Homecoming — Greatest Hits!

Format: Vinyl EP, Book, Films, Online archive, Live event
Dates: from Nov 2022
Online EP launch: 02 Dec 2022
Live listening event: 08 Dec 2022, from 19:00
Venue: Online at queertongue.com
Live event at Aquarium, Berlin
Plus analogue formats via post — if you would like a copy, please email us
Language: Damiá, English

Artistic direction, text, design: Chris Gylee & Aslan
Aslan, Jennifer Bell, Mars Dietz, Amber Fasquelle, Elie Gregory, Inky Lee, MINQ
Aslan, Elliott Cennetoglu, Ethan Allison Folk with wro wrzesińska, Óscar Gonzalez, Chris Gylee
Essay, letters: Mmakgosi Kgabi
Poems: Kit Gee
Website navigation texts: Mmakgosi Kgabi, Inky Lee
Óscar González
Monika Janulevičiūtė
Documentation film:
Ethan Allison Folk
EP digital mastering:
Ro Stambuk
EP production:
Matter of Fact
Website design support:
Greta Augustinaitė
Production management:
ehrliche arbeit — freies Kulturbüro

Supported by: the Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media within the framework of NEUSTART KULTUR. Kindly supported by Aquarium, Berlin.

In Homecoming — Greatest Hits! ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS work in collaboration with 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. The multi-faceted performance consists of a vinyl EP of seven original songs in Damiá, a book containing liner notes, lyrics, portraits, and essays, and a series of short films. The work is accessible digitally via a website archive — www.queertongue.com — and in limited edition analogue formats. The vinyl EP and accompanying book will be released on 08 December 2022 at a free live listening event at Queer community-space Aquarium, Berlin. Postal copies can also be requested, free of charge, in advance through the website.   

Homecoming — Greatest Hits! explores alternatives to the on-stage premiere and in-person ensemble work, and is the next chapter in ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS’ 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. It has only ever been spoken by Queer people. The language can be used as an artistic and philosophical tool to engage with questions of Queer identity, Queer belonging, and Queer separatism. It acts as a sci-fi lens between fact and fiction and an experimental act of worldmaking that asks: Who are we? Who could we be? This latest exploration is also 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 collage and photography by ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS, and photography from the live EP and book launch by Óscar González. Thumbnail image by Óscar González. 

Homecoming — Greatest Hits! is a ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS production in cooperation with Ballhaus Ost. Kindly supported by Aquariun, Berlin. 

Additional thanks to: Claud & Richard at Aquarium; the team at Theaterwerkstatt Pilkentafel for the initial research residency; Matter of Fact; Jonas Hasselmann; Trent Pehrson; Monika Janulevičiūtė; Dominique Hurth; Juliana Irene Smith & Arvid van der Rijt; Elena Polzer; Sandra Klöss; all Damiá class participants 2022.