a language where yesterday and tomorrow are the same word. kal
A trans*oceanic platform for slow approaches, performative interventions and poetic strategies in visual and literary forms, kal traces decolonial and feminist futures and pasts that are connected through bodies of water lapping at different shorelines.
Allah you gave us a language
where yesterday and tomorrow
are the same word. Kal.
A spell cast with the entire
mouth. Back of the throat
to teeth. Tomorrow means I might
have her forever. Yesterday means
I say goodbye, again.
Kal means they are the same.
Fatimah Asghar, Kal, 2018
Gathering artists and writers from South Asia, the South Asian diaspora and post-migrant Europe, kal unfolds in multiple strands including a series of publications, a DIY radio channel called radio kal, and the three Houses of Kal - a constellation of feminist infrastructures for transdiciplinary and collaborative art practices & alternative pedagogies in Karachi, Colombo and Berlin.
The title takes inspiration from Fatimah Asghar’s poetic invocation of the Hindi-Urdu word ‘kal’. Expressing a time beyond the here and now, the meaning of ‘kal’ moves fluidly and shifts its meaning based on who speaks, from where and when. Passing between inside and outside along the movement of tongues, ‘kal’ is a queer word that cannot be fully explained, denoting ephemerality and transience.
Thinking of the body as a site of memory and of speculation, kal looks towards forgotten and imagined radical futures of yesterday and tomorrow, disrupting binary contours of time or being. Thematic strands of kal focuse on the fabulation of ecologies after patriarchy and colonialism, capitalism and gender, and on decolonial feminist imaginaries and their ancient and futurist ways to interrogate and counter racism, Islamophobia and fascism.
As kal unfolds in current pandemic time and amidst deep ecological and social transformations, so does our shared language and programming. kal is a platform for learning/imagining and practicing vocabularies at the crossings of art, feminisms and eco-politics that articulate radically different ways of being alive together in entangled futures, pasts and present.
a language where yesterday and tomorrow are the same word. kal is co-initiated by Aziz Sohail and The Many Headed Hydra. This trans*oceanic platform is a collaboration with District*School Without Center and supported by the Goethe Institut South Asia, the Department for Culture and Europe in the Berlin Senate, Pro Helvetia New Delhi and ifa.
In late Summer 2019 the project Is It Possible To Live Outside Of Language? (IIPTLOOL) curated by Aziz Sohail in Karachi, explored connections between language, queerness and the city. From here, a thematic strand of kal cross-connects queer futurisms between Karachi, California, Colombo and Berlin.
Since 2016, the The Many Headed Hydra (TMHH) has initiated and published queer, feminist and decolonial research, art making and writing with a focus on ecologies, myth making and situated practices in lived relationships with bodies of water. Across 2019 TMMH has been active within temporary and continuing formations with artists, activists and writers from the shores of the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean (nurtured by Colomboscope and IIPTLOOL).
ParticipantSkal brings together art practitioners whose work explores feminist, anti-fascist, anti-racist and queer possibility.
The Houses of KalWith A Frei, Arshia Fatimah Haq of Discostan, Ayesha Alizeh, Ayesha Chaudhry, Aziz Sohail, Chathuri Nissansala, Ferdiansyah Thajib, Fiza Khatri, Floating Space, Hema Shironi & Sabeen Omar, Karachi La Jamia, knowbotiq, NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati, Nuray Demir, Promona Sengupta, Sadia Khatri, Sandev Handy, Seher Naveed, Promona Sengupta, Muhanned Cader, Sharmini Pereira, Printmaking Lab Colombo, Sakina Aliakbar, Sehan Khanna, Sophia-Layla Afsar, Tehreem Mela, The Many Headed Hydra, Vera Ryser, Venuri Perera, Vicky Shahjehan, Vasi Udurawane, Veenadari Lakshika, We Are From Here, Zahabia Khozema, a.o.
The Houses of Kal in Karachi, Colombo and Berlin bring together art practitioners whose work explores feminist, anti-fascist, anti-racist and queer possibility. The Houses of Kal are conceived as a low-residency program with a public programming and publishing outlet as well as a collective and self-organized space in the making from May to September 2021.
The Houses of Kal summon a multiplicity of approaches to learning, sharing, healing, and co-living as a collaborative practice with the aim of fostering community and solidarity, locally and across borders. The Houses gathers and co-produces discourse and praxis at the crossings of art-making, feminisms, and eco-politics with an emphasis on collaboration and care for each other’s practices.
The Houses of Kal in Colombo and in Karachi (at IVS Gallery) are curated and cared for collectively by Aziz Sohail, Fiza Khatri, Sandev Handy and The Many Headed Hydra with curatorial support from Sakina Aliakbar and Zahabia Khozema.
DIY radio channel with A Frei, Arshia Fatimah Haq of Discostan, Fatimah Asghar, Dafne Narvaez Berlfein, Promona Sengupta, Shanti Suki Osman, and the participants of the Radio Tooling Workshops
Radio kal is a fleeting space for artistic experimentation and for gathering community across space and time. With radio kal it is our hope to create bridges that vibrate across multiple tongues, so we can listen to each other and share our worlds in story and song. It proposes a space to speak about experiences and engagements that connect art, activism, diaspora, migration, ecology, collectivity, family, love and sexuality. The resulting episodes, produced in intervals over the coming year, are collectively created, allowing for forms of learning together.
In this mode, radio kal is DIY from the outset. A series of radio workshops and online tutorials with the sound & radio artist Shanti Suki Osman, video artist, researcher and educator Dafne Narvaez Berlfein and academic, activist and curator Promona Sengupta opens the platform for learning and making experimental and critical radio together. Rooted in feminist methodologies the tooling workshops also channel some of the wealth of knowledge of doing radio formats online that has become available with the pandemic. A second set of radio performance workshops unfolding in summer 2021 will be led by artist, sonic researcher, DJ, and record store co-founder (OOR Records) A Frei.
LISTEN TO RADIO KALEpisode # 1 We are the collateral damage of migration, the wave that is breaking on the rocks with Arshia Fatima Haq/Discostan & Fatimah Asghar
Episode # 2
with Arshia Fatima Haq/Discostan & Fatimah Asghar
Tooling #1 Radio Editing
Tooling #2 Audio Recording and Collage
Rituals . fictions . tracesPublication series published by Archive Books, Berlin and Milan, The Many Headed Hydra, and Zubaan, New Delhi.
rituals includes new and existing work by artists, writers and activists living and
working in Karachi, Colombo, and beyond. Nurturing the potential of ritual the publication makes a space for proposing, performing, and thinking through queer and feminist ecologies, embodiments and mythmaking. From everyday rituals of anti-patriarchal resistance to radically open encounters with unescapable environmental toxicity, into speculative futurities – the constellation of contributions traces and intervenes into cross-colonial histories and imaginaries that are connected through bodies of water lapping at different shorelines – the Arabian Sea in Karachi, the Indian Ocean in Colombo, the tidal merge of the Atlantic and Shannon river in the West of Ireland and the Pacific in North America.
With Exhausted Geographies, Fatimah Asghar, Fiza Khatri, Katusa Medusa, Najia Sabahat Khan, Sadia Khatri, Sandev Handy, Tamara Fernando, Taara Rani, The Many Headed Hydra, Umair Khan, Venuri Perera, Vicky Shahjahan.
Edited by Aziz Sohail & The Many Headed Hydra
fictions is an anthology of fiction from/in/accross South Asia. Through a Call for Submissions we invite writers who build feminist and decolonial utopias through storytelling. We aim to dismantle and challenge normative ways of storytelling and welcome experimental fiction, creative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and forms that confuse genres and boundaries.
Whether testimony, memory, myth, dream or fantasy, fictions gathers work where the real and imagined, future and past overlap and intersect. Unruly meditations, remembrances, and visions that attend to personal and collective histories, the histories of our names and bodies and lives, the stories that shape us, are welcome. We envision fictions as a site for South Asian voices to reimagine queerness, and ideas of South Asia, as an opportunity to write ourselves into existence, to make each other possible.
Call for Submissions
Editors: Arun Welandawe-Prematilleke, Aziz Sohail, Momina Masood
The final publication in the series, traces will archive and embody the unfolding project of kal through its various unfoldings in virtual and physical realms and offer propositions on what emancipatory curating and making in a South Asian and collective led context may look like and offer. In addition to the reflections from kal, it will gather contributions on queer practice, archive, collectivity and curating across South Asia and its diasporas.
Editors: Aziz Sohail & Houses of Kal