nasa4nasa, promises b2b (2021). Video series commissioned by the 13th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea.Courtesy of the artists © Gwangju Biennale
What is dance outside the proscenium? With no audience present, what does dance look like, especially in the age of social distancing? Composed of Noura Seif Hassanein and Salma Abdel Salam, the choreographer duo nasa4nasa has engaged with similar questions since 2016. They have embraced Instagram as a medium not only to disseminate their work beyond Egypt but also as a showcase and studio to experiment with bodily practices of synchronicity, collaboration, symbiosis, and communal intelligence that interacts with and sometimes interrupts the channels of virtual mass consumption.
Drawing from diverse references like Merce Cunningham and John Cage, Lygia Clark, Trisha Brown, and Antonin Artaud, nasa4nasa consistently exceeds the frame of social media to reveal how physical and digital spaces shape their bodies and deepen their mastery of performance.
Their video series “Promises b2b” commissioned by the 13th Gwangju Biennale in 2021 “Minds Rising Spirits Turning” is a series of five duets in which two dancing bodies explore symmetrical traces as a mode of closeness. In these series, nasa4nasa uses their own physical rehearsal room, their studio, and the Faiyum desert to the west of the Nile, as displaced stages, viewing this work as a progression to explore the distance between their bodies as a third party. Engaging aspects of togetherness, proximity and approximation, disjunction, continuity, and the ever-present gap between two bodies through repetition, nasa4nasa reveals a choreography in which body-to-body, limb-to-limb, and hip-to-hip intelligence is laid bare and experienced through a fluid movement language of in-betweenness.
The internet can still be a contentious territory in Egypt, and social media can act as a site of political confrontations between the forces of democratization and authoritarianism, especially one decade after the wave of protest and uprisings of the Arab Spring. However, nasa4nasa’s commitment to navigating the medium’s potential and exploring its relevance endures, rooted in a practice that troubles the algorithms that dictate the presence and absence of bodies.
Created and performed by
Shot and edited by
Gwangju Biennale Foundation for the 13th Gwangju Biennale “Minds Rising Spirits Turning”
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