Homecoming — Greatest Hits!

Format: Vinyl EP, Publication, Films, Online archive, Live event
Dates:  Jul — Dec 2022
Venue: Online at ballhausost.de, plus analogue and live formats (tba)
Language: Damiá, English

Artistic direction, text, design: Chris Gylee & Aslan
Jennifer Bell, Mars Dietz, Amber Fasquelle, Elie Gregory, Inky Lee, MINQ
Elliott Cennetoglu, Ethan Folk & Wro Wrzesińska, Óscar Gonzalez
Text: Mmakgosi Kgabi
Poems: Kit Gee
Website archive introduction: Mmakgosi Kgabi, Inky Lee
Óscar González
Monika Janulevičiūtė
Documentation film:
Ethan Folk
Production management:
ehrliche arbeit — freies Kulturbüro
Digital mastering: Ro Stambuk

Supported by: the Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner fo Culture and Media within the framework of NEUSTART KULTUR

In Homecoming — Greatest Hits! ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS will work in collaboration with Ballhaus Ost and 13 Queer artists who specialise in music, film, image, and text to create a constellation of artworks in response to the Queer language Damiá and the political and artistic questions it raises. We will explore in-person, digital, and hybrid methodologies to create an EP of original songs in Damiá, a book-work, photographic imagery, and three short filmworks that will be shared at a live listening-and-performance event and via a website archive that will be accessible to audiences, free of charge, from autumn 2022.

This project will enable us to explore alternatives to the on-stage premiere and in-person ensemble work, and is the next chapter in our long-term exploration of Queer identity through Damiá — a Queer language created by Aslan since they were 13 years old. Damiá has a grammar, dictionary, and a small but growing number of learners and has only ever been spoken by Queer people. It is therefore an artistic and philosophical tool to engage with questions of Queer identity, Queer belonging, and Queer separatism. It is a sci-fi lens between fact and fiction and an experimental act of worldmaking that asks: Who are we? Who could we be? We are inspired by Ursula K Le Guin’s groundbreaking work of science-fiction worldmaking Always Coming Home (1985), an archaeology of a potential future, a historiography of a troubled utopia, and the search for a brand new ‘home’.

The above images include photography of the Milky Way taken by Stéphane Guisard (September 18, 2009), available on the European Southern Observatory (ESO) website. 

Homecoming — Greatest Hits! is a ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS production in cooperation with Ballhaus Ost.

Additional thanks to: Peter Rehberg at the Schwules Museum, Berlin; the team at Theaterwerkstatt Pilkentafel; Jonas Hasselmann; Trent Pehrson; Juliana Irene Smith; all Damiá class participants 2022.