Cultural Exchange Rate (2019)

Tania El Khoury, Cultural Exchange Rate, 2019. Performance view: Where No Wall Remains, Bard, New York, 2019. Commissioned by Fisher Center Bard, New York, Spielart Munich, Onassis Stegi, Athens. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo: Maria Baranova


Tania El Khoury is a live performance artist whose works engage the audience in close encounters with narratives drawn from the political realities of migration, displacement and state violence. Born during the Lebanese Civil War, El Khoury creates installations and performances that reflect on the production of collective memory and the cultivation of solidarity. Her performances are activated by tactile, auditory and visual traces collected and curated by the artist and her collaborators. They are ultimately transformed through audience interaction.

Exploring the ethics and politics of collaboration, El Khoury’s works for Sharjah Biennial 15 invite visitors to form connections with multisensory narratives that tell the stories of more than a century of border crossings. Based on oral histories collected from the artist’s family members, Cultural Exchange Rate encourages the audience to immerse themselves in the sounds, images and textures of life in the village of Akkar, a border region between Lebanon and Syria. They become participants in the unfolding story which is marked by the survival of war, the collection of valueless currency, a brief migration to Mexico City and a river that disregards colonial and national borders.

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