One of the most talked-about and compelling works at the New Museum’s triennial, The Ungovernables, is Hassan Khan’s video Jewel, a masterful combination of sound and moving image. In the main portion of the video, a fast-paced Shaabi soundtrack (created by the artist) accompanies two men engaged in choreographed dance.
The dance is aggressive, as is the beat they dance to. The room is dark save for a box between them with blue twinkling lights in the rough shape of a gyrating fish—this is not a common space; it is an elsewhere. One man is quite thin, clean-shaven, and dressed in business attire. The other is heavier, mustachioed, and wearing casual clothing.
The sartorial discrepancy between the men seems to symbolize the sizable class divide that has been pervasive in Egypt. The video, made two years ago, predicts the incredible uncertainties currently facing Egypt as regimes shift and some of the wealthiest citizens, friends of Mubarak, have fled or are on trial.