Rana Hamadeh’s cacophonous sonic work takes the Shiite ceremony of Ashoura –– encompassing its current political, military, and legal expressions within the Lebanese/Syrian context, as its field for commentary and research –– an annual ritual during which mourners take the streets to 're-witness' the slaying of al-imam al-Hussein (626–680 AD), the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad and an allegorical reference to the ultimate figure of the oppressed.
Wednesday, Nov. 15: 6pm
Can You Make a Pet of Him Like a Bird or Put Him on a Leash For Your Girls?
Part of Protest and Performance: A Way of Life
Rana Hamadeh’s cacophonous sonic work takes the Shiite ceremony of Ashoura, and its current political, military, and legal expressions within the Lebanese/Syrian context, as its field for commentary and research. An annual ritual during which mourners take the streets to 're-witness' the slaying of al-imam al-Hussein (626–680 AD)—the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad and an allegorical reference to the ultimate figure of the oppressed—the Ashoura’ic tradition is addressed as a structural dramaturgical framework from which to read the theatrics of militancy and militarism in today’s Lebanon. Structured ‘through’ rather than ‘around’ Ashoura, this sound composition investigates the extent to which theatre operates as a technology of justice. The work re-dramatizes the affects that constitute the ta’zieh (mourning) ceremony, calling into question what it means to emerge as a testimonial subject in place of the legal subject.
About Rana Hamadeh
Drawing on a curatorial approach within her artistic practice, Rana Hamadeh develops longstanding discursive projects that think through the epistemologies, economies and technologies of justice, understanding justice through the optics of measure, spectacle, translation, reproduction and machinic standardization. Her work stems from an extended investigation into specific concepts and terms, treating the field of theory as fiction. In 2011, she initiated her ongoing project, Alien Encounters, which has since been operating as an incubator for a growing series of propositions that aim at complicating the notion of ‘alienness’. Throughout the project’s chapters (manifested through performative-cartographic works, sound-based installations, networked-media and film), the ‘alien’ turns into a discursive tool that allows for setting up alternative archives from which to locate corporate and state-promoted forms of violence and their enabling legal apparatuses. Since 2016, Hamadeh has been developing an 'operatic practice', experimenting with writing and composing, and testing out models for collective thinking and study.
Protest and Performance: A Way of Life is supported by the Ford Foundation and as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York
Senior Program Advisor and Curator at Large: Defne Ayas
Senior Curator: Kathy Noble
Hartwig Art Foundation Curatorial Fellow: Sakhi Gcina
Performa Biennial 2023 Baltic Fellow: Tina Petersone