On Sunday, 17 September 2017, Philadelphia's public joined Syrian artist Issam Kourbaj in launching 2,379 miniature tin-foil boats whose number commemorates the days passed since the start of the Syrian civil war. The boats resembled the crowds that filled the streets of Dara'a to protest the torture of students at the beginning of Syria's Arab Spring and consequent civil war, or the 5 million Syrians registered as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees since then. Most tragically, the boats commemorate refugees that have crossed the Mediterranean Sea on fatal rubber dinghies. Kourbaj has staged such serial performances across the world using time, water, fire, and the accumulation of...

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