Series: 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.

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

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 mean when people who used to enter airports in order never 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:

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.

»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).