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Across Syria, many gardens conceal the dead bodies of activists and protestors 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 of the regime.
Gardens Speak is an interactive sound installation that toured around the world. It contains 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 would have recounted it. This book contains the narrative text of those ten oral histories in both English and spoken Arabic. It includes an acknowledgement and introduction by the artist, and illustrations of the audience experience in Gardens Speak.
Books are also available on tour. For information about upcoming shows of Gardens Speaks, please visit taniaelkhoury.com
الكتب متوفرة أيضاً خلال جولة العرض. للمعلومات حول العروض القادمة لمشروع "الحدائق تحكي"، يرجى زيارة هذا الموقع: taniaelkhoury.com
Tania El Khoury is an artist working between London and Beirut. She creates interactive installations and challenging performances in which the audience is an active collaborator. Tania is currently working on a practice-based PhD at Royal Holloway College, University of London. Her research and publications focus on Live Art in the time of the uprisings. She is the co-founder of Dictaphone Group, a research and performance collective aiming at reclaiming public space in Lebanon.
“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
"Gardens Speak uncovers not fragments of bones but fragments of stories: the reconstructed oral histories of the men and women who are buried not in public cemeteries, but in the back gardens of ordinary Syrian homes. These people really do speak to us from beyond the grave."
– Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
Table of Contents
Excerpt from Performance Poster
Introduction: The Political Performance of Mourning
The Performance Illustrated: Act 1
The Story of Ayat al-Qassab
The Story of Basil Shehadeh
The Story of Abdul Wahid al-Dandashi
The Story of Mustafa Karmani
The Story of Bayan
The Story of Ahmad Bawwabi
The Story of Bilal al-Naimi
The Story of Abu Khalid
The Story of Jalal al-Lattuf
The Story of Hassan Hassan
The Performance Illustrated: Act 2 66 Letters from the Audience