Bodies in Urban Spaces

Bodies in Urban Spaces_editorialA group of 20 highly-skilled artists will help give Sydneysiders a whole new perspective on their city, as the sensational Bodies in Urban Spaces takes to the streets on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 October 2014.

Created by Austrian artist and choreographer Willi Dorner Bodies in Urban Spaces is presented in Australia for the first time as the finale of Art & About Sydney 2014. On an hour-long walk the audience will follow a group of movement artists clad in colourful sweat shirts as they run, jump and manoeuvre themselves in, on, around and under the urban landscape in a performance of living human sculpture.

“In each of the urban journeys that I have designed for this project, people set off from a meeting point toward an unknown destination, moving through different urban landscapes or areas of town they might not ordinarily venture into,” said Willi Dorner.

“We are used to moving quickly from A to B, barely noticing the architectural environment we traverse. I think we underestimate the enormous changes that cities are undergoing. Bodies in Urban Spaces is an invitation to let go, to take the time for a new look at the city, an opportunity to think so that we can form opinions about what makes a city a liveable space.”

During the piece, groups of performers set up sculptural displays at 20 locations. What was once a gap between two buildings now houses bodies, an alcove becomes home to coloured patterns and shapes, and a doorway is transformed in a game of sardines like no other as performers hold impossible positions for a few minutes before disentangling themselves and heading off to keep ahead of the growing number of followers.

Bodies in Urban Spaces combines new and imaginative possibilities of well-known spaces and architecture with a daring display of physical strength and skill. All the positions are rigorously composed and rehearsed, even exactly how to climb up or climb down. The clusters of bodies may appear to be chaotic, but they are choreographed to establish an equilibrium of forces and to avoid injury.

“It is physically demanding work, which is why I hire dancers as well as climbers and people with training in martial arts or circus skills. This type of performance is also very difficult mentally, because it places the performers in very intimate situations.” said Dormer.

Art & About Sydney Creative Director Gill Minervini said it is a unique celebration of our urban environment, seeing the city from a fresh perspective as you follow this intriguing, moving trail through some of Sydney’s best known streets and public spaces.

“They set up very quickly and exist temporarily, allowing the viewer to perceive the same space or place in a new and different way – on the run. They leave no trace behind except an imprint in the eyewitnesses’ memory.” said Minervini.

Bodies in Urban Spaces is on Friday 10 October and Saturday 11 October at 12.30pm. To participate, meet at the Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park at 12.30pm. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Bodies in Urban Spaces – photo by Lisa Rastl