The Room: Concept art makes a home at Art Dubai 2018

The Room: Concept art makes a home at Art Dubai 2018
This year’s installation is a collaborative affair, built by a collective of members from across the region known as GCC. (Photo courtesy: GCC)
Updated 24 March 2018

The Room: Concept art makes a home at Art Dubai 2018

The Room: Concept art makes a home at Art Dubai 2018

The Room is “an immersive, large-scale interactive installation” that takes place at Art Dubai each year, and has built its reputation on the new and innovative ways that it pushes the boundaries of art.
This year’s installation is a collaborative affair, built by a collective of members from across the region. Known as the GCC, an acronym that does not necessarily stand for but alludes to the Gulf Cooperative Council, all eight members have strong ties to the Arabian Gulf region of the Middle East.
The artists are Nanu Al-Hamad, Khalid Al Gharaballi, Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Fatima Al Qadiri, Monira Al Qadiri, Aziz Al Qatami, Barrak Alzaid, Amal Khalaf. The GCC was formed in 2013 at Art Dubai, having since shown in New York, Berlin, Paris, the UAE, and Kassel.
This year’s The Room is built around the concept of a talk show, specifically GOOD MORNING GCC (صباح الخير جي. سي. سي.) which uses the “tropes of daytime talk shows commonly featured on TV stations across the Arab world alongside a reference to Nam June Paik’s “Good Morning Mr. Orwell”, Glenn O’Brien’s TV Party, Chris Burden’s commercials and other artists who have used television’s potential to communicate to a wider audience,” according to Art Week organizers.
For this year’s installation, a special highlight will be the celebrity wedding singer and TV chef Suliman Al-Qassar. He is an icon of food performance and is a much-loved TV personality in the region. Al-Qassar launched the program with a live cooking demonstration on the opening night of Art Week.
The inspiration for attendees of this year’s installation, according to the visiting artists, is to allow them access to experienced media personalities. As explained by the GCC collective artists, “these personalities are tapped into regional subcultures with massive audiences and we wanted to insert them into the mainstream format of a TV show. Arab TV networks in the region have popularized the talk show format, which ranges from political to conversational and covers many of the topics we are addressing in our program.”
It is critical to bring this modern take on The Room to Art Week Dubai to “reflect the trends and interests of the region, while creating a sense of connectivity.”
In order to fully understand the concept, it is critical to know that “each segment has been selected with the practitioner in mind, someone who is part of a mainstream phenomenon but has subcultural value,” according to GCC.
The different segments have been carefully curated to foster a greater understanding of the role of talk shows in the development of a collective cultural experience.
“Each segment on a daytime talk show ranging from lifestyle and fashion to health and wellness; we gather together practitioners to give audiences hands on demonstrations to add value to their everyday lives, from makeup tutorials to holistic bodywork,” the artists said.
These segments will each be led by “an expert whose voice is already magnified by social media and broader regional trends.”
Although on the surface, talk shows can seem light-hearted and shallow in content, the reality, which will be explored through the installation, is that “talk shows that air throughout the GCC countries delve into topics that can be sensitive in public discourse, including sex, morality, religion, and politics and offer a variety of perspectives on these subjects,” according to GCC.
The Room, although focused on the authentic experience will bring in threads of this, the work does not explicitly contend with these issues, but instead “amplifies individuals whose voices we value, but who may not inhabit mainstream platform of day time TV.”
Running from March 21-24, the timings of The Room’s different installation can be found on the main website for Art Week Dubai.