“The videos produced as part of the Stories of Refuge project are not only a recording of the participants’ oral histories, but also a representation of their own lives through their own lenses. Hiding their identity, the participants chose to represent their lives through their voices, their choice of material to shoot in their intimate spaces, and numerous intentional omissions.” Tania El Khoury
“We want freedom. We want nothing but freedom.” Participant in Stories of Refuge project
Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in 2011, refugees have been fleeing the brutality of the Assad regime and searching for new destinations, Munich being one of them. Many asylum seekers arrive by land, crossing unofficial borders, through successive European countries.
Tania El Khoury and Petra Serhal from Beirut-based Dictaphone Group collaborated with a group of Syrian refugees who had recently arrived in Munich. They provided each person with a discreet camera for a day, the only instructions being to film their lives in Munich and their favourite spots in the city. Interviews with the refugees work as a soundscape over the footage they created. Audiences engage with the films from metal bunk beds, outfitted with mattresses and pillows.
Presented in partnership with Bryn Mawr College as part of ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury.
Gallery Hours 11am–5pm
Video Installation by Dictaphone Group (2013) Concept and Video Editing Tania El Khoury Devised with Petra Serhal Videos filmed by anonymous asylum seekers Commissioned by Spielart Festival
Photos Tania El Khoury
Stories of Refuge is part of ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury. Major support for ear-whispered: works by Tania El Khoury has been provided to Bryn Mawr College by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
About Tania El Khoury
Tania El Khoury is a live artist whose work focuses on audience interactivity and is concerned with the ethical and political potential of such encounters. She creates installations and performances in which the audience is an active collaborator. Her solo work has toured internationally and has been recognized with Anti Festival’s International Prize for Live Art, the Total Theatre Innovation Award, and the Arches Brick Award.
Tania holds a PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research and publications focus on the political dimension of interactive live art in the wake of the Arab uprisings.
Tania is associated with Forest Fringe collective of artists in the UK and is a co-founder of Dictaphone Group in Lebanon, a research and performance collective aiming at questioning our relationship to the city, and redefining its public space.
Learn more about the artist at taniaelkhoury.com.
Stories of Refuge: Oral Histories of Syrian Asylum Seekers in Germany by Tania El Khoury, Jadaliyya
Excerpt: Although I had suggested a few “beauty shots” to the participants, none of them showed interest in such suggestions. They all ended up producing videos that look like the thousands of YouTube videos that came out of Syria since the start of the uprising—often filmed by ordinary people using phone cameras.