Sharjah Art Foundation

Materials: 3 synchronised monitors, 5.1 surround sound, mylar curtain, 6 geometric forms, folded paper, seating and carpet.

You enter a building called the Flying Saucer, which originally stood on the edge of  an old army camp, but now the city engulfs it. It is hot outside but the building is cooled and you feel the relief from the opressive heat as you go inside. A silver curtain shimmers in the wake of the air conditioning. You pass through this mylar curtain (a material used in space travel) and there are luminous loungers glowing in a 1970’s style, behind which a geometric form lurks –  an echo from a Rennaisance etching. Three large monitors are playing simultaneously. Sometimes the centre screen differs as the films move across the three screens. At times left and right are mirrored. There is a rhythm and a pace driven by the images and the surround sound. The story seems neurological – beyond the usual narrative structure that goes with cinema and theatre. It is a work of mass hallucination. dancing and bodies; the danger of dance.

There is no singular way to sum up this work. It does not really want to be explained by an elucidating text; it wants to rest in the medium that shapes it. It does not follow a convention of story telling that governs cinema. What it does follow is a freewheeling set of associations and the vagaries of our interpretations of events. As a construct it wants to be like consciousness might really be … fragmented, discontinuous, oscillating, driven to constructing false cause and effect narratives from endless occurrences that ultimately have no clear singular causal reason.

Yet one thing seems to lead to another.

We could say about this film “An alien form studies the earthlings from its spaceship. It conceives of dance as a language that seems to be have a truth lacking in human writing and speaking. It is bewildered by the contradictory nature of the conventions that govern humankind – of their own making. It has more trust in animals. It sees the politics of a dance by Leni Riefenstahl performed on an island off Germany – an island swapped with Zanzibar …causing an Omani Princess to escape to Germany.

But everything is entangled not just by a singular flapping of a butterfly wing.

It seems that the medium has become more than a massage as McLuhan proposed, it has become a death through lack of breath. Our technological, mathematically defined image system can no longer be understood as a simple image thrown through an aperture like a camera obscura. If an image was ambivalent in the past as to its relationship to the cause and effect narratives of history, its susceptibility to digital manipulation – both in software edits and in the hardware processes of image-making devices running proprietary firmware has led to an even more dense and pressing problem where programming assumptions, accident, and chance govern how the image emerges. Events are left to be written by each human consciousness in ever multiplying versions of something that seems to have no well-defined content or meaning.

Hallucination and projection abound. Let’s dance to feel our embodiment …but not for TikTok.