Rubber Coated Steel

- LEBANON, GERMANY / 2017 / English / Color / Blu-ray / 22 min

Director, Script, Photography, Editing, Sound Design: Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Producer: Fabian Schoeneich (Portikus)
Production Company: Portikus
Source: Lawrence Abu Hamdan

On May 15, 2014, two Palestinian youth—Nadim Nuwara and Muhammad Abu Thahr—were shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. A report on this incident titled, “Nakba Day Killings,” was compiled by Forensic Architecture, a research team of which the director is a part. The film is based on this report. We are shown a scrupulous record of the courtroom proceedings that includes testimony from those who were on the scene when the shots were fired, the back-and-forth between judges and lawyers, and audio analysis of the gunshots. What appears is “the court of silence.”

[Director’s Statement] May 2014: two unarmed Palestinian teens are killed by Israeli soldiers on the West Bank. I made an audio analysis to ascertain whether rubber or live bullets were used. The film centers on the gunfire, yet no shots are heard. Rubber Coated Steel does not preside over the voices of the victims but seeks to amplify their silence, questioning the ways in which rights are being heard today.

- Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Artist, “private ear,” and fellow at the New School’s Vera List Center for Art and Politics. His work includes audiovisual installations, performances, graphic works, photography, Islamic sermons, cassette tape compositions, potato chip packets, essays, and lectures. His interest in sound and its intersection with politics originates from his DIY music background. He has made sonic analyses for the UK Immigration and Asylum Tribunal’s legal investigations and participated in advocacy for Amnesty International and Defence for Children International. His forensic audio investigations were part of his forensic architecture PhD research at Goldsmiths, University of London. Solo exhibitions include Earshot (2016, Portikus, Nam June Paik Award); Taqiyya: The Right to Duplicity (2015, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen); Tape Echo (2013, Beirut in Cairo, Van Abbemuseum); The Freedom of Speech Itself (2012, The Showroom) and The Whole Truth (2012 Casco). He has exhibited and performed at the Shanghai Biennial, Whitechapel Gallery, MACBA, Tate Modern, MoMA, Centre Pompidou, Beirut Art Center, and Taipei Biennial. His writing can be found in Forensis, Manifesta Journal and Cabinet Magazine. His works are part of collections at MoMA; Van Abbemuseum; Centre Pompidou; and Arts Council England.