Disco Islam: Future Phantasmagoria will fill our second gallery with light, sound, fog and sand to conjure up an image of a dystopian neo-liberal Middle Eastern nightclub from the future.
The work explores how neo-liberalism has become the dominant ideology of the late capitalist societies in the West, its economic policies are often prescribed by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank as the only way towards growth, freedom and democracy in the global south and the Middle East. To speculate on a perfect neo-liberal Middle Eastern future, ‘Disco Islam: Future Phantasmagoria’ takes up a few of the key neo-liberal policies —such as privatization, deregulation, free trade, market competition, austerity, reduction in government size —, and feeds them through various aspects of the club culture (a space historically associated with subversive freedom). In this way, the show turns the gallery into a neo-liberal Middle Eastern nightclub belonging to a dystopian future.
Replicating the aesthetics of the corporate world, elements of the club culture and the techno-utopian solutions from the Silicon Valley, Disco Islam: Future Phantasmagoria eventually creates a nightmarish smoke and mirror vision of a future nightclub in the region in which the human rights violations of the authoritarian Middle Eastern regimes are traded in favour of international business, local crimes driven by inequalities are met with hovering ‘killer drones’, issues of dancing due to the Islamic law are addressed by turning people into ‘gender-less avatars’, cultural censorship is applied using AI, and last but not least, the environmental catastrophes (such as regional draughts) are left to crony individuals from the private sector to be simply disregarded and ignored in return for profit.