Scalable Skeletal Escalator

Scalable Skeletal Escalator is an experimental live art work at Kunsthalle Zürich, conceived by Isabel Lewis (Faculty Berlin ’19), in the form of a holobiont, a multi-organismic assemblage, like the human body itself, shuddering and shaking into being.

The work moves through four levels of Löwenbräukunst, where Kunsthalle Zürich is located, questioning how might a dancer pause – or interrupt – the history of how we conceive of and live our embodiment?

Scalable Skeletal Escalator. Photo by Annik Wetter

Scalable Skeletal Escalator is a live art work and a shared research site, within which the complexity of the concept of the body and its history is parsed. The exhibition space offers a field for experimentation, reflection, speculation and transformation of the body. Dancers are present every day of the exhibition. This mode of exhibition-making draws inspiration from evolutionary biologist Dr. Lynn Margulis’ emphasis on cooperative and symbiotic relationships between species as the driving force of evolution. The themes of the work are continuous with its form reflecting on potential human futures. Continuing in the vein of Isabel Lewis’ practice of questioning the disembodied thought systems of the West which deny the body of «livingness» in the deadlock of idealism/materialism, this work invites collaborators and visitors on a participatory epistemological quest to re(dis)cover the body by rehabilitating our human sensorium in order that we might enhance living rather than alienate ourselves from life.


24 September – 8 November 2020
Full programme, including talks with Isabel here.

Scalable Skeletal Escalator
Kunsthalle Zürich
Limmatstrasse 270,
8005 Zürich

Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm, Thursday 11am–8pm
Closed Monday

About Isabel Lewis

Isabel Lewis (b.1981, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is a Berlin-based artist whose career began in the context of contemporary dance. An erstwhile resident of New York, her dance works have been shown at The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, New Museum Movement Research at Judson Church, Dancespace Project at St. Mark’s Church, PS 122 and Dia Foundation among others.

In recent years her works have broken with the limitations of a single mode of presentation and are hybrid forms involving lecture, movement, music, food, smell and more. These have been experienced at venues and events including the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Liverpool Biennial, the Institute of Contemporary Arts London (ICA), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Turin, Tanz im August, Berlin, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Palais de Tokyo, Tate Modern London, Ming Contemporary Art Museum Shanghai, Gropius Bau, Berlin, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, and Philadelphia Art Alliance. Lewis’ practice includes long-standing collaborations with smell researcher and artist Sissel Tolaas, Berlin-based musical entity LABOUR, painter and ceramicist Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, visual artist Dirk Bell, theorist and classics scholar Brooke Holmes and Juan Chacón of the architecture collective Zuloark.