How Images Survive (in) Theatre

Work thumb

Views: 112

  • Title: How Images Survive (in) Theatre: On the Lives of Images in Rabih Mroué’s The Pixelated Revolution and Three Posters
  • Author(s): Jeroen Coppens
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Common Ground Open
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Image
  • Keywords: Theatre, W. J. T. Mitchell, Martyrdom, Metapictures, Picture as Living Organism
  • Volume: 9
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2154-8560 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8579 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8560/CGP/v09i02/55-71
  • Citation: Coppens, Jeroen. 2018. "How Images Survive (in) Theatre: On the Lives of Images in Rabih Mroué’s The Pixelated Revolution and Three Posters." The International Journal of the Image 9 (2): 55-71. doi:10.18848/2154-8560/CGP/v09i02/55-71.
  • Extent: 17 pages

Abstract

This article analyses two theatre pieces by Rabih Mroué as statements and reflections about how images work. “The Pixelated Revolution” (2012) and “Three Posters” (2000) are lecture-performances that probe the power of images in the context of war. Both performances use images “on the brink” of death, the first showing gripping footage from demonstrators in the Syrian civil war and the latter integrating a real video testimony of a Lebanese suicide bomber into the theatre piece. These precarious images between life and death are used to theorise the image in an alternative way. Specifically, Mroué stages the image as self-critical metapictures, as has been theorized by W. J. T. Mitchell. Furthermore, Mroué treats the images as if they were actors, as if they had a life, a death, and ghostly (re)appearances of their own. This relates to Mitchell’s later approach, looking at images as living organisms. If images are alive, what lives do they lead, both within and beyond the theatre?