Middle East & Africa

Mohammed Kazem

“Untitled” was filmed in Bodh Gaya, India during a residency in 2011. There, he came across a scene that appealed to his interest in the political and social aspects of modernity. He filmed a policeman who, seemingly, is controlling traffic. Yet, when closely observed, the policeman is powerless to the overwhelming flow of vehicles and people. The policeman swings his arms and gestures as a show of control, but is unable to influence any change. The flow of traffic is random and chaotic; his perch in the middle of the road positions him on an island in a sea of humanity. This video is of the extinction of a job once important to the day-to-day of the urban environment. The man, convincing himself through his gestures that his work is of use reminds the viewer of the inconsequence’s of individuality in the face of unleashed modernity. The work is a metaphor for the life of an individual. Life passes by and we mostly leave no trace of the individual. In the tradition of absurdism central to French culture in the 1940s and 1950s, “Untitled” is a witty, poignant and thoughtful interrogation of contemporary life.

Mohammed Kazem (b. Dubai, 1969) has developed an artistic practice, encompassing video, photography and performance as a method for apprehending his varying environments and experiences. The underpinning for Kazem’s artwork is informed by his training as a musician. Exploring light and sound in tangible terms, Kazem is interested in developing processes that render transient phenomena’s. In an attempt to trace the rapid pace of modernization in the Emirates since its founding, Kazem responds to geographical location and the materiality of urban existence through positioning himself within his work as a means to assert his subjectivity. Kazem’s oeuvre is divided into two fundamental aspects, the political and the social. While his work does not follow a strict methodology of representation, Kazem’s continued assessment and assemblement of chance patterns and happenings creates meaning in the maelstrom of modernity.