Rana Hamadeh is a performance and visual artist from Lebanon based in the Netherlands. Interested in a curatorial approach within her artistic practice, she works on long term discursive research projects that operate as umbrellas to growing series of performances, choreographic/cartographic works, installations as stage sets, and writing projects. Her work stems from an extended investigation into specific concepts and terms, treating the field of theory as fiction.
Visual and performance artist Rana Hamadeh develops long-term research projects that think through systems of justice, militarism, histories of sanitation, and theatre. Invested in a curatorial approach within her artistic practice, she works on long-term discursive, research projects that operate as umbrellas for a growing series of performances, choreographic/cartographic works, installations as stage sets, and writing projects. Her work stems from an extended investigation into specific concepts and terms, treating the field of theory as fiction.
Rana Hamadeh's performance "Can You Pull In An Actor With A Fishhook Or Tie Down His Tongue With A Rope?" is an eight-channel sound play that departs from a claim that regards justice as the extent to which one has access to the dramatic means of representation – the measure to which one can access theatre. The performance takes the Shi’ite ceremony of Ashura, alongside the political, military and legal actualisations of this ritual within the Lebanese and Syrian contexts, as a field for commentary and research. Ashura is a theatrical religious ceremony that re-stages the battle of Karbala during which Imam Al Hussein (626–80 AD), the grandson of Prophet Mohammad and an allegorical reference to the figure of the oppressed, was killed. Through a series of rites and orations over the course of ten days each year, Ashura mourners recount the battle’s events, weep and inflict wounds onto their bodies. Fluctuating between the theatrical and the actual witnessing of the crime, Ashura mourners constitute themselves as testimonial subjects while embodying the roles of the oppressor and the oppressed at once. Treating Ashura as a dramaturgical framework that underlies the entire politics of oppression in Lebanon and Syria, Hamadeh’s performance decodes, reorders and re-choreographs the ceremony’s theatrical components, proposing with that a possible language through which the history of the region’s violence can be re-read. The work considers whether it is possible to script Justice – to rehearse, narrate, weep, chant, choreograph, or even spectate justice.
Credits (c)photo: Rana Hamadeh & KIOSK, 2014