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17 and in AUC: Documentation

009_04 / 29 October 2015


For 14 nights, from 720 April 2003, I sat in a soundproofed one-way mirrored glass room from 7pm to 11pm drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and talking. Although people could see and hear me, I could not see or hear anything except for myself. The glass room was constructed in an apartment rented in downtown Cairo using the budget offered by the Falaki Gallery at The American University in Cairo (AUC), which had invited me to exhibit as part of their programme. Over the span of these two weeks, my main focus was my undergraduate years (between 1990 and 1995) at the AUC. The performance was documented on 56 mini DV tapes, each tape representing one hour. Following the performance, the documentation tapes were broadcast in daily four hour segments in the Falaki Gallery on Campus. The video installation lasted 14 days to mirror the structure of the performance.


In 2004, every audible word was transcribed and the results were published in a book by Merz and Crousel without any editing or punctuation.The book was organized by day and hour to mirror the structure of the performance. In 2011, I was invited by Nida Ghouse to have a daily public conversation at the Delfina Foundation in London over the span of 14 consecutive evenings, each conversation focused on a different proper noun selected from the transcriptions. The event was titled 14 Proper Nouns. An audio recording of day five of the conversations is available here courtesy of Delfina Foundation:



In 2012 for the first time since the original performance in 2003, I showed documentation of the piece on a specially designed table as part of my survey show at SALT, Istanbul. The documentation included copies of the published transcriptions as well as a three-minute excerpt from the documentation tape of the second day. 


Hassan Khan, 17 and in AUC, 2003. Installation view at SALT Istanbul.
Hassan Khan, 17 and in AUC, 2003, documentation table at SALT Istanbul.


Hassan Khan, 17 and in AUC, 2003. Installation view at SALT Istanbul.
Hassan Khan, 17 and in AUC, 2003, 2014 at Kodak Passageway, D-CAF Festival Cairo.
Photo by Mostafa Abd El Aty. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel.

In 2013, I presented the documentation table as part of the FORMER WEST conference at HKW Berlin, where I also had another conversation with Nida Ghouse, titled 'The Form of the Content.' It can be viewed here.

Read Ajay Hothi's essay on Hassan Khan's performative works here.

About the author

Hassan Khan

Hassan Khan is an artist, musician and writer. Recent exhibitions include Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, (2015);  Kodak Passageway, D-CAF, Cairo (2014); Secession, Vienna (2013); SALT, Istanbul (2012); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012); Paris Triennial (2012) and the 2012 New Museum Triennial, New York (2012). He also regularly performs his own music live, recent appearances include Whitechapel Gallery, London (2015), SVNMASH Music Festival, Milan (2015), Portikus, Frankfurt (2015); Forget Amnesia Festival, Stromboli (2014); The Toulouse International Art Festival, Toulouse (2014), Klangzeit New Music Festival, Munster (2014), Maerz Musik Festival, Berlin (2013), Ghetto, Istanbul, (2013), Auditorium du Louvre, Paris (2012); and Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, Venice, (2012). Khan’s publications include The Agreement (2011) and Nine Lessons Learned from Sherif El Azma (2009).