Watch the bone-breaking and mind-bending music video for Qasim Naqvi's No Tongue, directed by L.A. filmmaker Christina Burchard and starring contortionist Matthew 'ET' Gibbs, as premiered via Boiler Room's 4:3 channel.
"I met Qasim in New York nearly 10 years ago through mutual friends and am a fan of Dawn of Midi. In 2015 we began working together when I was co-producing and editing a documentary called Girl Unbound: The War To Be Her. The story is about a tribal Pakistani girl from Waziristan who dressed like a boy so she could play sports. I brought Qasim on as a composer and he scored the film. The film went to Toronto Film Festival in 2016.
I’ve worked on all kinds of stories over the years including editing with the team on “Citizenfour”, the story of Edward Snowden’s disclosures regarding the NSA. Recently I directed episodes of the Netflix documentaries series called “The Confessions Tapes” about people who confess to crimes they did not commit, and I’m directing Season 2 of Why We Fight, a doc series that follows fighters from all over the world.
This is my first music video, but not my first experience with dance. Last summer I made a dance film called “Lorelei” featuring principal dancers from the Joffrey Ballet. It premiered at the Wiltern in Downtown LA last September and at the In/Motion Dance Film Festival March 2019.
Since “Lorelei”, I’ve set out to build a body of work involving movement and dance. When I learned that Qasim had a new album coming out I reached out to him to see if he’d like to collaborate on a music video.
The track No Tongue is minimal, cerebral, and the harmonic shifts and strange sounds that appear throughout give it an otherworldly vibe. Qasim and I talked a lot about his relationship to this album and how he felt sometimes he was dealing with another consciousness inside the machine, and the experience was more like a conversation with a sometimes unwelcome host. These conversations conjured images in my mind of aliens, artificial intelligent machines, or parasitic organisms that affect the brain. There was also something about the song that felt computational, like mathematics and geometry.
I immediately thought of dancer Matthew “ET” Gibbs. I had been following him on Instagram and am a big fan. ET is a bone breaker. Bone breaking involves mostly arm contortion, an optical illusion that makes it appear he is breaking his body to create new shapes. It feels unnatural, uncanny, and beyond. He also specialises in tutting which uses hand and arm gestures to create geometric shapes in space. Matthew choreographed his own performance and often pulls from movement found in nature, like jellyfish and spiders, to inspire his moves. He also pulls from fantasy and alien-like creatures.
I found a guy in East LA who owns three old bunkers from WWII and we used one of them for the location of the music video. I love how Matthew looks in the space, like he’s in a vortex swirling the energy around his body. His muscles flexing to every nuance in Qasim’s track as if in conversation with the sound. Our Director of Cinematography Lucas Gath did an incredible job building a milky atmosphere bringing us deeper into the void." — Christina Burchard
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