Dorothea Rust, L’animoteur 1, 2015. Pictorial/image work, photo on Hahnemühle Baryta, mounted on a styropor panel, 130 × 190 cm, hanging with a screw through a hole in the center of the image plate, can rotate fully around its central axis. Photo: Dorothea Rust & Arnold Häni

L’animoteur 5 – selfie or I am donkey

2018. Performative intervention

The title of this work refers to Derrida’s speech/discourse «l’animal que donc je suis» («Das Tier, das ich also bin», «The Animal That Therefore I Am»). The title works as a lense through which different aspects in the performative approach were channeled:

l’âne is the french word for donkey. In these performances and installations I open a somatic knowledge field about the donkey with speech, movement-gestures, action and an image work.

l’animateur is the french word for a person who works as a host or animator and last but not least in l’animoteur is also the word moteur which is the french word for motor. I take on the function of a host/animator and as such I am a motor of the performance.

These possible meanings and functions get diverted and questioned by the specific context through an open performative situation, be it at an exhibition in an off-art-space in Basel or at an activist performance festival in India, in the public space of Victoria Memorial in Kolkata.


Born in Zug, Dorothea Rust is a visual artist living in Zurich. She is also a cultural theoretician and received her MAS in cultural/gender studies at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). Rust’s background is in (postmodern) dance includes collaborations with dancers, choreographers and musicians in New York in the 1980s, when the experimental spirit of the Judson Dance Group of the 1960s was still vivid. These experiences have influenced her work up until today. She is also trained in the Alexander Technique (since 1997).

Between 1986 to 1999 touring as a dance performer internationally, hence since more than 30 years movement-space (kinestetic learning/experiencing) a key approach in her work and diverse activities: Peformances and interventions in public spaces, art-exhibitions, lecture-performance in art and music-events. Member on programming boards of performance events in Switzerland and India, co-initiator of THE LONGEST DAY – 16 hours nonstop outdoor performances in Zurich (founded in 2004, since 2014 co-curated with Irene Müller Zürich) and networking with LUPE Zurich, PANCH Performance Art Network Switzerland and others. Writing texts about and to Performance (and) Art. Independent teaching practice (movement classes and somatic body-learning, Alexander Technique), workshops and guest-lecturer at Art Schools in Switzerland and abroad (currently École Cantonale d’Art du Valais ECAV Sierre). Awards, grants and residencies.