Mahogany

Jesse Jones

Description

Re-scripted from the final scene of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s 1927 opera The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Jones’s film tells the story of a city outside of society, whose inhabitants are offered a space of ‘infinite freedom’ as long as they pay enough money. This freedom manifests itself in an excessive indulgence of pleasures. Mahogany, shot in the Australian outback, restages this fictitious city in the wake of its collapse, as a dialogue between the city’s architect Begbick, and a Whisper Choir made up of its inhabitants. With the suspension of time, and setting the action in the void of the desert, the video takes the allegorical geographical location and historical moment as a starting point for a critique of present political conditions. Whilst Brecht intended Mahagonny to be a criticism of the false freedoms of the Weimar Republic, Jesse Jones tests the marginality of political gesture and the crisis of forms of viable political action in contemporary post-utopian society. Mahogany is the first chapter in Jesse Jones’ The Trilogy of Dust, a collection of three films (Mahogany (2009), The Predicament of Man (2010) and Against the Realm of the Absolute (2011)) made by the artist between 2009 and 2011. The Trilogy of Dust depicts a narrative arch that shifts from Brechtian alienation to the cognitive estrangement of science fiction. Each film is connected through a series of desert, dust and ash landscapes, from the desert of central Australia to a manufactured desert of post industrial detritus. Each of these stark landscapes forms an eerie stage to speculations on social and economic collapse and their repercussions for human existence.’ (Sourced from http://www.hughlane.ie/past/632-sleepwalkers-jesse-jones-the-trilogy-of-dust on March 14th 2016)

Details
Title

Mahogany

Year

2009

Creator

Jesse Jones

Medium

Moving Image

Form

Short

Genre

Landscape, Text, Science Fiction

Subject

Brecht, Bertolt, 1898-1956. Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny. English, Freedom, Capitalism

Language

English (eng)

Duration

35 minutes

Original format

Physical: Film: 16mm

Aspect ratio

16:9

Colour

Colour

Sound

Sound

Rights

Copyright holder: Jesse Jones

Artist website

No artist website exists

Link to work

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ofZrz4i5FU (extract)