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Gardens Speak

Tania El Khoury

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‘… even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins’

– Walter Benjamin

Across Syria, many gardens conceal the dead bodies of activists and protect those who are living from the violent thrusts of the regime. 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 state and the living protect the dead by conserving and nurturing their identities and their stories in the ground – by not allowing their deaths to become instruments to the regime through potential disappearance, anonymity and forgotten history.

Gardens Speak is an interactive sound installation containing the oral histories of 10 ordinary people who have been 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. They are compiled with found audio that evidences their final moments.

“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

Date: 1 - 4, 7 - 11 May

Location: Arts House - Meat Market, 5 Blackwood Street North Melbourne VIC 3051

Time: 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 4.30pm, 5.30pm, 6.30pm

Duration: 30mins

Accessibility: Wheelchair Accessible

Ticket Prices: $10

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Tania El Khoury

Tania El Khoury: Artist
Jess Harrington: Producer

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