Works: Yasmina Reggad

Yasmina Reggad. Collage from the Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room documents, Special Collection.

The Theatre of Operations

Ammar is infiltrated by Yasmina Reggad inside a multiple day public event. A committed secret informant to Reggad’s instructions, Ammar attends all the activities organised during the gathering, in the same way as the general audience. Ammar looks like others. He watches, listens, takes notes, claps, eats, drinks, dances and he regularly joins smokers outside the venue. Like so many others. Sometimes he yawns, gets bored, or even falls asleep. But Ammar is conducting an undercover investigation. Every day, Ammar’s presence echoes the common argument of supporters of mass surveillance: “if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear”, while conversely, he recalls everyday mistrust of past and present militant movements. Ammar becomes both the director and the actor of Yasmina Reggad’s theatre of operations. The undercover agent in the performance muddies the waters by becoming in turn playwright, performer, witness, agitator and producer of information.

Drawing on processes of collecting information and the writing of reports stored in the archives of the secret intelligence services, the police or the army (too often inaccessible), every evening and in an aside, Ammar reports daily at the microphone of Yasmina Reggad, a double agent. These recordings provide an alternative form of documentation to that produced live by the general audience which will circulate on social media (sources and territory of surveillance par excellence). The content feeds into The Theatre of Operations. Ammar, Interrogated and is broadcast live at the end of each clandestine day on the airwaves of a local radio. 


Creation, script, research and direction: Yasmina Reggad Performers: Ammar & Yasmina Reggad Production: Hiros & La Cantine Syrienne de Montreuil