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As Far As My Fingertips Take Me, 2023

One-to-one performance by Basel Zaraa


Commissioned by LIFT in partnership with Royal Court Theatre NY Dance and Performance Award, Outstanding Production, The Bessies, 2019

As Far As My Fingertips Take Me is an encounter through a gallery wall between an audience member and a refugee. Their arms touch without seeing each other. The refugee will imprint on the audience member by drawing on their arm. The audience member will hear from those who have recently challenged border discrimination.


The marking can be kept or washed away. Tania El Khoury commissioned musician and street artist Basel Zaraa, a Palestinian refugee born in Syria to record a rap song inspired by the journey his sisters made from Damascus to Sweden. Through touch and sound, this intimate encounter explores empathy and whether we need to literally “feel” a refugee in order to understand the effect of border discrimination on peoples’ lives.


Our fingertips facilitate touch and sensations, but are also used by authorities to track many of us. In today’s Europe, a refugee’s journey can be set as far as their fingertips take them. The Dublin Regulation mandated a fingerprinting database across Europe for all refugees and migrants. The regulation often means that a refugee is sent back to where their fingertips were first recorded, without any regard to their needs, desires, or plans.

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