So. I’ve been working on this show that has been ALL consuming the past few months. It’s been BLACKFRIDAYALLDAYEVERYDAY.
The show opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City on July 25th.
There’s info about it here. And you can read the curator Christopher Lew’s great essay about it here. There’s more on CNN. New Scientist. New York Times. And I add sheepishly, in the August 2016 US Vogue. As well as upcoming pieces in Dazed + Confused, Art Forum, Mousse and Kaleidoscope.
Perhaps most amusing so far is this subedit nightmare and FUBAR comments section in The Guardian. But it’s actually a really thoughtful piece I appreciate greatly by David Shariatmadari.
Anyway. It’s open until October 31st and over its three month lifespan much of the installation will die (hopefully not too painfully) so go see it sooner than later if you want to see all of the 113 unique videos before they ‘pass on’.
I wanted to use this post to thank by name all the geniuses and genies who made the show possible because as you may have noticed, kunstwelt rarely gives artists wallspace (or any space really) to do that.
Zone out if you hate long awards speeches but zoom in if you want to know how this behemoth of a thing was made.
Up front I want to thank the Whitney Museum, its incredible staff. Especially Emily Sufrin, Clemence White, Daphne Takahashi, Lynn Schatz, Reid Farrington, Seth Fogelman, Greg Reynolds, Denise Kupferschmidt, Natalee Cayton, Frankie Kong, Rob Lomblad, Richard Bloes, Jehad Abu-Hamda, Jeffrey Bergstrom, Rosana Chang and Christopher Y. Lew for not only inviting me but hosting me in his mother’s future flat!
Vitally, my queen Anna Lena Vaney of Anna Lena Films for midwifing this project from start to finish. She has been a constant support for many years now and we finally got to make a film together!❤
Qatar Museums and specifically H.E. Sheikha Mayassa for making the main film Black Friday possible financially.
To Justin Kramer and everyone at The Film House in Qatar for being so game and flexible to do something weird in a sea of corporate. To Moon for the swoon. And Ashiq, stay golden. The shoot saw us spend every night in a mall, every day on the sweltering road, consume way too much McDonalds plus someone climbed into a hyena enclosure and we all survived!
To the ever enthusiastic and encouraging Asad Raza and the Foundation Boghossian for bringing me to the Villa Empain in BXL to stew in the rushes and gestate the work. The vital organs were formed there. I want to come back to that grey deco death cake.
While on the subject of Brussels I’d like to thank my Premiere Pro prince – the peerless Léo Parmentier who worked editing in tandem with me for almost a month in and out of public and came to London to finish the 113 videos and heroically stepped in as post-production supervisor when things got sticky and made me laugh while doing it.
So also 🍔. But also 🎥. But hum 👯.
Everyone asks about the sound design which steals the show. The subwoofer hell drone and electrically weeping guitar was conjured by sonic magician Nicolas Becker. Who so far is the only person to whom I’ve said “apocalyptic sky trumpet!” as a direction and replied, “I have the sound”. He is also amazing at BBQing langoustine.
Two individuals at Goldcrest Films in London: Jamie Rodan for swooping that sound and Diana Vazquez for going with the Jolly Rancher grade.
To the silver foxxx Sam Neill for his voice over as the sermon giving patriarch in Black Friday who I’ve named in my head Papa Xanadu. Best Cape Town date of 2015.
To mastermind and code-King Pierre Depaz. He made the app that runs everything on the many-headed device-hydra that compose the installation “The Litany”. I am in total awe at what he pulled off with used consumer electronics considering the technical requirements of this monstrosity. It was so much fun finding ghost data from previous users and nerding out over Japanese funk!
I’d also like to thank the cast who appear in the final piece.
My father Mohamed Al-Marri and brother Sultan Al-Marri for their Orphée exit. The mythic braiding mandala goddess Nira Sunawar. And Dana Badder for working her baddest walk.
To The Third Line Gallery for hosting the after party and shepherding me through this confusion.
Also to the friends and family who’ve been around throughout the process and been patient sounding boards, damp cry-shoulders and hosts during this period in Doha, Paris, London and NYC: Amal Khalaf, Sarah AbuAbdallah, Abdallah Al-Mutairi, Matt Hall, Francesca Mara, Cindy Lew, Nanu Al Hamad, Shumon Basar, Aaron Stewart Ahn, Vanessa Hodgekinson, Alex Alvarez. I know I’m forgetting someone. Forgive me!
To Barnaby Adams for introducing me to “the Gruen Transfer” in the first place!
To my❤ & grand vizier Peter Webber. For, well… so much.
And finally to my sister Sarah for weening her youngest so she could come to the opening.
I know that hurt!