Willi Dorner

Bodies in Urban Space (Bristol), 2011. Various locations. Photo: Never Leave Bristol. Courtesy of Bristol City Council.


Commissioned by Bristol City Council in 2011, Willi Dorner's "bodies in urban spaces" is a temporarily intervention in diversified urban architectonical environment which comprises 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 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` through memory.

Bodies in Urban Space

Art director Willi Dorner and photographer Lisa Rastl have collaborated on two project combining humans in odd formations and unusual locations. ‘hängende gärten’ and ‘bodies in urban spaces’. Both set out to explore the “relationship between body, space and architecture”. The urban based series was created as a set of human sculptures which were spread throughout the city of Vienna. The artist has effectively transformed the human body into form, a complete reversal from the classical convention of creating the human form from a material.  Performances include: ‘Happy Day’ by Christian Rizzo; Wien (2008); ‘URB 08’, urban festival Helsinki (2008); ‘Radar’ Loughborough, UK (2009); Dance Umbralla London (2009);  Brighton Dome Festival, UK (2010); Festival Salamanca, Spain (2010); Theater der Welt, Essen, Germany (2010); “crossing the lines”, New York (2010); and Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2010);

Willi Dorner - bodies in urban spaces from Dance Umbrella on Vimeo.


  • Commissioner

    Bristol City Council events team

  • Produced by

    Bristol City Council

  • Partners

  • Supported by

    Bristol City Council