Simple as ABC #7:


Said Reza Adib & Thomas Bellinck
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 readable information.


Starting from their shared research into border regimes, theatre maker Thomas Bellinck and journalist Said Reza Adib are writing a text play for performers Musia Mwankumi and Jeroen Van der Ven. From the tiny ridges of their very own fingertips they will zoom. To a world where skin patterns unlock laptops. And where fingers are commandeered by governments as measuring instruments - to decide who has the right to enter which territory.

24/05/2023 ARSENAAL/LAZARUS / Mechelen

25/05/2023 ARSENAAL/LAZARUS / Mechelen

26/05/2023 ARSENAAL/LAZARUS / Mechelen

03/06/2023 Kaaitheater / Brussels

04/06/2023 Kaaitheater / Brussels

24/06/2023 Theater Antigone / Kortrijk

CONCEPT & TEXT Said Reza Adib, Thomas Bellinck

COSTUME Rachid Laachir

DIRECTING Thomas Bellinck

DRAMATURGY Said Reza Adib, Esther Severi

PERFORMANCE Musia Mwankumi, Jeroen Van der Ven

SCENOGRAPHY Mirjam Pleines



COPRODUCTION Theater Antigone, ARSENAAL/LAZARUS, Münchner Kammerspiele

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