Thirty showings of 'Gardens Speak' across five continents produced an archive of audience letters written during the performance. These handwritten letters were first conceptualized as a message of solidarity that would be sent back to the families and friends of the deceased. A few years later, the pile of letters kept growing. With it, came the realization that the contents of letters are overwhelmingly complex, messy, and intimate. 'Tell Me What I Can Do' is an installation that features this accumulated material. Some were lost on the way, confiscated by the police.
I took your advice about exchanging the Lebanese liras that you gave me for British pounds. I didn’t have to trick people and pretend it was a simple souvenir swap. I turned your idea into a live art piece entitled 'Cultural Exchange Rate'. I am sending you the pounds as a payment for this idea. You can think of it as your first artwork. The attached signatures are from the people who now own your Lebanese liras. I hope we can collaborate again.
The gardens that inspired 'Gardens Speak' play out a continuing collaboration between the living and the dead. The dead protected the living by not exposing them to further danger at the hands of the regime. The living protected the dead by concealing their identities and their stories; not allowing their deaths to become instrumentalized by the regime in its attempts to alter reality and shape the discourse about why and how they died.
In 'As Far As My Fingertips Take Me', we wanted to open up the conversation on the fact that what Europe calls a “refugee crisis” is first and foremost a crisis for the refugees themselves, one that was not merely born out of the Arab uprisings. In the case of Palestinians, for example, for more than 70 years several generations have been born as refugees, living in waiting.