Attending to the Glitch: Sand in the Eyes

Rabih Mroué in Interview with Lynette Hunter



Rabih Mroué is a Lebanese performer who lives in both the Lebanon and in Berlin, Germany. Rabih Mroué and Lynette Hunter met twice in Berlin, February 2018, to discuss the lecture performance Sand in the Eyes. Lynette Hunter subsequently watched the performance at the conference of the Interweaving Performance Cultures Centre, held in June 2018. In the interview, Mroué points out the direct similarity between the way that film techniques are co-opted for political purposes in videos of execution and the way that governments co-opt alternative strategies generated by artists, so that much artmaking either has to create techniques difficult to co-opt or build in a process by which they can be un-co-opted. The commentary that introduces Mroué’s text of Sand in the Eyes selects points from the interview that focus on the form that his critical analysis takes—the glitched “lecture.” Performers are usually aware of the ease with which the materiality of their work becomes appropriated, reduced to predictable material, and loses its ability to unsettle social, aesthetic, and political conventions. Mroué’s comments on his lecture form unfold how it incorporates a critical analysis of the artwork that is made into the artwork itself, and can delay, re-direct, elude, and glitch attempts to normalize its political impact; therefore, it can insist on the materiality of the artmaking and resist co-optation.

Author Biographies

Rabih Mroué, Independent Performer

Rabih Mroué is an actor, director, and playwright who creates plays, performances, and videos. His work confronts traditional notions of theatre and examines how the performer relates to the audience within a non-traditional atmosphere. His works deal with issues that have been ignored in the current political climate of Lebanon, which has even caused the country to censor his work. He has received a number of awards including the Spalding Grey Award, and a Prince Claus Award. In addition to his work in theater and performance, Mroué has shown exhibitions of film and visual art at galleries, museums, and biennials including Galerie Tranzitdisplay, Prague (2011); dOCUMENTA-13, Kassel (2012); CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid (2013); SALT, Istanbul (2014); MOMA New York (2015), and the Kunsthalle Munich (2016). His works are in the collections of the MoMA New York, Centre Pompidou Paris, SFMOMA San Francisco, the Art Institute of Chicago, CA2M Madrid, MACBA Barcelona, and the Van Abbe Museum Rotterdam, among others. Mroué is a co-founder of the Beirut Art Center and a long time collaborator with Ashkal Alwan, who have produced many of his performances. He is currently an associate director of Kammerspiele Munich.

Lynette Hunter, UC Davis

Lynette Hunter is Distinguished Professor of the History of Rhetoric and Performance at the University of California Davis. Much of her research work has been related to the rhetoric of western democratic politics and has included many textual forms, writing genres, and performance modes. More recently these research areas have led to Disunified Aesthetics (2014) and her research into training, practice, rehearsal and performance, including the book A Politics of Practice (2019), and her current exploration of performing as training in affect.






Cross-Disciplinary Methodologies