a language where yesterday and tomorrow are the same word. Kal.

11/09/2020 — 31/12/2021

Design: Aziza Ahmad / Archive Books

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. The Houses of Kal 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.

This trans*oceanic platform is a collaboration with Archive Books, COCA Collective Colombo, District*School Without Center, Goethe Institut Sri Lanka, Goethe Institut Pakistan, IVS Gallery Karachi and Zubaan Books supported by the Department for Culture and Europe in the Berlin Senate, Goethe Institut South Asia, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and ifa.

Background: 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).