House of Kal

14 September–12 November 2023

Event Series

nGbK, Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 11/13, 10178 Berlin


Spaceship Beben, Women* in Exile, The Many Headed Hydra, Zahabia Khozema, Vicky Shahjehan


Alizeh Ayesha, Anandita Bajpai, Archive Books, Ayesha Chaudhry

Project group

Aziza Ahmad, Promona Sengupta & The Many Headed Hydra (Aziz Sohail, Suza Husse, Emma Wolf-Haugh)

The House of Kal transforms nGbK’s new space into a polyphonic community architecture that is continuously activated by radio broadcasts, music, films, performances, and workshops. At its center, a makeshift kiosk invites visitors to meet, chat, and rest. The kiosk serves drinks, snacks, and publications and holds offerings to the House by different members of the kal community, such as readings, sound, and personal archives. Around it, five artistic and activist positions unfold queer and post-/migrant practices of collectivity, resistance, and imperfect solidarity.

The exhibition space functions as a খুঁটি (khum̐ṭi; commonly khNuti), a device commonly used in the Bengal delta to tie down boats and cattle. Figuratively, খুঁটি also refers to an anchor for hopes, wishes, and dreams. Around it, post-/migrant alliances emerge between South Asia and Europe, opening up spaces of anti-fascist and anti-racist possibility across different bodies of water – from the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea to the North Atlantic and the Spree River.

Vicky Shahjehan gathers stories of women and queer people from the Slave Island/Kompanna Veediya neighborhood in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and members of queer, migrant, and refugee communities in Berlin. Rituals and storytelling inspire a mural that tells marginalized female and queer histories in a social and ecological space threatened by racialized and patriarchal oppression in the shape of neoliberal urban development, militarization, displacement, and poverty.

In Finnafjörður, Iceland, the German state-owned company Bremenports, together with the Icelandic government, is planning to build a deep-sea port that is projected to become profitable as a major shipping hub for Arctic extraction and geopolitical dominance due to ice-melt spurred by global warming. Based on this and another new port construction in Gwadar, Pakistan, the installation Harbour Failures by the collective The Many Headed Hydra connects extractive economies, Indigenous ecosystems, and anti-colonial mythologies.

The activist group Women in Exile campaigns for the rights of refugee women in Germany. Together with the House of Kal team, they are documenting three manifestations of their anti-racist and anti-fascist work. In 2014, the Refugee Women Tour on Rafts traveled for seven weeks on self-built rafts across various German rivers, connecting with women in refugee and deportation centers. In 2018, Women* in Exile, together with others, supported a demonstration against the right-wing AfD party in Berlin from a raft on the Spree River. And in 2022, they baptized a new ship of the sea rescue organization Sea Watch, which is active in the Mediterranean Sea.

Using the example of a working-class neighborhood in her hometown of Karachi, Pakistani artist Zahabia Khozema explores the collapse of urban infrastructure from a queer-feminist perspective. Personal experiences of the artist and her friends from the Gujjar Nullah neighborhood, which is threatened by austerity, hetero-patriarchal state violence, demolition, and flooding, illustrate the effects of the housing crisis on working class communities.

During the exhibition period, a joint radio program by Radio Kal and Radio We Are Born Free + Onelove Radio with Spaceship Beben will be broadcast every Friday and Sunday. Radio Kal is a fleeting sonic space, for artistic experimentation and gathering community across space and time. Radio We Are Born Free + Onelove Radio are independent radio formats created through the German refugee resistance movement. Spaceship Beben is a FLINTAQ+ led deeep space exploration vehicle producing supersonic ship dispatches for the universe. Their collaborative program addresses the alienating experience of migration and the right to movement, using sound to fugitively move through border regimes.

Building the House of Kal

House of Kal at nGbK is part of the transoceanic platform, a language where yesterday and tomorrow are the same word. Kal, a nomadic place for listening, music and movement, for practicing vocabularies at the crossings of art, anticolonial feminisms and eco-politics that articulate radically different ways of being alive together in entangled futures, pasts and presents. a language where yesterday and tomorrow are the same word. kal was initiated in 2020 by a group of Berlin, Colombo, and Karachi based artists, writers, curators, and activists together with Aziz Sohail and The Many Headed Hydra. The name of the platform is inspired by a line from Fatimah Asghar’s poem ”Kal” and extends the invocation of this word that means both yesterday and tomorrow, shifting its meaning based on who speaks, from where and when.

The collective propositions presented at nGbK have emerged from the community-based practices fostered in the previous iterations of a language where yesterday and tomorrow are the same word. Kal from 2020 to 2022, when the platform took place as queer houses for art and community making in Karachi, Colombo, and Berlin, as well as online-based DIY radio programs, workshops, and collective publications, performance, music and video productions.

Financed by

Supported by