from trapeze to trapeze

[scattered applause]

ON SCREEN:    Figure falls and Calder walks the figure down the net with his fingers

[laughter]

ON SCREEN:            Red figure ascends on string

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     No, no music please.

[music stops]

CALDER OFF SCREEN:     Man and wife.

[tape reeling]

♪[dramatic music]

ON SCREEN:    Red figures flies through hole in torn plate, latches on to other figure

[applause] 

[cheering, shouting, sustained applause]

♪[theme music ebbs in and out with varying volume]

ON SCREEN:            Calder’s face

[applause, shouts]

♪[theme music begins, soft then gradually louder]

ON SCREEN:            Calder walks off into forest