Untitled (Go-go Dancing Platform) Speaks, 2016

Wood, light bulbs, acrylic paint, and performer in silver lamé shorts, sneakers,  portable voice amplifier and wireless headphones. Frieze London Art Fair, 2016, wallpaper, text, sound speakers. Courtesy of the artist and Gypsum Gallery. 

Mahmoud Khaled uses an iconic piece produced in 1991 by Felix Gonzalez-Torres called Untitled (Go-go Dancing Platform), where for five minutes each day, an unscheduled and unannounced dancer clad in silver lamé shorts, ascends a lighted platform to dance to music of his own choosing, played through earphones so only the dancer could hear. The platform functions as an art object or minimalist sculpture all day, except during those five minutes when the dancer transforms it by his presence. In Khaled’s iteration, the dancer looks the same but he is not dancing. As he moves around on the platform, he is struggling to think about his own existence as an art object demanding a new form of art. Instead of a Walkman, the dancer carries a portable voice amplifier typically used by teachers and tour guides. He reads a text authored by Khaled and based on correspondences between him and a number of art practitioners and theorists who question the role and future of contemporary art in the current violent moment.

 

Credits: 

Production: Gypsum Gallery  

Performance: Zia Ahmed

Photography: Laura Cugusi 

Special Thanks to: Aleya Hamza, Lauren Wetmore, Bassam El Baroni, Milica Tomic, Angela Harutynyan, Shahira Issa, Helena Anrather, Jehan Marei and Aaron Cezar 


Script: 

What! 

A..are you... waiting for me to dance? …. 

I’m afraid I won’t be able to

I know you’re expecting me to … 

I’m sure you’ve seen many pictures of me dancing in art books and magazines … 

And some of you have probably seen me dancing in some big galleries in the past decade….. 

But I just can’t do it anymore…. 

I don’t feel like it, 

or maybe I’ve forgotten how to dance

… i don’t know!

 

I’ve been bubble wrapped and stored in climate-controlled environments since the 90s along with many other famous and valuable artworks, 

We made up a prizedand prestigious collection of contemporary art

and we were all owned by a private collector, 

who has remained anonymous to us all,  even today, 

 

From time to time Mr Collector used to lend us to international museums

to exhibit and expose us to people like you, 

my lovely, elegant and educated art-goers, 

 

Since back then and till now, 

Everything has been so controlled! 

the temperature, the humidity, 

even the air that I breathe

Everywhere I go, 

even on the road

my beautiful shape is insured

from anything and everything

I am covered and protected

 

I am well aware that I‘ve lost a lot of weight

my talent, my ability to dance

maybe even the radicalism of my sudden beautiful appearance between the white walls that you regularly visit, 

 

Even so, as you can see

I am still young and sexy, 

at least that’s the one thing I managed to sustain very well whilst I’ve been historicized, studied + stored for more than a decade ! 

 

I still look younger than most of you

and most of the other new artworks you will see today, 

I don’t doubt this, I know! 

Many of you are coming from very far places today

to experience, enjoy, consume and acquire

new, unique and meaningful pieces of art here…. 

 

Do you think I am one of those artworks? please!! ….

To be honest with you I’ve forgotten what I’m supposed to do

but I remember that as an artwork

my existence is based on meticulous instructions

which is most likely the secret of my eternal youth and beauty, 

 

But I want this fucking anticipation to end! 

I just want to vanish.. 

I want to fucking fail! 

In my head I see these ghostly structures that are so out of sync, out of joint with the present…. 

a present with drastically transformed aesthetic sensibilities

and sites of leisure

and a technologically produced sublime as a spectacle

… oh dear..

 

I am not hallucinating

I am not hung-over. It’s been a long time since I partied

and I don’t even know how people party now.

 

I only know that as an artwork

I have a politically and ideologically loaded desire,… 

that I cannot address or articulate here and now!… 

I don’t know why

 

I just…want a new form for myself

A new form to suddenly come out of myself …. 

a form to regain my erotic, my Romantic purity and radical effect….

 and I don’t think I’ll be able to do that now during these next few days

Sorry!