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Sarin Gas Heartbreak: Theatre and Post-Truth Warfare in Syria

journal contribution
posted on 2023-01-24, 18:31 authored by Matt JonesMatt Jones

During the Arab Spring, protesters sought to circulate to the world images of atrocities being carried out by the regime of Bashar al-Assad. But their attempts to capture the “truth” of what was happening was often undermined by, among other things, the low-resolution of the camera phones they were using. This failure also reveals wider problems in the activist tactic of using images to expose power. Although a photograph may provide a document of reality, it is one that is shaped by the political positions of those who capture it. Protesters responded to this dilemma by creating “post-truth” images that are self-consciously ideological and seek less to expose the truth than to ridicule the regime. This spirit of post-truth politics similarly animates Rabih Mroué’s performance lecture The Pixelated Revolution and Guillermo Calderón’s metatheatrical play Kiss, both of which confront the problem of trying to follow the events of the Syrian Civil War from outside the country. Through a close reading of these plays, this essay shows how Mroué and Calderón present post-truth methods of performance that investigate the Syrian Civil War and confront the limits of what can be known about it.




Sean Metzger



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