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I recalled a short novel I once read: In 1957 the French author Albert Camus wrote a story called L’Hôte, and surprisingly the title can be translated from French as both “guest” and “host” — a peculiarity of the book that has been lost in translation. more
The ambivalence of the French word together with the theme of Camus’ story, which questions whether a truly neutral position in society is possible even when one refuses to take action, resonates with me, because both reveal much of the hidden con- tracts of hospitality and how this needs to be updated constantly. It draws our attention to a relationship between individuals and social orders: A relationship based on an unexpressed and fragile trust between the host (or in our case an art institution) and the guest. But like the ambivalent French word, host can incorporate much more than a sense of self and hospitality towards others — it can be conceived as a vessel, or even as an individual possessed by phantoms and societal concerns. HOST appeared in the exhibition in two literal forms: Entering the building of the Kestner Gesellschaft, one could see it as a text piece painted on the constructed partitions of the foyer, visibly marking or in a way even advertising its function of becoming a vessel for so many things. Inside the exhibition, Host was the title of Khan’s 2007 video installation. It showed a two-channel video piece of dense, rapid action and shades of the color red changing slowly and almost imperceptibly, accompanied by an eerie music composition.