2-channel video installation, 420 min.
“When we think about Palestine it never seems to be in reference to modernity, or culture; in fact it’s relentlessly positioned as uncivilized. The disco dance marathon would instead be a way of looking at beauty under duress, entertainment in a place of routine indignities.” With these words in mind, and building on the popular legacy of the well-known 1969 filmic adaptation They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? of the Great-Depression novel of the same name, artist Phil Collins
traveled to Ramallah in February 2004 to organize a dance marathon. Through auditions he selected nine participants—Jasmin, Ziad, Sarah, Amal, Hussein, Mohammad, Naher, Noora, and Tamer—who, divided in two groups, endured the lengthy dancing performance to music by the likes of The Smiths, Gina X, Aretha Franklin, and from the musical Fame. The real-time video recordings of the dancing individuals are in fact cultural translations of incomprehensible instances of resilience, drive, fortitude, and determination that impregnate the lives of those subject to continuous oppression in Palestine. The perseverance in the marathon reflects the heroism required to live in a prison of contemporary global politics; the universal familiarity with western popular music of the last three-odd decades reveals both the value of interconnectedness and the problematic reality of cultural imperialism. Most importantly, however, the work presents gestures of deep empathy and emits an urgent call for solidarity.