Nothing to Declare

Nothing to Declare is a research-based lecture performance and video installation exploring borders within Lebanon, those between Lebanon and its neighbors, and across the Arab world.

An old map of the Arab world shows border-crossing train tracks spanning the region. The old Hijaz Railway, which connected Damascus to Medina, once transported Muslim pilgrims through what is today Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia without the need for visas. Today, the non-operational Lebanese Railway appears as a rupture.

We decided to take a journey along the abandoned train tracks of Lebanon. Our starting point was a derelict station in Beirut, and continued as each one of us set off on a different trip following one of the three train tracks. Our travels revealed past and present uses of these tracks and the stations that dotted them. Some were abandoned. Others were turned into makeshift housing. Some had the markings of being converted into military bases and torture chambers.

Lecture Performance/ Video Installation
Researched, Written, and Performed by Tania El Khoury, Petra Serhal, Abir Saksouk
Video Editing: Ali Beidoun
Camera: Karam Ghoussein, Dahna Abourahme
Music Composition: Ahmad Khouja, Khairy Eibesh

Booklet and map: in collaboration with Public Works Studio

Video Installation: Sound in collaboration with Ahmad Khouja and Khairy Eibesh

Developed in part at the Watermill Center (a laboratory for performance) in collaboration with ArtEast, New York.

Production Grant AFAC (lecture performance), British Council (video and publication)

Presented at: George Mason University, Virginia; Fusefox Festival, Austin; Tanzquartier Wien; Forest Fringe, Edinburgh; Ashkal Alwan, Beirut; Saatchi Gallery, London; Mucem, Marseille; Kohl, Station Beirut; Kennedy Museum, Athens Ohio.

Reviews: Jadaliyya, Daily Star, Al Modon, Your Middle East, Al-Akhbar, NOW.
On Our Blog: on the creative process

The research booklet for Nothing to Declare is available in a PDF version. It can be downloaded here.(Arabic version here)