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PEN World Voices: Artists of the Air

Originally Aired: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Overview

(Above photo credit: PEN World Voices Festival)

In 1974, Philippe Petit danced in the sky, effortlessly traversing the air between the Twin Towers via high wire and electrifying audiences around the world.

That feat, just one among many tightrope miracles Petit has created, inspired a Caldecott Medal-winning children’s book, an Oscar-winning documentary, a feature film and global admiration.

On the occasion of the reissuing of his out-of-print classic On the High Wire (New Directions), Petit discusses his death-defying art with fellow daredevil artist Elizabeth Streb, the choreographer, performer and MacArthur “Genius” Grant winner.

How do daring and transgressive acts redefine our sense of art and performance? How can artists’ airborne actions transform the ways we look at the buildings that anchored their ropes, the cities in which they appear and global issues of peace and conflict? Join these masters of extreme performance as they discuss virtuosity, daring and Petit’s boundary-shattering career.

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