William Forsythe

City of Abstracts 2020

USA  / Germany

«City of Abstracts» moves − itself, us and our perception. This is not surprising. The mobile installation has been created by someone whose life has been characterised by movement. Like no other, the choreographer William Forsythe (71) has shaped the European dance scene with his radical scrutiny of classical ballet and has revolutionised our perception of dance as a whole. Forsythe’s creative approach to choreography, dance and movement reaches far beyond the stage. He writes, investigates, produces films, develops web-based movement scores and also applies  his insights about the organisational structures of choreography into installations and objects, which have been shown in museums worldwide. The Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt am Main − the city in which Forsythe has lived since the 80s and directed the Ballett Frankfurt for twenty years − presented a large exhibition of his so-called «choreographic objects» in 2015. These interactive installations and video works are characterised by a playful lightness and accessibility. For this year’s Theater Spektakel, Forsythe has adapted his interactive video installation «City of Abstracts», which will move through Zurich in the evening hours over a ten-day period. A huge screen is strapped to a van, which normally transports window panes. It reflects the viewers in artistically distorted ways, provokes them to move and to become choreographic subjects themselves. This mobile installation will stop in public places from Schwamendingen to Altstetten and Höngg to Wollishofen. Very much in line with Forsythe’s approach that «choreography elicits action upon action», the installation simply moves on when too many people gather in front of it.

The presentation of the installation has been made possible by the extraordinary and spontaneous offer of support from the Department of Urban Development of the City of Zurich. Since 2014, the City of Zurich − together with the Canton Zurich, Zurich Tourism and the Zurich Universities - has hosted a yearly festival in a city abroad in the context of «integrated location and destination marketing» (ISDM). The aim of the event series is to present Zurich as an attractive city of culture, an excellent hub for education, research and science as well as an innovative business location. Due to current travel restrictions, this year’s event takes place in Zurich under the motto «Zurich meets Zurich». With this special opportunity of encounter William Forsythe has created for Zurich, a wonderful piece of art is added to the festival programme. (esc)

Artistic direction and cast

City of Abstracts ZürichVideowand, Kamera, Computer Software


ProduktionsmanagementJulian Gabriel Richter
Projektleitung ZürichMark Gläser
UnterstützungDie Entwicklung und internationale Präsentation der Choreografischen Objekte wird grosszügig unterstützt von Susanne Klatten
ErstpräsentationFrankfurt a/M, Opernplatz/Hauptwache, November 2000
BildDominik Mentzos

Choreographic object

An inclusive event

accessible with wheelchair

Please note

The exact route will be announced daily at 14 hrs via «Festival News on Demand». The newsletter is published from 13 to 30 August and can be subscribed to on festivalnews@theaterspektakel.dont-want-spam.ch

Protective measure

Should too many people gatuer om front of the object, it will move on.


The presentation of the installation for the Theater Spektakel was made possible by the Department of Urban Development of the City of Zurich on the occasion of «Zurich meets your City»





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  • Fr 21.08. 17:00 - 22:00 Admission free 
  • Sa 22.08. 17:00 - 22:00 Admission free 
  • Su 23.08. 17:00 - 21:00 Admission free 
  • Mo 24.08. 17:00 - 21:00 Admission free 
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  • We 26.08. 17:00 - 21:00 Admission free 
  • Th 27.08. 17:00 - 21:00 Admission free 
  • Fr 28.08. 17:00 - 22:00 Admission free 
  • Sa 29.08. 17:00 - 22:00 Admission free 
  • Su 30.08. 17:00 - 21:00 Admission free