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As Far As My Fingertips Take Me

Tania El Khoury and Basel Zaraa

A collaboration between live artist Tania El Khoury and musician and street artist Basel Zaraa.

Photo by Tania El Khoury

In this one-on-one performance, experience an intimate, moving encounter with a refugee.

As Far As My Fingertips Take Me is an encounter through a gallery wall between an audience member and a refugee. Their arms touch without seeing each other. The refugee will mark the audience by drawing on their arm. The audience will listen to those who have recently challenged border discrimination. The marking can be kept or washed away.

Tania El Khoury commissioned musician and street artist Basel Zaraa who was 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 whether we 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 are also used by authorities to track many of us. In today’s Europe, a refugee’s journey can be set as far as their fingertips take them. The Dublin Regulation mandated a fingerprinting database across Europe for all refugees and migrants. The regulation often means that a refugee is sent back to where their fingertips where first recorded, without any regard to their needs, desires, or plans.

“His tale doesn’t just touch me in a fleeting way – as the many stories and images reported in the newspapers do – it goes further. It marks me.”

The Guardian

One-on-one 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 a live artist creating installations and performances focused on audience interactivity and concerned with the ethical and political potential of such encounters. Her work has been translated and presented in multiple languages in 32 countries across six continents, in spaces ranging from museums to cable cars to the Mediterranean Sea. She is a 2019 Soros Art Fellow and the recipient of the 2017 International Live Art Prize, the 2011 Total Theatre Innovation Award and Arches Brick Award. Tania was a festival guest curator at Bard Fisher Center. She holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London. In 2018, a survey of her work entitled “ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury” took place in Philadelphia organised by Bryn Mawr College and Fringe Arts Festival funded by Pew Centre for Arts and Heritage. Tania is affiliated with Forest Fringe in the UK and is the co-founder of the urban research and performance collective Dictaphone Group in Lebanon.
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Basel Zaraa is a spoken word artist and percussionist who writes on themes of exile and resistance. He has collaborated with a wide range of international 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 DIY sound effects. He is also a visual and stencil graffiti artist. Basel has toured internationally in Tania El Khoury’s As Far As My Fingertips Take Me and has created with her a second piece entitled As Far As Isolation Goes.

Date and time

16–28 November 2021
Various times

Booking

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Venue

Micro Mondes Festival
Lyon
France

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