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Cultural Exchange Rate by Tania El Khoury

Tania El Khoury

Tania El Khoury, Cultural Exchange Rate. Photo by Ziad Abu-Rish

The cruellest of borders are invisible to the eye and present in everyday life. The death traps set within a moving body of water and the concealed militarisation of faraway border villages.

Cultural Exchange Rate is an interactive live art project in which artist Tania El Khoury shares her family memoirs of life in a border village between Lebanon and Syria. One marked by war survival, valueless currency collection, brief migration to Mexico, and a river that disregards the colonial and national borders.

The audience is invited to immerse their heads into one family’s secret boxes to explore the sounds, images, and textures of traces of more than a century of border crossings.

Cultural Exchange Rate is based on the artist’s recorded interviews with her late grandmother, oral histories collected in her village in Akkar, the discovery of lost relatives in Mexico City, and the family’s attempt to secure dual citizenship.

Tania El Khoury is alive 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 Bessies Outstanding Production Award, the International Live Art Prize, the Total Theatre Innovation Award, and the Arches Brick Award. Tania holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London. She recently acted as a guest festival curator at Bard College’s Fisher Center for Performing Arts. In 2018, a survey of her work entitled “ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury” took place in Philadelphia. Tania is associated with Forest Fringe collective of artists in the UK and is a co-founder of Dictaphone Group in Lebanon, a research and performance collective aiming at questioning our relationship to the city, and redefining its public space.

  • Production Design: Petra Abousleiman
  • Research: Ziad Abu-Rish, May Haider, Mariam Saada, and Alexander Mayagoitia
  • Sound Design: Fadi Tabbal
  • Graphic Design: Jana Traboulsi
  • Live Video Editing: Ali Beidoun
  • Cinematography: Luke Bryant and Tania El Khoury
  • Spanish Translation: Ziad Chakaroun
  • Archives: El Khoury Family Papers (Lebanon and Mexico); Archivo General de la Nación (México); SRE-Acervo Histórico Diplomático (México)

Produced by Bard Fisher Center, Spielart Festival, and Onassis Stegi.

Date and time

20–23 August 2021

Please note
This is now a past event.


Festival Mladi Levi