On Three Posters 2004 by Rabih Mroué
Exploring how On Three Posters advances the intellectual and creative production of the performance upon which it was founded, this In Focus also examines the significance of the work in relation to the image politics of the Lebanese Left.
Rabih Mroué’s On Three Posters is a seventeen-minute, single-channel colour video with sound. Made in 2004, it originated from a multi-media performance called Three Posters, conceived and staged by Mroué and the Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury, and first performed in Beirut in 2000. The performance centred on an unedited tape made by Jamal al-Sati, a fighter for Lebanon’s National Resistance Front, which shows three ‘takes’ of his martyr testimony rather than the approved version that was aired on Lebanese television.
This In Focus shows how the three ‘takes’ allowed Mroué and Khoury to question the status of suicide videos and martyr posters, and to examine the ideological circumstances surrounding their production and place within the visual culture and political history of Lebanon. It explores the significance of the work in relation to Lebanon’s protracted conflicts and the ways in which contemporary artists in the country have addressed the individual and collective traumas of the past and their reverberations in the present.
Published in February 2014, the project is authored by Dr Chad Elias (University of York) and includes interviews with the artist Rabih Mroué and the critic and theorist Boris Groys.