Phil Collins

they shoot horses

2004
Phil Collins has titled this work after Horace McCoy’s 1935 novel and Sydney Pollack’s 1969 film adaptation "They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?", both of which portray the Depression-era craze of dance marathons. In early 2004 the artist went to Ramallah to stage his own dance marathon. After auditions, he selected nine Palestinian youths - Jasmin, Ziad, Sarah, Amal, Hussein, Mohammed, Maher, Noora, and Tamer - and recorded them in two separate groups over two days as they danced continuously for eight hours to a selection of songs chosen by Collins. The installation’s simulation of the dancers’ presence, combined with nightclub-level audio, encourages the viewer to identify bodily with the participants as they pass through states of enthusiasm, exhilaration, exhaustion, and sheer determination.
Artist
Title
they shoot horses
Date
2004
Medium
Time-Based Media
Materials
2 channel digital video installation, 420:00 minutes
Dimensions
installation dimensions variable
Nationality
British
Credit line
Purchased 2007
Accession number
42023