In the uncut 17-minute version, the film shows events in front of the McDonald’s in the Hadaba section of Sharm El-Sheikh on the Sinai peninsula. The film was made two days before the bomb attacks in July 2005.
The managers of the American McDonald’s chain developed a sales strategy of transparency in the mode of production and in hygiene, as well as of the economically efficient (because it increases sales) self-service as the trademark of their company. In this regard, their branch in Hadaba – in an inconspicuous twostory building with closed shutters – can almost not be identified as a McDonald’s.
The fast food restaurant is hidden, earning its profits solely with home delivery, i.e. the opposite of self-service. The only identifier of American gastronomy is the McDonald’s logo on the trash cans, which are visited by roaming animals, and on the advertising spaces on the delivery boxes attached to the company’s Vespas. An employee wearing a traditional Djellaba, probably the building custodian, leaves the house several times and then comes back. In the courtyard, he carries out the ritual cleansing before going to the mosque. A young employee wearing a McDonald’s uniform leisurely prepares his departure, obviously to deliver a freshly prepared order. The Vespa is ready to go after several start attempts. Then he polishes his helmet and cleans his vehicle to free it from the desert sand. Finally, he drives away.
We notice that the paths of the two employees cross several times without them making eye contact. Animals continuously run to and fro in front of the building. Taxis, a tourist bus and other cars cross the screen. Various pedestrians, some of them on the way to the mosque on the other side of the street, pass by. The muezzin from the mosque (which is beyond our view) can be heard calling to the fourth of the five daily prayers.
Independent of this and acoustically separate, the soundtrack “Mix” can be heard via a remote headset for somewhat over 15 minutes. For 14 minutes, actress Megan Gay reads aloud various informational texts and advertisements from tourist brochures about Sharm El-Sheik. In the final minute, a song from the Egyptian mizmar baladi ensemble can be heard.
A further element is a tower of three stacked stones on the floor of the exhibition space. In the Sinai Desert, such towers mark the junctions for the residences of the Bedouin families that establish themselves there. The stones in the exhibition come from Europe because Egypt has a general export prohibition not only for shells and corals, but also for stones and sand.
see film (excerpt 5min – mp4)