Performative documents

View the video on Hasan and Husain Essop at the V&A exhibition Figures and Fictions and write a short reflective commentary .

Hasan and Husain Essop , Born South Africa 1985 .

Having never looked at their work before I found the video of the South African twins absolutely fascinating. Their Islamic faith is extremely important to them and their staged work explores “the inner struggle” (Vimeo) facing many young Muslims who also happen to enjoy and appreciate popular Western culture . I think their ability to perform individually before the camera and then produce such carefully synchronised results is due to the fact they are twins , they instinctively understand what the other is thinking or doing , they are artistically connected.

Photographs were not allowed on the walls of their family home, “it’s a practice not uncommon in Muslim homes as photographs are frowned on” (News 24 . 2013) . The brothers are the only actors in their composite images, Hasan explains “ we decided to use ourselves instead of others in our work. This way , if we need to answer to anyone , we alone are judged” ( News 24 . 2013) .They collaborate and plan an idea before finally going to a location to perform their fictional interpretations “of Muslim life , Islamic life” (Vimeo) in Cape town.

Like Tom Hunter they are part of , and understand the traditions , of the community they are documenting . I think the brothers subjective approach is successful, their own inner conflict and fear for the future of their religion is explored in an exciting way .

Accessed 20/8/15
Accessed 23/8/15

2 thoughts on “Performative documents

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