Jerome Bel and Theater Hora (2012)
Disabled Theater

A choreographer, Jérôme Bel has been interested since his early works in what stands beyond representation. In his choreographies, the rules of dance and theater are treated like the syntax of a language that is analyzed and eventually put into play. Danced and spoken by professional as well as by amateur performers, his choreographies could also be seen as statements in favor of the democratization of dance, which he pursues by way of a non-virtuous approach.

For his performance Disabled Theater (2012) he has worked with the mentally disabled actors of the Theatre Hora, based in Zurich. A source of distress for a society defining itself as essentially normal, disability constitutes the limit against which the category of normality runs up. Its intellectual declension — i.e. mental disability — is generally thought of in terms of complete otherness to the condition of the intellectually keen and cultivated public of experimental theater. Bel chooses to bring this handicap to the core of the attention of this public, adopting it as a key to the reading of what enables us to think of a common dimension.

What is at stake for Bel in working with the actors of Theatre Hora is the opening up of a space where disability is not expelled from visual and discursive practices, nor hidden behind the screen of political correctness, but is instead internal to a discourse that has a bearing on both the aesthetic and political dimensions.

With Disabled Theater (2012), Bel sheds light on the dynamics of exclusion that leads to the marginalization of those who are considered unable to produce, exposing how, on the contrary, they are able to question the very mechanisms of representation, and to hint at existence as a non-partitioned mode of presence.

—Chiara Vecchiarelli (text from

Concept Jerome Bel By and with Remo Beuggert, Gianni Blumer, Damian Bright, Matthias Brücker, Matthias Grandjean, Julia Häusermann, Sara Hess, Miranda Hossle, Peter Keller, Lorraine Meier, Tiziana Pagliaro Assistance and translation Simone Truong and Chris Weihnheimer Production Theater Hora - Stiftung Züriwerk (Zürich), R.B. Jérôme Bel (Paris), Festival Auawirleben (Bern), Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), Festival d'Avignon, Ruhrtriennale, Festival d'Automne à Paris, Les Spectacles vivants - Centre Pompidou (Paris), La Bâtie – Festival de Genève, Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin) Support Stadt Zürich Kultur, Kanton Zürich Fachstelle Kultur, Pro Helvetia