Raed Yassin

The Theatricality of a Postponed Death (2022)

Artistic defiance against all odds, including those of war, is the subject of Raed Yassin’s performance for the festival opening. Representing a significant new development in his practice as an artist and musician, it takes the form of a funeral procession with a marching band and revisits a theatrical puppet parade held in Beirut in the 1980s, when the Lebanese Civil War was raging.

Not only did the parade, organized by director Raif Karam, protest the dire situation of the war, it also questioned the restrictions of theater itself. One of the larger puppets depicted Shoushou, a well-known actor and comedian who rooted his practice in issues of class and poverty, a novel subject that no one else approached in popular culture at the time.

As the war approached, Shoushou fell upon hard times and was forced to shut down his theater, dying a few months before full-fledged fighting broke out. In a way, his life and person represented the unity of a country that was now destroyed, and the failure of the artist who cannot overcome the immense chaos war begets.

Raed Yassin (1979, Beirut, Lebanon) is an artist and musician. He has developed his conceptual practice through multiple media such as video, sound, photography, text, sculpture, and performance. Yassin’s work often originates from an examination of his personal narratives and their position within a collective history through the lens of consumer culture and mass production. He was a resident artist at De Ateliers, Amsterdam (2008–2010), the Delfina Foundation, London (2010 and 2014), Akademie der Künste der Welt, Cologne (2015), and is a recipient of the Abraaj Group Art Prize (2012). As a musician, he is one of the organizers of the Irtijal Festival for Experimental Music, Beirut, and has released several solo music albums and as part of groups such as “A” Trio and PRAED. In 2009, he founded his independent music label Annihaya. Yassin currently lives between Berlin and Beirut.

22.9., 17:00

From Hauptplatz to Joanneumsviertel
8010 Graz

Freely accessible

Performers: Bujar Brahimi, Raoul Eisele, Fatah Farzam, Julian Gypser, Benjamin Klug, Josef Koller, Katrin Leinfellner, Lisa Loigge, Lina Marangattil, Maggie Midea, Irene Polt, Nina Rienessel, Peter Roll, Julia Spreitzer

Trumpet: Markus Pechmann, Klemens Kollmann
Trombone: Matyas Papp, Matthias Bernsteiner
Alto saxophone: Karton Papp
Clarinet: Miloš Milojević
Tuba: Eddie Luís
Snare drum, hi-hat: Karlo Zulic
Bass drum, cymbals: Elmar Berger

Concept and direction: Raed Yassin
Text: Rana Issa
Masks: Said Baalbaki  
Musical arrangements: Tarek Yamani
Inflatables: Ursula Klein (schulteswien.com)

Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ’22