Willi Dorner: Bodies in Urban Spaces / Le Mouvement – Performing the City

Until November 2014, the 12th edition of the Swiss Sculpture Exhibition is taking place in the city of Biel/Bienne (Switzerland). Entitled Le Mouvement, the contemporary art exhibition is dedicated to performance in the urban space. One of the artists, which have been invited by the curators Gianni Jetzer and Chris Sharp is the Austrian, Vienna-based choreographer, curator and video artist Willi Dorner. Le Mouvement presents his itinerant performance Bodies in Urban Spaces, a work that merges the human body with the urban architecture.

Will Dorner’s performers lead the audience through parts of downtown Biel/Bienne, where they quickly set up site-specific interventions. Breaking apart into small groups, the dancers make sculptural pit stops, in which they acrobatically insert their bodies into the urban fabric. Wearing brightly colored clothes, they squeeze their bodies in gaps under ramps, use them to fill doorways, or line them up on balconies. In this video, we follow them on one of their tours.

Willi Dorner: Bodies in Urban Spaces. Le Mouvement, 12th Swiss Sculpture Exhibition 2014, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland. Performance, August 30, 2014.

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That’s what the artist says about the work:

“bodies in urban spaces” is a temporarily intervention in diversified urban architectonical environment. The intention of “bodies in urban spaces” is to point out the urban functional structure and to uncover the restricted movement possibilities and behaviour as well as rules and limitations.
By placing the bodies in selected spots the interventions provoke a thinking process and produce irritation. Passers by, residents and audience are motivated and prompted to reflect their urban surrounding and there own movement behaviour and habits. “Bodies in urban spaces” invites the residents to walk their own city thus establishing a stronger relationship to their neighbourhood, district and town. The interventions are temporarily without leaving any traces behind, but imprints in the eye-witnesses` memory.

“bodies in urban spaces” is a moving trail, choreographed for a group of dancers. The performers lead the audience through selected parts of public and semi-public spaces. A chain of physical interventions set up very quickly and only existing temporarily, allows the viewer to perceive the same space or place in a new and different way – on the run.

The special quality of each place at various times of the day creates unique presentations.

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