Gardens Speak

 

“even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins.”
–Walter Benjamin

Across Syria, many gardens conceal the dead bodies of activists and protesters who adorned the streets during the early periods of the uprising. These domestic burials play out a continuing collaboration between the living and the dead. The dead protect the living by not exposing them to further danger at the hands of the regime. The living protect the dead by conserving their identities, telling their stories, and not allowing their deaths to become instruments to the regime.

Gardens Speak is an interactive sound installation containing the oral histories of ten ordinary people who were buried in Syrian gardens. Each narrative has been carefully constructed with the friends and family members of the deceased to retell their stories as they themselves may have recounted it. They are compiled with found audio that evidences their final moments.

 

Reviews

Art is supposed to be universal – and there is no more universal thing than fear of death. Or grief. In Gardens Speak, out of the most specific experience, Tania El Khoury crafts something massive.Paul Mason, Channel 4

This piece will change the way you think” ★★★★ What’s on Stage

Eerily absorbing” ★★★★ Evening Standard

A stark, moving theater piece by Tania El Khoury, brings us into painful intimacy with the human cost of the war.” The New York Times

 

Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

Paul Mason, Channel 4 News Blog

Jo Litson, Limelight Magazine

Louise Nunn, Adelaide Now

Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

Matt Trueman, Personal Website

Melbourne Arts Club 

New Internationalist, Canada

The Age Newspaper, Australia

 


Awards

Shortlisted for the Artraker Award 2014

Artsadmin Artist Bursary Scheme, London, 2013

 

Upcoming Shows

Trento: Centrale Fies, 25-29 July 2017

 

Previous Shows

Brussels: Moussem, 3-10 February 2017

Oslo: Kulturkirken Jacob, 23 Feb-6 March 2017

Adelaide: Adelaide Festival, 4-18 March 2017

Douai:TANDEM Scène Nationale, 13-18 March 2017

New York: Under The Radar, 6-9 January 2017

Ljubljana: City Of Women, 12-15 October 2016

Marseille: Festival de Marseille, 30 June-16 July 2016

Fribourg: Belluard Festival, 23-26 June 2016

Amsterdam: Holland Festival, 16-19 June 2016

Athens: Fast Forward Festival, 25-30 May 2016

Beirut: Spring Festival, 3-8 May 2016

Cairo: D-Caf Festival, 15-18 April 2016

Washington DC: Building Museum, 7-13 April 2016

London: Battersea Arts Centre, 2-19 March 2016

Lancaster: Festival of Questions, Lancaster Arts, February 2016

Munich: Spielart Festival, October 2015

Bucharest: BEAR Festival, October 2015

Edinburgh: Forest Fringe, August 2015

Birmingham: Fierce Festival, October 2014

Melbourne: Next Wave Festival, May 2014

London: Artsadmin, March 2014

Credits

Production Manager: Jessica Harrington

Research Assistant and Writer (Arabic): Keenana Issa

Calligraphy and Tombstones Design: Dia Batal

Set Design: Abir Saksouk

Sound Recording & Editing: Khairy Eibesh (Stronghold Sound)

Set Construction (in London): SPLEX Flexible Designs & Presentation

Co-commissioned by Fierce Festival, Next Wave Festival, and Live at LICA. Developed through the Artsadmin Artists’ Bursary Scheme. Supported by Arts Council of England and British Council.

 

 

For touring, please email naya@taniaelkhoury.com