1. Documents, Constellations, Prospects
        2. Contributions
        Dissident Knowledges, Conversation

        The Form of the Content

        Hassan Khan and Nida Ghouse

        22 March 2013

      1. Hassan Khan and Nida Ghouse, The Form of the Content, Conversation. Photo: Marcus Lieberenz/bildbuehne.de
      2. Hassan Khan’s 2003 performance, 17 and in AUC, is made up of memory. In doing as memory does, it rambles, and it rants, at times, it repeats itself. To be sure, the piece comprises the artist’s own reflections—often intensely charged and always irreducibly personal. Drawn out from within a very specific architectural construction, these recollections are of a time in the early 1990s and of a place that is called Cairo. The configuration of this context, however, may as well be arbitrary, determined solely by the accident of when and where Hassan went to college. And yet, I might suggest that this work of art poses itself as a cultural history. A difficult one to deal with, no doubt, in that its aesthetic form— both in its prior moment of production as well as in its present state as transcription—stubbornly refuses any easy interpretative synthesis. This is to say, while I might have been somewhat perturbed by the artist’s account of watching his friend high on hash have a breakdown crying fully clothed in the shower, there is nothing in the compositional scheme of the piece that grants one single element of it more prominence than another. Documentation of 17 and in AUC is presented at HKW and in our conversation about it Hassan and I discuss how certain formal decisions have meant that historical knowledge and cultural significance remain up for grabs.