Read Subtitles Aloud

November 12–23, 2020
Meet the Artists

Onur Hamilton Karaoglu works between performance art and theater. Since 2010, his original and adapted writing and directing pieces were presented at spaces like garajistanbul, bomontiada Alt, Roxy, Heidelberg Theater and Rotterdam Schouwburg. His installations and video works were presented at Bahar (Sharjah Biennial 2017), SPOT, Operation Room and Artnivo. He lives in Istanbul.

Kathryn Hamilton, otherwise known as Sister Sylvester, is an artist and self-taught microbiologist, based in Queens. She is a 2019 Macdowell Fellow. Recent work includes The Eagle and The Tortoise at National Sawdust; ARK, at 601 Artspace, MUTEK festival and MoCA Toronto; Three Rooms at Shubbak Festival, Arcola Theater, Bozar Center for Fine Arts, Brussels, and Frascati, Amsterdam.

Christine Jones is a Tony Award-winning scenographer and the Artistic Director of the critically-acclaimed Theatre for One in New York. Her West End scenography credits include Close to You, Let The Right One In and Spring Awakening. On Broadway her credits include American Idiot, for which she won the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical in 2009, Old Times, Hands on a Hardbody, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Every Day Rapture, Spring Awakening, for which she was Tony nominated, and The Green Bird directed by Julie Taymor. Jones made her debut at The Metropolitan Opera in 2012 with her designs for Rigoletto. Some of her other designs include The Book of Longing, based on the poems of Leonard Cohen, with music by Philip Glass for the Lincoln Center Festival, Much Ado About Nothing for Shakespeare in the Park, and Burn This for Signature Theatre. She directed Queen of the Night, at the Paramount Hotel, which won a Drama Desk Award for Best Unique Experience of 2015, and has an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Set Design.

Let’s say you’re X. You have all of X’s talent and egotism, defensiveness and vulnerability. At least, the subtitles on your screen dictate that you do. You used to be the resident writer for a theater company. You moved to Hollywood, created a problematic TV series, and cultivated your Instagram activism. Sorry, you don’t like being called an Instagram activist.

The pandemic hit.

Your collaborators Onur, Kathryn, Meera, and Fatih want you back—maybe grudgingly. They can’t realize their project, giving voice to the behavioral peculiarities of this moment—where more than ever before, our digitized selves lead scintillating social lives and our physical selves sit and stare, red-eyed and envious—without your evocative words, your acute observations.

And they’re going to use one of your ideas, whether you participate or not.

MAX presents the English-language premiere of Onur Karaoglu and Kathryn Hamilton’s episodic hybrid video/performance work, Read Subtitles Aloud, a performance whose only live component is the viewer. Reading subtitles on the screen, the viewer enters as character X into a crumbling theater collective, becoming the main character in a story—of camaraderie, sex, betrayal, and the digital theater of life in a pandemic—that’s unfolding across 13 episodes. Pairing soap opera-ish relational roller coasters with the flattened, dulled realism of Zoom sociality, Read Subtitles Aloud speaks with humor and immediacy to a moment when our physical selves have leapt further into virtual modes of connection than ever before, when it’s hard to distinguish connection from isolation.


Onur Karaoglu

Art Director

Christine Jones


Kathryn Hamilton Onur Karaoglu Kay Matschullat Sister Sylvester Deniz Tortum


Onur Karaoglu Kathryn Hamilton Meera Kumbhani Fatih Genckal Paul Lazar

Set and Costume Curation

Zoë Hurwitz

Lighting Designer

Bill Berner


Emily Reilly

Co-Produced with

Media Art Xploration