How to gather? Acting in a Center in a City in the Heart of the Island of Eurasia

Under challenging circumstances, the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art opts for a radical format and changes its structure: the biennale will be condensed into ten days. Artistic, discursive and reflective moments will shape the space. Located in the Pavilion No.1 of VDNKh, it is here that the Moscow Biennale will evolve, as a think tank in real time.

Biennale: Sept 22 - Oct 1, 2015
Documentary exhibition project: Oct 3 - Oct 11, 2015


Show list PDF
22 Sep
23 Sep
24 Sep
25 Sep
26 Sep
27 Sep
28 Sep
29 Sep
30 Sep
01 Oct

Rana Hamadeh

20:30 - 21:30hrs

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.