Building a Research Repository of Street Artists and Performers: The Zozimus Project
Throughout cities around the world, thousands of street performers show their art and ask for the patronage of passersby. They are puppeteers, percussionists, dancers, singers, sidewalk chalkers, and a host of others plying their artistry in the public sphere. While street performers are a vibrant part of global environments, for the most part they are here today and gone tomorrow. How can they become a source for urban research, a cultural dynamic variously expressed throughout the world? How do we document the art that has at its core an identity of being “in-between.”
Through an emerging effort at the University of Cincinnati, the Zozimus Project is designed to gather images and information on street performers in order to preserve aspects of an ever- changing international cultural element. Named for a 19th project is building a database on street artists that contributes to an ethnological understanding and to promote a cross-cultural dialogue using original source material. Soliciting contributions from any traveler, tourist, or resident, Zozimus advances the viewpoint that university special collections have a mandate to collect and make accessible unique and primary documents to scholars, students, and the general public throughout the world.