Discourse & Performance Programme

All that is Musical in Us is Memory: Of Exile, Kinship and (Un)Belonging

Curated by Natasha Ginwala and Magnus Elias Rosengarten

How does knowledge about artistic works shape memories?
How can artistic belonging be perceived in a city like Berlin? The two-day performance and discourse programme reflects on descriptions of exile through lectures, readings and music performances. With interdisciplinary guests from literature, theatre, film and music.

The abstract video still shows a long-exposure photography. A horizontal, fast movement creates coloured lines against a dark background in the shape of a rainbow. It invites associations, such as of a city at night with lights and traffic.

Video Still: Takbir, 2022

© Courtesy Aziz Hazara / Experimenter Kolkata

  • ca. 6 h
  • Various languages with English translation

“All That is Musical in Us is Memory”, a cipher drawn from the USSR born Ukrainian-American poet Ilya Kaminsky, grapples with contours of exile, (un)belonging, and extended kinships. The two-day convening as part of the “Performing Exiles” festival imagines how literary, cinematic, and sonic knowledge shape insistent memory and its resurgence in the context of Berlin and Germany at large, as a place of momentary and prolonged refuge. Contributions by Ukrainian writer and poet Oksana Stomina, Syrian poet and activist Kholoud Charaf with Tobias Diener and Ina Herkenhoff and others will offer literary reflections on subjectivities of flight and power structures, as well as poetics as a realm of fugitivity, dissent, humour and recognition. In their conversation and screening, the artists and filmmakers Aziz Hazara and James Gregory Atkinson negotiate themes of displacement, surveillance practices and alienation to challenge hegemonic visual languages. In her lecture performance, theatre director and performer Viviana Medina Medina will investigate erased histories of Cuban migration in the context of the former GDR and their reverberations into the present. Throughout its two days’ duration, “All That is Musical in Us is Memory” is enveloped in sonic performances and listening sessions by electronic music producer, artist and DJ Lamin Fofana and the Berlin-based reissue record label and DJ Habibi Funk Records. Through these collective moments, we will reflect on how creative belonging may be perceived at the crossroads of a city like Berlin that is polyphonous – at times brutal – and recursively has been an uncanny meeting place.


Taqi Akhlaqi, James Gregory Atkinson, Kholoud Charaf, Tobias Diener and Ina Herkenhoff, Lamin Fofana, Habibi Funk, Karina Griffith, Aziz Hazara, Viviana Medina Medina, Stella Nyanzi,Oksana Stomina and others

An event by the Berliner Festspiele as part of the festival “Performing Exiles” presented in cooperation with the Akademie der Künste, Berlin

Logo Akademie der Künste

The discourse programme is supported by Allianz Foundation and the Federal Agency for Civic Education