Best Of 2020

Best Reason to Let a Stranger Draw On You: As Far As My Fingertips Take Me

"As Far As My Fingertips Take Me"

The premise of Tania El Khoury’s As Far As My Fingertips Take Me — which took place at Camp Washington’s Wave Pool gallery as part of the Contemporary Arts Center’s This Time Tomorrow performing arts festival in April 2019 — is straightforward enough: you walk into a room, sit in a chair, slip on a pair of headphones and stick your arm through a hole in a gallery wall. On the other side is a Syrian refugee; though your arms touch, you don’t see one another. Relayed through spoken word, the story of artist and musician Basel Zaraa — a Palestinian refugee from Syria — plays as he uses your arm as a canvas. An interaction solely between artist and attendee, the experience is incredibly intimate. And one that stays with you, even as the ink fades from your skin. In reaching through a hole in the wall, the performance becomes a space where empathy becomes tangible. Those who were able to hear Zaraa’s story and carry it throughout the day on their forearm should count themselves lucky.