Tania El Khoury is a commissioned artist and guest cocurator at the Fisher Center, founding director of the OSUN Center for Human Rights and the Arts at Bard (CHRA), and a distinguished artist in residence at Bard’s Theater & Performance Program. Her live art engages the audience in close encounters with narratives drawn from the political realities of borders, displacement, and state violence.
Since 2017, El Khoury has cocurated two editions of the Fisher Center LAB Biennial, both featuring commissions of her own artistic work. In partnership with CHRA, we have received a grant from the Mellon Foundation to support three years of live art production and touring of her work, her scholarly and artistic research, and her curatorial work at the Fisher Center and CHRA.
Tania El Khoury creates interactive and immersive installations and performances that reflect on the production of collective memory and the cultivation of solidarity. Her work is activated by tactile, auditory and visual traces collected and curated by the artist and her collaborators, and they are ultimately transformed through audience interaction.
El Khoury’s work has been translated to multiple languages and shown in 33 countries across 6 continents in spaces ranging from museums to cable cars. She is the recipient of the Herb Alpert Award, the Soros Art Fellowship, the Bessies Outstanding Production Award, the International Live Art Prize, the Total Theatre Innovation Award, and the Arches Brick Award.
El Khoury is a Distinguished Artist in Residence at the Theater and Performance Program and Founding Director of the OSUN Center for Human Rights & the Arts at Bard College. She holds a PhD in Theater Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London. El Khoury is a co-founder of Dictaphone Group, a research and live art collective in Lebanon, and is associated with the Forest Fringe collective of artists in the UK.Learn More About Tania El Khoury Read the Press Release on Her Mellon Grant
Fisher Center Commissions
MEMORY OF BIRDS (2023)
Memory of Birds is an interactive sound installation in trees in collaboration with a trauma therapist and migrating birds. The work explores political violence that literally and figuratively gets buried in contested lands. A guided somatic experience, Memory of Birds is a work that eats itself, designed to be forgotten.
CULTURAL EXCHANGE RATE (2019)
The cruelest borders are invisible to the eye and present in everyday life: the death traps set within a moving body of water and the concealed militarization 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, marked by war, survival, valueless currency collections, brief migration to Mexico, and a river that disregards colonial and national borders.
Audience members are invited to immerse themselves in 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.
AS FAR AS ISOLATION GOES (Online) (2021)
As Far As Isolation Goes (Online) is a collaboration between live artist Tania El Khoury and musician and street artist Basel Zaraa. Reimagined for an online context during coronavirus lockdown, the piece is built from their original collaboration entitled As Far As My Fingertips Take Me in which El Khoury commissioned Zaraa to record a rap song inspired by the journey his sisters made from Damascus to Sweden.
In As Far As Isolation Goes, Zaraa and El Khoury worked together to create another iteration of their previous piece focused on mental and physical health experiences of refugees in the United Kingdom. Zaraa created a song inspired by conversations with friends and colleagues who have recently claimed refuge in the UK.
In this online, interactive, 1-on-1 performance As Far As Isolation Goes (Online) uses touch, sound, and interactivity to bring audience members in contact with those faced with inhumane detention centers and a mental health system that disregard their political and emotional contexts.