Rana Hamadeh, <i>The Ten Murders of Josephine</i>, 2018. Vue de l’installation, Lafayette Anticipations, 2018. Œuvre commandée et produite par Witte de With, Rotterdam ; Lafayette Anticipations ; Paris ; et In4Art Collection, Rotterdam.
Rana Hamadeh, The Ten Murders of Josephine, 2018. Installation view, Lafayette Anticipations, 2018. Commissionned and produced by Witte de With, Rotterdam ; Lafayette Anticipations ; Paris ; and In4Art Collection, Rotterdam © Pierre Antoine

The Ten Murders of Josephine : [Composition #4]

Date: 2018
Medium: Composition for an Opera / 8-Channel installation with Organbook and Keyframe, telephone printer; 3 Synchronized LED text displays. This version has been specifically adapted for a single space.

The Ten Murders of Josephine is a longstanding Opera project by Rana Hamadeh that is structured through several evolving iterations, consecutively challenging and replacing one another. These variations include a series of sound-based compositions, theatrical productions, writings and a film-in-the-making. The Opera’s protagonist, Josephine, loosely based on Kafka’s mouse songstress, is introduced as a structuring agent of the project. The current installation at Lafayette Anticipations is configured as a networked system of interplaying parts (organ, phone, fax machine, loudspeakers), allowing the Opera to emerge and disintegrate across a looping score. Interrupted by the live processing of the audience’s speech and fragmentations of the score made by a looping organ-book.

Inherited from the genre of legal spectacle, The Ten Murders of Josephine explores the constitutive conditions of 'validity' within legal discourse. One of the artist’s cues within the composition is the Gregson vs. Gilbert legal case of 1783 – the only surviving record of the massacre in which the captain of the Zong slave ship ordered the drowning of 133 African slaves in order to claim insurance over their deaths. This benchmark case not only points to the blood-chilling legal logic of the slavery system, but, further, continues to inform our understanding of ‘valid speech’ as the ethos of modern citizenship. Hamadeh’s opera questions the requirements to constitute oneself as a ‘testimonial subject’ not only outside the bounds of the court of law, but also in place of the legal subject.

Credits:

Technical Collaborators

Jorg Schellekens: Co-Sound Design and Light Design
Andre Castro & rad0van Misovic: System design
Andre Castro: Live Voice Processing

Performers

Gerrie de Vries: Solo Vocalist
Aerea Negrot: Chorus
Gerty van de Perre: Chorus
Rosa de Graaf: Commentary

Executive Team

Decap Company: Execution of Organbook Keyframe
Rik Fernhout: Consultant

Curatorial Team

Defne Ayas: Director Witte de With
Natasha Hoare: Curator
Hicham Khalidi: Curator exhibition Lafayette Anticipations
Maaike Gouwenburg: Creative Producer
Patrick C. Haas: Producer
Rosa de Graaf: Assistant Curator

The Ten Murders of Josephine is commissioned by Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam. Co-produced by A.P.E. (Art Projects Era) and Productiehuis Theater Rotterdam.
Production support by Lafayette Anticipations - Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, and In4Art Collection.

The Ten Murders of Josephine is supported by Mondriaan Fonds, AFAC, Fonds 21, Gemeente Rotterdam, and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

With special thanks to Omar Berrada, Danielle Gallegos, Tanja Elstgeest, Huub Krom / Oorbit Studio, Studio Santeboutique, Hicham Khalidi, Lafayette Anticipations - Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, François Quintin, Rik Fernhout, Team Witte de With, Sisters in Crime study group.
Rana Hamadeh, <i>The Ten Murders of Josephine</i>, 2018. Vue de l’installation, Lafayette Anticipations, 2018. Œuvre commandée et produite par Witte de With, Rotterdam ; Lafayette Anticipations ; Paris ; et In4Art Collection, Rotterdam.
Rana Hamadeh, The Ten Murders of Josephine, 2018. Installation view, Lafayette Anticipations, 2018. Commissionned and produced by Witte de With, Rotterdam ; Lafayette Anticipations ; Paris ; and In4Art Collection, Rotterdam © Pierre Antoine
Rana Hamadeh, <i>The Ten Murders of Josephine</i>, 2018. Installation view, Lafayette Anticipations, 2018. Commissionned and produced by Witte de With, Rotterdam ; Lafayette Anticipations ; Paris ; and In4Art Collection, Rotterdam.
Rana Hamadeh, The Ten Murders of Josephine, 2018. Installation view, Lafayette Anticipations, 2018. Commissionned and produced by Witte de With, Rotterdam ; Lafayette Anticipations ; Paris ; and In4Art Collection, Rotterdam. © Pierre Antoine