Jesse Jones’s 16mm film Mahogany was first exhibited in the 9th Istanbul Biennial in 2009. Re-scripted from the final scene of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s 1927 opera The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany, Jones’s film tells the story of a city on the outskirts of society, whose inhabitants are offered a space of ‘infinite freedom’ as long as they pay enough money.
This false freedom manifests itself in an excessive indulgence of pleasures and soon reveals itself to be finite and oppressive. Mahogany was shot in the Australian outback and re-stages this fictitious city of Mahoganny in the wake of its collapse as a dialogue between the city’s architect Begbick, and a Whisper Choir made up of its inhabitants.
Setting the action in the landscape of the Australian desert the film takes the geographical location and allegorical to the conditions of Capitalism and how we are expected to survive it’s limitations.
Whilst Brecht intended Mahogany 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.