A River In A Sea In A River
08.02.14 – 23.03.14
Rana Hamadeh’s show A River In A Sea In A River is part of the overarching project Alien Encounters (2011 – ongoing). This long-term research project serves as an umbrella for a growing archive of performance works, texts, cartographic and choreographic projects, as well as theoretical and hypothetical gestures. Initially inspired by Sun Ra’s film Spaceis the Place (1974), which proposes an African-American exodus towards outer space in response to racial injustice, Alien Encounters builds upon the idea of ‘provincializing’ planet Earth – a proposition that aims at queering the spatial paradigms that constitute our contemporary global understandings of the ‘worldly’. Bringing together elements from science fiction film and literature, contemporary migration and capital flows, colonial legacies, mining and transportation histories, and legal theory, the project’s different episodes form a multi- faceted effort to reflect on the conjunctions of the legal and the spatial.
A River In A Sea In A River delves deeper into these issues and develops along the same performative and associative logic of ‘mapping’. The central work can be read as a cartographic and theatrical scenography for a ‘play’ of stories, places and encounters.
This exhibition, seen as a second chapter of Hamadeh’s recent work, The Big Board, or ... ‘And before it falls, it is only reasonable to enjoy life a little’ (2013) is an exhaustive deliberation on the notion of ‘falling’: falling as a dynamic of virulence (falling ill/ contagion); falling as a physical choreographic gesture; and falling as a form of legal apathy. Through a theatrical characterization of the figure of the plague doctor in Ancient Greece, passing through 19th-century colonial institutionalization of the quarantine as the premise for military authoritarianism, and ending with the figure of the dictator as doctor, the work combines an intensive scrutiny of the relations of criminology, epidemiology, and theatre with an exploration of the dimensions of land, sea and outer space. In its course, it encounters questions such as: Can flowing water be a possible space for re/thinking the law? Is justice possible beyond the material and discursive stability of the ground?
During the finissage of the show, on Sunday 23 March 2014, Rana Hamadeh will give a performance in the scenography of A River In A Sea In A River.