I was in Cairo in November 2008 to shoot a short film for an exhibition entitled Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie. It's made in a ‘reality’ documentary TV style, it's a broadcast ‘trailer’ a synopsis of a future programme. Its a clone of an episode from the series Faking It.
Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie explores issues of class in contemporary art. Faking It is all about class.
My film Lapdogs collapses down two versions of class, one historic and the other contemporary. The historic is that inscribed within the premise of the series Faking It - borrowed from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalian, itself based on a scene in Ovid's Metamorphoses, and better known as My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn - class marked by education, occupation, taste, aspiration, and - after Marx- rights over 'the means of production'. In this traditional sense of class, the labour of the working class person is expropriated by RDF media who make the Faking It series.
RDF media also own the property rights to the Faking It TV format. They sell those broadcast rights worldwide. Immaterial properties have been described as 'the oil of the 21st Century' and the begining of a new class divide. So the contemporary figure of the working class [the street waiter Abbas] is doubly exploited. First labour as entertainment, second as property.
I'm trying to sell Lapdogs as a TV format, in countries outside of RDF media's reach.
You can read the Lapdogs script
Lapdogs was first exhibited at the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo
See how the project was installed at the Arnolfini in Bristol
See the accompanying publication
More images of the film-shoot in Cairo.
Or read a Guardian review
In Cairo, I had a sharp lesson in political economy.
3 Hussein Basha Al Meamari
Qasr El Nil