Lebanese live artist Tania El Khoury recites the universal, never-ending story of migration, through a family diary of the borders.
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 has been working on the project Cultural Exchange Rate for the last decade. The starting point of this venture was the soul-stirring effort of her father to financially support her when she fled for England. For this purpose, he has granted her his collection of Lebanese liras.
Production Design: Petra Abusleiman
Research: Ziad Abu-Rish, May Haider, Mariam Saada, Alexander Mayagoitia
Sound Design: Fadi Tabbal
Graphic Design: Jana Traboulsi
Live Video Editing & Motion Graphics: 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 (New York), Spielart Festival (Munich) and Onassis Stegi (Athens)