This project, the product of a collaboration between motiroti (London, England, United Kingdom) and The Builders Association (New York, New York, United States), re-examines the legend of Aladdin in light of its original Hindu and Muslim versions, as well as its film adaptations produced by British, American and Indian studios. These two artists' collectives share a common interest in popular culture and the politics of representation. The project provides fruitful ground for exploring the issues of cultural appropriation and cross-fertilization. Alladeen
is intended mainly as a site for deliberation, the results of which reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the project.
motiroti and The Builders Association shot a short musical film in the studios of Bombay, the capital of the Indian film industry. By targeting broadcasters such as MTV Asia, the two collectives hope to reach a large audience made up mainly of young people. A multimedia performance combines live processing of video images with the actors' on-stage show. The Builders Association has investigated the technical possibilities of D.A.V.E. (Digital Amplified Video Engine), a computer-controlled interface allowing a video image to be grafted right onto an actor's body.
A Web site (www.alladeen.com
) documents the evolution of the project. Concurrent with the performance, the results of the research on the figure of Aladdin are posted on the site. As well, an installation offers an interactive component inspired by the theme of the flying carpet and brings together elements (documents, accessories) gleaned from the various stages of the project. Discussion forums are also organized during presentations of the performance and installation around the world.