An encounter through a wall between an audience member and a refugee. Their arms touch without seeing each other. The artist marks the spectator by drawing on his/her arm. The audience listens to those who have had to face border discrimination. The marking can be kept or washed off.
Tania El Khoury commissioned musician and artist Basel Zaraa, born a Palestinian refugee in Syria, to record a rap song inspired by the journey his sisters made from Damascus to Sweden. Through touch and sound, this intimate encounter explores empathy and the need to literally “feel” a refugee in order to understand the effect of border discrimination on peoples’ lives.
Our fingertips facilitate touch and sensations, but they are also used by authorities to track us. The Dublin Regulation mandated a Europe-wide fingerprint database for all migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. In practice, this means that these people are often sent back to the place where their fingertips were first recorded, without any consideration for their needs, desires or plans.
- Duration: 15 minutes per person
- Solo performance by Tania El Khoury, performed by Basel Zaraa
- Song by Basel Zaraa (vocals, bass and keyboard) with Emily Churchill Zaraa (vocals), Pete Churchill (music production) and Katie Stevens (flute and clarinet)
- Commissioned by “On the Move” LIFT 2016 in partnership with Royal Court Theatre, London
Tania El Khoury is an artist whose work focuses on interactions with audiences and the ethical and political potential of such encounters. Tania’s work has been shown on every inhabited continent in a variety of spaces, from museums to cable cars. She is the recipient of the 2017 International Live Art Prize, the Total Theatre Innovation Award, and the 2011 Arches Brick Award. Tania is associated with Forest Fringe in the UK and is a co-founder of the Beirut-based Dictaphone Group, a research collective that creates performances which question our relationship with the city and redefine its public space. She holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Basel Zaraa is a spoken word artist and percussionist who writes about exile and resistance. He has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Akala, Guildhall youth project (Im)possibilities, Palestinian hip-hop group Katibeh Khamseh, Arabic fusion band Raast and funk band Shokunin. He is part of the cast of PsycheDELIGHT’s “Borderline” satire about the Calais camp, in which he performs original music and sound effects. He is also a graffiti artist.
Special thanks to Layth Sidiq for recording the soundtrack in Spanish
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