British artist Phil Collins has made work in a number of conflicted geo-political sites around the world, including Belfast, Belgrade, Baghdad, and Ramallah, creating nuanced representations of people and places. In a departure from much traditional documentary and site-specific practice, Collins engages politics and pop culture in tandem, and often solicits the participation of the communities in which he is working.
dÃ¼nya dinlemiyor, 2005
Single-channel color video installation with audio, 58 min.
Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
Copyright Phil Collins
The latest installment of SF MoMA’s ‘New Work’ series centers around Collins’s 2005 video dÃ¼nya dinlemÃ®yor (the world won’t listen), which features young people in Istanbul, Turkey, singing along to backing tracks from the 1987 album of the same name by the British group The Smiths. Within the politically fraught context of Istanbul, The Smiths’ melancholic pop takes on new poignancy, asking us to listen to what the rest of the world won’t.
they shoot horses, 2004
Video, duration: 7 hrs.
Installation, Tate Britain
they shoot horses shows a disco dance marathon produced in Ramallah with a group of young Palestinians. The work’s title is taken from a 1935 novel by Horace McCoy and its film adaptation directed by Sydney Pollack. These both focus on the American craze for dance marathons during the Great Depression, which became a form of popular entertainment based around the exploitation of the contestants.
Ramallah, a Palestinian city under Israeli occupation, has been the site of much violence and political unrest. While not directly political, they shoot horses resonates with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The artist auditioned participants in February 2004 and filmed two separate groups of young people dancing during the course of a day without any breaks. Throughout, the production was interrupted by power failures, technical problems and calls to prayer from a nearby mosque revealing the elation, stoicism and eventual exhaustion of the dancers. The work is concerned with heroism and collapse and reveals beauty surviving under duress.
This work is screened every day from 11.00 to 17.40.
Collins is a nominee for the 2006 Turner Prize from Tate Britain in London.
The SF MOMA project is complemented by a film screening of ‘Is it Really So Strange?’ (2004), an insightful documentary by William E. Jones examining the cult following of Stephen Morrissey — the former front man and singer/songwriter of British band The Smiths — that flourishes in the eastern suburbs of Los Angeles, primarily among Latino and Hispanic youth. Though Morrissey seems an unlikely idol for this demographic, the film reveals a unifying sense of alienation expressed in his songs and experienced by migrant youths and a growing gay community. The October 26 program features an introduction by the filmmaker and a question-and-answer period following the screening. Free with Museum admission.
Thursday, 26 Oct, 2006, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, 28 Oct, 2006, 2:00 p.m.
Phyllis Wattis Theater
151 Third Street (between Mission and Howard Streets)
San Francisco, CA 94103
T: +1415 357 4000