This 12-minute, one-on-one installation performance is an encounter through a gallery wall between an audience member and a refugee. Their arms and fingertips touch without them seeing each other. The refugee marks the audience member with the story of a family’s journey from Syria to Sweden as the audience member listens on headphones to those who have challenged border discrimination. When the performance ends, those stories can be kept or washed away.
As Far As My Fingertips Take Me is made in collaboration with musician and street artist Basel Zaraa, who is from Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees in Syria. Tania El Khoury commissioned Zaraa 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 us. The Dublin Regulation mandated a fingerprinting database across Europe for all refugees and migrants. The regulation means that a refugee is sent back to where their fingertips where first recorded, without any regard to their needs, desires, or plans. In today’s world, a refugee’s journey can continue as far as their fingertips take them.
A part of the 2018 Fringe Festival. Presented with MET Philadelphia.