The Whole Darned Thing with Deborah Pearson

Nowhere Boy (2009) as told by Tania El Khoury

March 13, 2016

Artist Tania El Khoury takes Deborah Pearson through the plot of a film which charts a very handsome young John Lennon's early life, Nowhere Boy (2009).  The film is based on a memoir written by his half sister, Julia Baird, but according to Tania's description, you'd never know it.  Tania saw the film on the plane, isn't a fan of the Beatles, twice refers to Paul McCartney as Paul McCarthy and I don't correct her.  Best just to be honest about that. But in many ways, that is the charm of this particular episode of The Whole Darned Thing.  We all know how a story about John Lennon might end - what we don't know is how Tania El Khoury remembers or doesn't remember it, and why that is.  

Tania El Khoury is an internationally acclaimed artist who works primarily with performance, requiring the audience to be an active collaborator.  Her work sits on the edge of art and activism - its politics and ethics are integral to the work she makes, while never shying away from the personal, the beautiful and the difficult.  Her performance installation Gardens Speak uses the testimony of friends and family of ten people who died in the early days of the Syrian Revolution and buried in gardens, to reconstruct their stories as they themselves might have told them.  Gardens Speak has toured all over the world, and is currently installed at the Battersea Arts Centre until March 19th, 2015.  If you have the opportunity to go see it, you must.  Ironically, given Tania's fragmented recollection of Nowhere Boy, she makes work that stays with you, continuing to grow and complicate itself in your memory.   A book version of Gardens Speak was also published by Tadween Publishing this year.

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