Simple as ABC #7:


2023 / ROBIN (Brussels)

At the time of the Qin Dynasty and the first Chinese empire, fingerprints were used to identify burglars, as well as to sign and seal documents. 2,000 Years later, Europeans would turn fingerprinting into a technology of mass control. After quashing the 1857 Indian War of Independence, British colonial officials in India started experimenting with fingerprints as a swift and simple way to tighten their administrative grip. In 2015, the European Commission published a staff working document evoking the use of detention and coercion to obtain the fingerprints of people who apply for asylum or cross EU borders without official permission and who refuse to be fingerprinted. The document’s authors refer to people obliged to give their fingerprints as ‘data-subjects’, carriers of fixed identities that can be read, stored and verified.


Starting from a handshake at the time of their first meeting in Greece in 2018, Belgian theatre maker Thomas Bellinck and Afghan journalist Said Reza Adib are creating a theatre play for 2 performers. From the ridges of their fingertips they will zoom out to a world where those tiny lines unlock laptops and smartphones and are instrumentalised by governments the world over to decide who has the right to cross what borders.

COSTUME Rachid Laachir

DIRECTING Thomas Bellinck

DRAMATURGY Said Reza Adib, Esther Severi

PERFORMANCE Musia Mwankumi, Jeroen Van der Ven

SCENOGRAPHY Mirjam Pleines

TEXT Said Reza Adib, Thomas Bellinck



COPRODUCTION Theater Antigone, Arsenaal/Lazarus, Münchner Kammerspiele

WITH THE SUPPORT OF The Flemish Government, KASK / School of Arts Gent