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Social Distance Stacks | The effects of social distancing in Florian Mehnert’s photo project

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As the pandemic is still raging in most parts of the world, our lives are still being dominated by restrictions and limitations; not only are we thinking of new ways to reinvent ourselves but also how to reinvent the spaces we live in. “Social Distancing” is no longer just a concept, it is a new way of life.

As with many other sectors, which are in a sort of limbo waiting for things to start again, dancers have also seen their work put on hold for more than a year. To symbolise this pause german artist Florian Mehnert and artistic director Tamas Detrich have collaborated on a project called Social Distance Stacks.

Social Distance Stacks is a photography project which aims to portray the effects of social distancing. For the project the dancers of the Stuttgart Ballet posed as various famous couples inside giant PVC bubbles. In the photographs we see Siegfried and Odette, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle and Albrecht separated by the same rules of social distancing which are keeping people apart all over the world. Each dancer is in their own bubble, the space is the same but they are distanced, unable to touch one another, so each is living in their own confined bubble.

These images show what isolation, during this global pandemic, can feel like. It is an ongoing project, as Mehnert continues to photograph people inside these bubbles – like actors in a theatre and people in a public swimming pool. According to the artist we are all “…in a certain isolation, in an isolated bubble, which we are not allowed to leave.” By photographing people in these PVC bubbles the artist is trying to represent our current situation. How there is a lack of social contact, an impossibility to shake hands when we meet someone or embrace in a heartfelt hug. “How are individuals coping without these common rituals? Is this ongoing situation changing us? Will it change society?” These are a few of the questions at the heart of this beautiful project.

To find out more visit Florian Mehnert’s official website.

Translated by Ludovica Sarti

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