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Where we are not



Where We Are Not


Reading/ Performance by Lina Issa in collaboration with Aitana Cordero  


Lina writes:

"As a student from Lebanon I have been denied my residence permit for The Netherlands for strictly bureaucratic reasons. Since I appealed against this decision, I have not been able to leave The Netherlands and re-enter the country. The decision created a 'state of exception' that excludes me from my own home country, and places me outside the zone of 'contemporary mobility'.


Not being able to travel home myself, I cast a replacement and sent Aitana, a Spanish dancer and choreographer, to Lebanon for 10 days as my stand-in, messenger and recording device. She visited different people-- my family and friends-- and traced the places of my memory and what constitutes the idea of 'home' for me. She performed lots of tasks that I assigned her, which relate to my very intimate and personal way of relating and inhabiting a place or a contact.


Our project is framed by this state of exception in which I find myself as a migrant, and by the disparate narratives it produces.

Where We Are Not is a narrative of exchange between two women, bringing forth their differences. What we exchange are not only 'subjective' differences, but also the reality of inhabiting extremely different political spaces. 


18-04-'06 Aitana sms-ed me from Beirut:

"you did not tell me the difference between a Taxi and a Service... jaja. I enjoyed Cola. Now a second of calm in Hamra. What do u want to eat? Beso full of sounds"  

All I can do is wait. 'Actions' take place outside my body.

Just like the face of my mother, Aitana's face became vague the moment she waved goodbye at the airport. Persisting presence of a person that I can not conjure up with my visual memory. 

I sms-ed back:

"Oooo! It is funny I feel I miss 'you' and 'not home'. Don't panic. It is as if u are the active part of home. What about a sandwich at Chez Andre?" 



At the airport, I gave Aitana a black notebook: lined up words to make sentences, songs, textures, maps, geographies, and ways home.

... the only pressing feeling I had that day was the pain in my right arm and fingers. The pain induced by writing in that notebook for days; over and over coming to you on a page that aches with its own blankness. Each page finding a way to address the beginning that I want never to allow to end.


In the reading/performance Where We Are Not me and Aitana appear together to explore the possibility and the impossibility of putting oneself in place of the other, and of sharing memories and experiences. We engage in a re-enactment of our memories, inviting the audience member to bring activate their memory and steer our process".





Jeroen Fabius, Lina Issa and Aitana Cordero

Where we are not