performances > dancing as if nobody is watching > presentation

title : Dancing as if nobody is watching (2018) 

conception : Jérôme Bel
with (alternately) : Eva Aubigny, Marcella Cappelletti, Noëllie Conjeaud, Paul Vezin
sound : 432 Hz
scenography conceived and realised by the students of Master Design Exposition de l’ENSBA de Lyon, under the direction of Olivier Vadrot : Laura Azaïs, Mina Chu, Élise Coulmy, Rita Doligez, Lou Duchemin-Lenquette, Mathilde Lebrun, Océane Lutzius, Romane Perelle, Alice Rambeaux, Zhuwei Zheng.
designer of the "Cales humaines" : Olivier Peyricot
realisation of the "Cales Humaines" : Nathalie Vidal et Jean-François Dulck-Conventi

production : Biennale de la Danse de Lyon, R.B. Jérôme Bel
thanks to : Centro Luigi Pecci (Prato)

R.B Jérôme Bel is supported by the Direction régionale des affaires culturelles d'Ile-de-France, French Ministry for Culture, by the Institut Français, French Ministry for Foreign Affairs, for its international tours and by ONDA - Office National de Diffusion Artistique - for its tours in France
R.B. Jérôme Bel : 
artistic advice and executive direction : Rebecca Lee
production manager : Sandro Grando
website : www.jeromebel.fr 


From yoga to John Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing”, by way of minimalist art, Jérôme Bel is interested in different cultural objects which call for a contemplative aesthetic attitude. Thought up based on a lay vision of spirituality, this experience is here proposed as a way of making up for the absence of empty, silent areas in western industrial societies. In this regard, he links up with Nietzsche’s position in paragraph 280 of The Gay Science, where he becomes alarmed that the contemplative life has not replaced the religious life, and that modern cities are not organizing more places of contemplation. As a comprehensive way of remedying this absence, the choreographic installation the artist proposes opens up a space of meditation, favourable to contemplation and reflection, breaking totally with the busy bustle of urban life.

The execution of a very slow dance offers the sight of an introspective body, released from the other’s gaze, presented to be seen without displaying any determined agility. Getting away from the other’s gaze and the mechanisms of acknowledgement emancipates the performer’s body, at least symbolically, from being made twofold use of:  the use whereby it is reduced to the rank of an object at the service of a choreographer, and the use whereby the spectator’s gaze utilizes it for his own pleasure. The reduction of movement to a minimum also offers a new image of dance, brought to its degree zero. The self-referential choreography displays no purpose other than itself; it seems to incarnate nothing other than the image of a pure metamorphosis stretched in time.

The sober quality of the dance contrasts with the strident colour of the carpet on the floor, Jérôme Bel’s aesthetic marker in his installations and an assumed snub aimed at entertainment. The set being conceived for the floor to better dislodge spectators from their seats accordingly offers greater autonomy. The spectators are summoned to take advantage of an usual mobility to decide about their own position, precisely where the traditional theatrical arrangement assigns them seated places, in an authoritative way. It is up to them, if they so wish, to perform their own slow dance, as if removed from the gaze of the others.

Florian Gaité