Tania El Khoury (LB): The Search for Power

Friday 28.9. – Saturday 29.9.
Railway workshop | Pohjolankatu Street 1

Installation performance by Tania El Khoury
In collaboration with Ziad Abu-Rish

On a night with a sudden electricity outage in their Beirut neighbourhood, the artist and her historian husband discussed the history of power cuts in Lebanon. Born during the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), the artist had grown up with the understanding that the problem with electricity in Lebanon began during the war. The historian, however, recalled finding a government document dated 1952 that announced scheduled electricity outages across the city of Beirut.The two decided to research the history of power outages in Lebanon, delving into intersection between public utilities infrastructure, people’s relationship to the state, and the various popular mobilizations to shape both.

In time, they reach as far back as the introduction of electricity in Beirut before it was even possible to imagine a Lebanese state. In space, they collect documents across the country and beyond its borders, visiting the archives of colonial powers: Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

What they find is a transnational story that locates electricity at the intersection of colonial legacies, the machinations of political and economic elites, and everyday acts of resistance, survival, and sabotage.

The Search for Power is an installation performance featuring the artist, the historian, and the audience.

Tania El Khoury, the 2017 winner of ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art returns to Kuopio with her new commissioned work, The Search for Power and a touring hit As Far As My Fingertips Take Me!

Tania El Khoury (LB): The Search for Power

Installation performance by Tania El Khoury

In collaboration with Ziad Abu-Rish

Co-commissioned by ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, Finland & Shubbak Festival, UK

Supported by Saastamoinen Foundation, Arts Council England & brut Wien

Tania El Khoury (LB): The Search for Power

Tania El Khoury (LB)

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 for which she is the recipient of the International Prize for Live Art, the Total Theatre Innovation Award, and the Arches Brick Award. Tania is the co-founder of Dictaphone Group, a research and performance collective in Beirut often creating site-specific performances that question our relationship to the city and redefine its public space. She holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London, where she was funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council.

www.taniaelkhoury.com

Ziad Abu-Rish (LB)

Ziad Abu-Rish is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Ohio University. He specializes in the modern Middle East and North Africa, and his research interests focus on the political economy of state building. Abu-Rish is the author of “Garbage Politics in Lebanon” (Middle East Report, 2016) as well as “Protest, Regime Stability, and State Formation in Jordan” (Beyond the Arab Spring: The Evolving Ruling Bargain, 2014). He is also co-editor of The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of An Old Order? (Pluto Press, 2012). Abu-Rish serves on the editorial teams of both the Arab Studies Journal and Jadaliyya e-zine. He holds a Phd in History from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and an MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University.