This screen-assisted performance is based on the true story of artist Rabih Mroué’s younger brother, Yasser Mroué. At age seventeen, Yasser suffered from aphasia after being shot in the head during the Lebanese Civil War. Left with a “problem with representations,” he could recognize people and things when they were in front of him but not when shown to him as images. The doctor recommended that Yasser begin to make images as a way of recovering an understanding of the relationship between reality and representation.
Mroué’s performance tackles precisely the same relationship. In Riding on a Cloud, diverse strategies are used to drive a wedge between any simple equation of reality and representation. Truth claims are rendered contingent and provisional. Yasser appears on stage as himself, speaks about his life, and projects the videos he produced as a part of his recovery. Woven through these autobiographical gestures is a meditation on the metamorphoses that occur in the act of creating narratives. With its fragmentary structure that mixes media formats and discursive registers, Riding on a Cloud is a poignant elaboration of Rabih Mroué’s ongoing interest in illuminating the vicissitudes of constructing truth, particularly in the aftermath of conflict and trauma.
In collaboration with: Sarmad Louis
With: Yasser Mroué