English / Deutsch

28.2.2020 | 11th Berlin Biennale c/o ExRotaprint

exp. 3: how to move an arche

Talk by Sinthujan Varatharajah with Duygu Örs

Sinthujan Varatharajah explores issues of forced displacement, statelessness, and spatial inequalities, particularly those of Eelam Tamil people. “All that is left of us are shadows, for many, not even these shadows are meant to be ours.” By centering a displaced and marginalized people, he brings forth their forgotten stories by, quite literally, placing them on the map of Berlin. Varatharajah uses oral and visual memories to render the German capital into a Tamil city, an extension of a lost territory. He asks: “Can a city hold and belong to more than a singular history and people? And what does it mean for a stateless people to shape and create new spaces within others’ nation-states?” In his work, Varatharajah reads Berlin through the flight movements of a traumatized people through what was then, in the 1980s, a divided city. His living archive interrogates the many struggles for a people without sovereignty over land (and bodies) to mark spaces across different political regimes and to build as well as maintain stable archives. By investigating the many silences and absences within records of history, his archive challenges national memorialization cultures and seeks new meanings in old places.