The dancers tell of their experiences of isolation in their own dance language, focusing on six different aspects: »Communication«, »Waiting«, »Vision«, »Conflict«, »Stability« and »Anger«. Mounir met with the dancers individually and spoke to them about the omnipresent emptiness and uncertainty of the future, which also affects artists in particular. From this, he developed the fundamentals, key words and a vocabulary for the dancers’ improvisations. Mounir took each dancer to a selected location and recorded the performances. In the video, the successive scenes are stand-alone pieces, yet each continues the narratives of the others:
»I divided the experience of this time into six specific cases. I was working with each of the dancers alone, they didn’t meet each other until the video screening. The video shows six particular cases, each dancer has their own bubble – they didn’t need to be in a group for the purposes of my installation. In When the Body Talks, I created the thin connecting line between the six dancers: the isolation. They all have their own separate individual themes, but at bottom they are all linked.«
The simultaneity of isolation and togetherness is thus also found on a formal and dramatic level. Much more than a mere stopgap, the medium of video itself here conveys the experience of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While, in When the Body Talks, Mounir works with the specifics of the individual movements, his current work (UN)-identified Movements pursues the blurring of meaning and particularity of movement sequences in people’s everyday lives. He is interested in the routines that dictate our paths:
»With (UN)-identified Movements, I am considering the routines that we are forced to follow, whether in our work, in our lives or when walking in the street. Imagine that you are sitting on a train. When you leave, you already know where you’re going. The routes that you walk – from your house to work, from your work back home – are already there.«
In a way, these movements are there before we are, they have no character of their own, they are – as Mounir would say – unidentified. In the video installation, they appear distorted, blurred and unrecognizable. The dancers are impossible to recognize on the grounds of their physicality, body language or their faces.