Safety Zoom. 2008-09

Video installation 7:13 min, wall paint, wallpaper, life jackets, painted plywood, photographic paper collage. DVD - color, sound, loop.

 

Installation view, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany. 2009

"In the 70's Jean-Luc Godard stated that "The problem is not to make political films, but to make films politically." In a post 9/11 era, after the veneer of international multicultural dialogue was peeled off, making films politically and not making political films has become an even more problematic task. In Safety Zoom a video installation by Mahmoud Khaled we are invited to make sense of a rather mundane although uncommon incident that the artist experienced while on a residency in London. In this incident Khaled started off as a tourist recording a picturesque cityscape with his camcorder and ended up as an artist conditioning a specific situation and narrative. Khaled had positioned himself at a particular spot where he could get a pleasant view of the underlying river and its pier. A small private yacht drew into harbor, on-board a seemingly classical nuclear family composed of father, mother and two children. Khaled's attention was somewhat voyeuristically drawn to recording the family's debarkation of the boat. But the aimless voyeurism caught the attention of the father, who decided to make his case clear by pointing his own digital camera at Khaled and becoming the observer instead of the observed. In this two-way Mise-en-scène, what kind of relationship do we have at hand? Is it as far fetched as a symbolic shooting of some sort, a simple equation of curiosity versus privacy, or a complex safety dynamic? What are the motives that lay behind this fleeting silent dialogue? Putting the footage through the aesthetic funnels of dubbing, voice-overs, and other editing devices, Khaled expresses a multi-dimensional, personal and socio-political questioning of this real-life episode that was "made political" by default and then taken a step further by the artist." Bassam El Baroni

Installation view, UKS, Oslo, Norway. 2009