Nothing to Declare is a research-based lecture performance that explores 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.

We aim to tour this project throughout the Arab world. In each Arab country, the performance will be expanded through site-specific oral history about people’s mobility in that particular country and about our journey crossing the borders to get there.

The performance is in Arabic.

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

Production Grant: AFAC

Special thanks: Ashkal Alwan