The Living Archives

Credits: bureau zanko

The Living Archives is an online platform, which will primarily be used to document, archive and make available knowledge and content, that is generated within BIPoC communities. Integrating and referring to this knowledge, the platform will also be used as a learning space for these communities.

The aim of the project is to capture and make accessible content and knowledge generated within BIPoC contexts in past and present. xart splitta understands The Living Archives as a “Resistant Knowledge Project” (Patricia Hill Collins). Archiving and documentation is therefore seen as a decolonial act – concepts and practices of archiving are redefined in terms of their colonial, racist, and heteronormative context of origin and used as a medium of “counter-narration”.

The first content for the site will be provided by the ongoing work of xart splitta as well as by texts, conversations and content that was created in the context of the project “Passing it On”. A project that was carried out by xart splitta in 2019 by  Nicola Lauré al-Samarai and Iris Rajanayagam; and in the context of which the idea for the online portal was born. The website will however remain a work in progress and we are looking forward to the collaboration with a variety of individuals and communities in the further development of The Living Archives.

The Living Archives is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb, here our special thanks go to Peggy Piesche.

Deconstruction of Gender Binaries

Ent_2genderung/Deconstruction of gender binaries was a project with different formats that was initiated by by xart splitta in 2013. The ideas of Ent_2genderung are still very relevant, so we would like to keep them available for you. Have fun with reading!

Deconstruction of gender binaries posed the questions:

What happens when binary reproductions of gender are split up and abandoned?

What happens if I question/irritate/challenge gender binaries?

When does the deconstruction of gender reflect  racism_ableism_classism and

when is the criticism of racism_ableism_classism a deconstruction of gender?


Rethinking and Renaming Relationships

Do you know this scene? You tell friends about your last visit to your sister and her children: It wasn’t good, your sister spoke to others about her ‘brother’ (you) and the children always called you ‘aunt’. But you are neither sister nor brother or aunt or uncle. You don’t want to become a mother or a father, but ____________ and then there is a kind of wordlessness.


We want to change that! We want to re-/discover, discuss and share new or already found possibilities with you! We want simple languages; words and names that feel good and create visibility!


For a start, here are a few sentences to fill in and try out:


I am not a sister or brother, I am ________________


I am not a daughter or a son, I am _______________________________


I am not Dad or Mom, Mommy or Daddy, I am _________________________________


I am not an aunt or uncle, I am _______________________________


I am not a niece, nephew, cousin, cousin, but _______________________


We would like to encourage you all to question, criticise, rethink, try out and recreate language!

#CommunitiesSolidarischDenken – Thinking Communities in Solidarity

Pattern by

Supported by LADS (Berlin State Office for Equal Treatment and against Discrimination of the Senate Department for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-Discrimination), our focus from 2020 onwards will lie on the question of how we can think communities in solidarity #CommunitiesSolidarischDenken.


You can find more about our program in our events.

What does #CommunitiesSolidarischDenken mean for us?

  •  Spaces: Creating, exploring & sharing knowledge together, as marginalised communities; learning and unlearning from and with each other.


  • Cross-Community: Challenging mechanisms of “divide & rule”, collectively and across communities.  Recognition & empowerment with and through our different and specific experiences.


  • Alliances: Alliance policies and the development of common strategies to draw attention to both our different and common realities.


  • Intersectional: Working in a multilayered and multidimensional way; emphasising and being mindful of gaps, invisibilities and erasures.


  • Historical perspectives: Entanglements and continuities – for action in solidarity and on a transnational basis.


  • Sustainable: Documenting and publishing our processes and results.

In Germany and internationally we see ourselves confronted with constantly growing right-wing populist and racist tendencies. For us, the continuous development of new perspectives, thinking spaces and possibilities for action is one way of dealing with this. It is important to us that different forms of discrimination and racism are explicitly named and that their historical and structural interdependencies are addressed and analysed. Implementing this work within intersectional alliances and solidarities is thus a central starting point.

We want to create spaces in which we can jointly produce, exchange and pass on knowledge. In this way we want to irritate and break through hegemonic discourses that have silenced, overwritten or erased marginalised perspectives on history, historical developments and current situations. The moments and strategies of coming together and (common) resistance in the context of conditions of oppression and marginalisation are significant for analysis and practice.

A further central component of the project is the investigation of the necessary preconditions for successful alliance policies and alliances. This means to first of all critically question certain mechanisms of representation and invisibilities: Which perspectives and narratives are perceived and which are concealed or overwritten? Where are the gaps and how can we name them? It is precisely these narratives that need to be traced, perceived and (re)centred.

For the design and implementation of the project we will closely work with different communities, in which we are partly located ourselves. At a very early stage of the conceptual design, we will work with the help of participative methods, in order to reflect the multiperspectivity and multidimensionality that such a project must entail.

For inquiries and contact:

Flyer #CommunitiesSolidarischDenken – Thinking Communities in Solidarity 2020

DISSOLVING TERRITORIES | cultural geographies of a new eelam

Part II

In the second part of Dissolving Territories, different questions in the context of the violent expulsion of state territories and the creation of new social landscapes, infrastructures and communication channels will be examined and discussed from a decidedly Tamil perspective. Dissolving Territories will focus on eelam-tamil voices and approaches, voices and life-worlds that have always remained unheard. With this series we want to look at memory cultures and the construction of narratives through the lens of a Tamil point of view and thus attempt to discuss territorial and cultural-geographical questions as well as deconstruct local myths around the themes of flight and resistance in Germany.

6+ Frequencies

June 20th 2019, 7pm, @ aquarium am Südblock

Guest Speaker: Maya Bastian (via Skype)

© Sinthujan Varatharajah

How do we hear (from) each other in displacement?  How are voices, songs and sound memories transported through distances? Does exile have a sound?

In our final session for this year, we will explore the soundscapes of exile by considering what sounds and noises can mean under such conditions: how they travel, alter and manifest under mass displacement. Centering the roles of communication media, from telephone lines to radio stations to Viber, we attempt to understand the multiple meanings of modern technology for a stateless people.

This session will also feature a collaboration with the visual artist Elif Kücük:

Sinthujan Varatharajah initiated and conceptualised the series »Dissolving Territories« together with Iris Rajanayagam (director xart splitta). Varatharajah is an essayist, researcher and currently Open City Fellow of the Open Society Foundation and a PhD student in Political Geography (UCL). Sinthujan works and researches the geography of power(lessness) and spatial resistance practices and holds an MSc. in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies (LSE).

Maya Bastian is a filmmaker, focusing on short films and documentaries that have screened at festivals around the world. Primarily focusing on social justice issues, her films range from narrative to documentary to experimental. She has spent several years traveling the world as an investigative video journalist, documenting areas of conflict and post-conflict culminating in her latest narrative short film ‘Air Show’, about the effect of the Toronto Air Show on newcomer refugees. She is the recipient of the 2017 Magee TV Diverse Screenwriting Mentorship Award was selected as one of Reelworld Film Festival’s Emerging 20, and has been recently chosen as one of Regent Park Film Festival’s Home Made Visible artists.

The event will be held in spoken English. The location including the bathroom is wheelchair accessible.

5+ Logistics

June 5th 2019, 7pm, @ aquarium am Südblock

Guest speaker: Thevagar Mohanadhasan

© Google Maps

The forcible displacement of people doesn’t just lead to the dislocation of bodies, but also to a shift of eating habits. Food cultures are reflective of specific geographies, topographies, climates, histories and cultures that evolve within/through them. But what happens when a people are forcefully pushed out of their ancient (cultural) landscapes only to find themselves confronted with, to them, new and unknown geographies as well as climates?

In the fifth episode of “Dissolving Territories – Cultural Geographies of a New Eelam”, we explore how people eat in exile, what meanings food are assigned to in exile, how geographic shifts can articulate themselves in changes within taste palates and what roles Tamil grocery stores play within such contexts. Central to our journey will be the history of transnational food chains and infrastructures which allowed for the present day bridging of climate and geographic boundaries to very much enable a Tamil cuisine in exile.

Sinthujan Varatharajah initiated and conceptualised the series »Dissolving Territories« together with Iris Rajanayagam (director xart splitta). Varatharajah is an essayist, researcher and currently Open City Fellow of the Open Society Foundation and a PhD student in Political Geography (UCL). Sinthujan works and researches the geography of power(lessness) and spatial resistance practices and holds an MSc. in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies (LSE).

Thevagar Mohanadhasan is a student of philosophy, politics and economics at the Georg-August University in Göttingen. In addition to his studies, he is involved in numerous civil society initiatives. His work focuses on European policy, international relations and migration policy.

The event will take place in spoken German. The location is wheelchair accessible. A wheelchair accessible bathroom is available.

4+ Airport

Wednesday, Mai 22nd 2019, 7pm, @ aquarium am Südblock

Guest speaker: Nahed Awwad

© Google Maps

Airports are often described as so-called non-places. But what does this mean?

No airport can function without an armada of people working behind, in front of and under the scenes of regular airport operations. Airports are nowadays capitalist (private) entities that not only enable the mobility of millions of people, but also generate the livelihoods of millions. In many places, airports are important employers who engage tens of thousands of people. For them, the airport is neither a gateway nor a transit point: it is a fixed point in their day to day lives.

However, not everyone who counts airports as part of their everyday working lives is allowed to walk through the futuristic entrances through which travellers enter and experience this place. People who work in the low-wage sector at airports walk through countless back doors, through which they are supposed to silently disappear again. This also includes thousands of Tamil workers.

Today, they are employed as cleaning staff, baggage handlers or security officers at airports globally. Their skin colour or supposed origin has become part of heir daily uniform. Many of these workers are former asylum seekers who escaped the racist persecution and genocide of Tamil people in Sri Lanka with aeorplanes. In a narrative twist, they today often work exactly in the places in which they arrived as travellers without return tickets.

In our next event, we ask ourselves what it means when people who used to enter airports in order never to arrive have become the enablers and softeners of the mobility of privileged citizens? If airports are non-places, are they consequently non-people?

As part of the event, we will be showing excerpts from the film »5 Minutes from Home« by Nahed Awwad:

Sinthujan Varatharajah initiated and conceptualised the series »Dissolving Territories« together with Iris Rajanayagam (director xart splitta). Varatharajah is an essayist, researcher and currently Open City Fellow of the Open Society Foundation and a PhD student in Political Geography (UCL). Sinthujan works and researches the geography of power(lessness) and spatial resistance practices and holds an MSc. in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies (LSE).

Nahed Awwad is an independent filmmaker; She has worked with well- known Palestinian filmmakers, local Palestinian TV stations and later international networks. In 2004 she got her film diploma from the European film college in Denmark and has released eight documentary films between experimental, short and feature length. Awwad’s films were screened at various international film festivals, including HotDocs film festival, Canada 2013, Dubai international film festival in 2012, Vision du Reel Film Festival, Nyon, Switzerland in 2005 and 2008 and the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 (Cinema Sud). In 2009 she was granted the International Trailblazer Tribute -Middle East Trailblazer in MIPDOC.

The event will be held in spoken English. The location including the bathroom is wheelchair accessible.

»Dissolving Territories« part II is funded by the Regional Centre for Civic Education Berlin.

Part I

In this event series various questions within the context of life in the diaspora/in exile are highlighted and discussed from a decidedly Tamil perspective. We aim at consciously centering Tamil voices and approaches  while working on and analysing these questions; voices that have always been marginalised and silenced by various parties and/or are unheard or not listened to. We want to look at cultures of memory and the construction of narratives through the prism of an Eelam-Tamil point of view and thus endeavour to debate questions of identity and belonging as well as to deconstruct local myths around the topics migration, flight and resistance in Germany.

April 26th, 8pm @ Mosaik-KulturEtage, Oranienstr. 34 (rear building), 10999 Berlin.

With Senthuran Varatharajah and Sinthujan Varatharajah.

What does it mean to die in exile? What happens to the bodies of stateless people after their demise? What impact do expulsions and border policies have on rituals of death for people living in exile? And what role does the question of forced migration and landlessness play in dying?

What role does death play for those who have escaped it? How does the diaspora relate to that, which was the reason for there bring a diaspora?

These are the questions we will address in the third and, for now last event of our series Dissolving Territories. We warmley welcome you to join us in the discussion.

The event will take place in German spoken language. Questions can be asked in English. The space is wheelchair accessible. There is a lift at U-Bahnhof Kottbusser Tor.

Senthuran Varatharajah  studied philosophy, theology and cultural studies in Marburg, Berlin and London. In 2016 he published his award-winning debut novel “Vor der Zunahme der Zeichen” (S. Fischer). Among others it was awarded with the 3Sat Prize at the “38th Days of German-Language Literature”, the Alfred Doblin Fellowship of the Berlin Academy of Arts, the Berlin Senate Fellowship, the Kranichsteiner Literaturförderpreis, the Bremer Literaturförderpreis, the Chamisso Award and the Rauriser Literaturpreis.


Thursday, April 5th, 7pm @ aquarium am Südblock

Guest speaker: Bafta Sarbo

What role do aesthetics play in modern-day protests? Do social justice & human rights protests require in-depth design and communication strategies to succeed? And what roles do race and class play in such movements?

In our second installment of Dissolving Territories, we will engage with questions of aesthetics of resistance. Using examples of Eelam Tamil protests in exile, we will explore the history of these protests, their communication and design strategies and juxtapose them to aesthetic practices of other modern-day protest movements.

Bafta Sarbo was born in Germany to Oromo refugees living in exile. Having grown up in Frankfurt am Main, she is now living in Berlin and studying towards a Masters in Social Sciences. Additionally, Bafta is member of the executive board of the Initiative of Black People in Germany (ISD federation). She predominantly addresses marxist theories of society, (anti) racism and migration politics.

Languages: Spoken English. Translation into spoken German can be provided if necessary. Pls. contact us in advance if you need translation.

Information regarding accessibility: The venue incl. the toilet is wheelchair accessible. There is a lift at U-Bahnhof Kottbusser Tor.

Thursday, March 22nd, 7pm @ aquarium am Südblock

Guest speaker: Prashanthy Sekaram

Audio recording of the event.

How can home be narrated, detached from borders/frontiers and be renegotiated or created in the everyday? Can one redesign and maintain a lost country in the intimate, in your personal living space? And how does one define the question of territorial belonging via the personal living space in exile?

These and other questions we want to attend to in the opening/kick-off event for our three-part series „Dissolving Territories | cultural geographies of a new eelam“. In this context we look at different living spaces of Tamil individuals and families in exile proceeding from the consideration which continuities and memories manifest in articles of daily use and whether they can contribute to a territorial detachment from the lost home .

In this context we also inquire into spatial cultures of remembrance/memory; which narratives appear, are narrated/represented? Which traumata do we carry across generations and how are they located in living space?

Sinthujan Varatharajah initiated and conceptualised the series»Dissolving Territories« together with Iris Rajanayagam (director xart splitta). Varatharajah is an essayist, researcher and currently Open City Fellow of the Open Society Foundation and a PhD student in Political Geography (UCL). Sinthujan works and researches the geography of power(lessness) and spatial resistance practices and holds an MSc. in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies (LSE).


Mit dem Motto “Neue Wege” eröffnet das 5. Salon Qi zur Erinnerung an Tatjana Barbakoff die Türe…

In Kooperation mit xart splitta e.V. präsentiert li:chi movie die lang ersehnte Filmpremiere am:

So 12. Oktober 2014 um 17 Uhr

im ehemaligen Kinoraum der Filmbühne am Steinplatz, Hardenbergstr. 12, S-Bhf Zoo


ein Kunst_Doku_Spiel_Film von Oxana Chi & Layla Zami

Filmdauer : 140 Min. Original deutschsprachige Fassung, 2014

Filmpremiere mit Rahmenprogramm. Einlass ab 16.30Uhr


Oxana Chi begibt sich 2008 auf Spurensuche nach Tatjana Barbakoff, Ausdruckstänzerin der 1920er/30er Jahre, die wie viele andere queere/PoC Künstlerinnen kaum in der Kunst_Tanz_Geschichtsschreibung zu finden ist. In ihre Tanz-Musik-Performance “Durch Gärten” verkörpert Oxana die Biographie und das Werk Tajtanas aus feministischer Sicht. Seit 2010 wurde Oxanas tänzerische Spurensuche von ihrer Partnerin Layla Zami filmisch begleitet. Bei der Kostümerstellung und in ihrer Recherche im Verborgenem Museum, Auf der Bühne und hinter den Kulissen von Berlin nach Paris über Solo, Java.

Oxana hat auch selber die Kamera in die Hand genommen, um ehemalige Auftrittsorte Tatjanas gegenwärtig zu dokumentieren und hat die Schauspielerin Eva Dorothea Schöngut inszeniert, die einen Zusammenfluss von Tatjanas Original-Briefe und Oxanas Texte minimalistisch_schauspielerisch spricht.

So ist ein wunderschöner meditativ und zugleich unterhaltsamen Film entstanden…durch eine ungewöhnliche, persönliche und kreative Produktion die zeigt, dass die Vergangenheit so lebendig sein kann wie die Gegenwart !

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Amadeu-Antonio-Stiftung

Und wer die Performance DURCH GÄRTEN Live erleben möchte, ist herzlich eingeladen am

Fr. 07. & Sa 08. November 2014 um 20 Uhr

im Hoftheater Kreuzberg (barrierefrei)

Naunynstraße 63, 10997 Berlin

Eintritt 10/7 €

Festivalpass für Film + Tanz : 15/12€

Ticketreservierung für Film und/oder Tanz :

 Check out Flyer hier

 Interview mit Oxana Chi & Layla Zami im MRBB magazin lesen