Mining the self: I wish no one an identity a talk-performance by Constanza Mendoza

The Shape of a Pocket

Encounter: Mining the self: I wish no one an identity a talk-performance by Constanza Mendoza

Date: Sunday, May 26th

Time: 18:00 – 20:00

I was born in the driest desert on Earth. Like all deserts, the Atacama desert is a Sacrifice Zone*. It has been conquered, occupied, plundered and polluted. The desert is by definition a colonial engineering of exploitation. The desert is necropolitics. To be born in the desert becomes a contradiction, a biographical paradox, a vital errancy. Like all identities, mine is an inheritance of multiple violence: my family history is related to the colonial genocide of the Selk’nam people in Tierra del Fuego, colonial extractivism in Chuquicamata, the coup d’état and the Pinochet dictatorship, family exile to the European empire up until the apogee of the neoliberal laboratory in which we now find ourselves today. I will perform this necropolitical identity through a series of historical, political and social short circuits through excess and detachment.

*A sacrifice zone or sacrifice area is a geographic area permanently impaired by environmental damage or economic disinvestment.


Constanza Mendoza’s practice defies all categories and logic of the art business. She works with different collectives, and it is not about creating closed works, but rather about conversation and exchange. Whether in the form of a game with different roles or a method of institutional criticism, it remains open.

No RSVP required

Event held onsite: Donaustr. 84, 12043 Berlin


The Shape of a Pocket 

The Shape of a Pocket is a platform dedicated to articulations of voids and absences in social, epistemic and geographic landscapes.

The pocket is an intimate hollow, a ‘pocket of resistance’ or a vessel that carries multiple materials and stories. The ‘shape’ alludes to the imaginary lines that are drawn between the unknown and the known, and to what is revealed or obscured, connected or separated by these demarcations. The void is both the deepest trench and the horizon.

The project confronts absence not as an epistemological deficit, but as rich and generative in its indeterminacy. This does not mean that the unknown is a resource to be mined, located or exploited, but rather it is a necessary resistance to Western thought’s demand for clarity and unambiguous identification. This call to turn towards the unknown relates to ‘absences’ that include enforced silences, extractive practices, linguistic gaps, and erasures in archives and culture. In all its shapeshifting mutations, the void resists totalising systems and makes way for a multiplicity and an excess that cannot be contained by the constraints of absolutes or certainty.

Colonialism uses the notion of ‘empty’ space as a pretext to justify the occupation of land, genocide and subjugation. The continuous coloniality of societal structures requires an undoing of this claim over emptiness. Capitalism exploits and extracts human labour and geological matter, causing cultural erasure and ecological catastrophe, with dire consequences for human and more-than-human life. This project aims to unlearn and undo the claim that coloniality makes on ostensibly empty spaces, and to challenge the persistent omissions in hegemonic historical narratives and divisive identitarian determinations. While the concept of the ‘void’ speaks of absence, it cannot be reduced to a mere abstraction, rather, it is material and situated in the world: it has flesh, geography and history.

There are also voids and obfuscations whose contours are less easy or impossible to grasp but must be preemptively imagined to not perpetuate patterns of erasure. Following Saidiya Hartman’s approach, this project embraces the challenge of telling impossible stories while amplifying the impossibility of their telling. In this sense, The Shape of a Pocket works with the double bind of the necessity to be present to absences while resisting imposed silencing. Depending on positionality and context, silence or absence can be constructed as spaces for emancipatory political imagination and relationality or, conversely, as sites of oppression and erasure.

Together we ask: Can we trace the contours of these so-called voids without reenacting the violences of cartography? Who holds the capacity for articulation, about what, and from where? If, as Glissant says, the abyss serves as an alluvium for metamorphoses, how can we contribute to the emergence of languages that are born from places of irreparable trauma and loss and give rise to forms of solidarity, resistance and transformation?

The Shape of a Pocket is an invitation to reimagine our margins, shared unknowns, cavities, and rifts as meaningful grounds for rupture and connectivity. The Shape of a Pocket is initiated by Shoufay Derz and Talya Lubinsky at The Institute for Endotic Research.

 *The Shape of a Pocket is the title of a book by John Berger published in 2002.

  Encounter: Pin. Suck. Smash a video installation by Alina Amper

Date: Wednesday, May 22nd

Time: 19:00 – 21:00

Pin. Suck. Smash is a video installation that weaves a layered fictional landscape into a photo collage from a Syrian city archive. The installation captures enduring rituals, with characters crossing dimensions through folio imprints. Symbolic photographs mark distinct rituals, while an experimental video blends film excerpts for cultural exploration. A guiding artifact, the pipe, navigates viewers through occult practices.

The process began with the systematic scanning of objects with biographical references to lessen their impact and create a personal archive. The scans were then used to craft collages that illustrate the emergence of a hybrid construct in a landscape whose objects follow a specific pattern or equation and essentially form a language. The hybrid construct led to the creation of satellites, positioned within the docu-fictional landscape. The docu-fictional narrative originates from the vast archive of photographer Salman Abu Ras. Characters from various dimensions enter into a dialogue through a three-dimensional facade created by layers of photos on foils floating in space. Each selected photo signifies an unalterable ritual: women in a church ceremony, women filtering lintels, and men sharing traditional food. Everyday objects such as bread coexist amidst the architectural elements of the landscape, integrated into a carefully constructed choreography of interactions.

An experimental video that merges the mesmerising movements of the iconic Arab belly dancer Fifi Abdo with footage of women from the Druze community in Syria. Abdo’s enigmatic pipe inhalations challenge societal norms, igniting the exploration of cultural boundaries. This video creates a ritualistic encounter where objects and characters bear symbolic significance. Guided by the pipe, viewers navigate fragmented depictions of occult practices, seamlessly blending Druze pagan rituals with an immersive journey through the underworld. This fusion reveals themes of oppression, tradition, and the transformative power of ritual.


 With an auto-fictional approach, Alina creates hybrids between the political and imaginary, dealing with topics of belonging and complex identities. As a trained architect, she tends to deconstruct and process artefacts and images and their representation and the effect of everyday actions and religious rituals on the body. In doing so, she creates fictional landscapes by experimenting with different mediums in search of other possible narratives. She mainly works with mixed media, especially collage, video, installation and performance. Her works were shown internationally at Attasi Foundation Dubai, Kommunale Gallery Berlin, Station Beirut, Taksheel Gallery Dubai and others.

No RSVP required

Event held onsite: Donaustr. 84, 12043 Berlin

  Encounter: Exploring Artistic Resistance in the Myanmar Spring Revolution. Convened by Zoncy Heavenly

Tea Oval Session

Date: Wednesday, May 15th

Time: 19:00

Tea Oval Session is a monthly forum from May to November 2024 for new and emerging perspectives on artistic resistance against political dictatorships worldwide. Experiential knowledge shared by a global audience of contributors will contribute to a situational analysis of artistic conduct in the Myanmar Spring Revolution. The invited contributors and participants will analyse the most successful artistic tactics used in political reimagination. By the end of the sessions, the contributions and collective findings will be co-authored as a manual for Myanmar artists to exercise political imagination.

Zoncy Heavenly, an interdisciplinary artist from Myanmar, is leading this study inspired by the TIER methods of knowledge building. The first Tea Oval, which will be introduced on 15 May 2024 at 19:00, is just the first public encounter of her independent study journey. Members of the Myanmar artist community in Berlin will present their visual, literary, and musical protest art from the Myanmar Spring Revolution, setting the stage for future discussions on the collective understanding of artistic resistance. Green Tea from Southern Shan State and rice salad from the mainland will be served.

Suggested Reading Material before the session:

No RSVP required

Event held onsite: Donaustr. 84, 12043 Berlin


TIER is delighted to welcome Zoncy Heavenly, an interdisciplinary artist from Myanmar, as artist-in-residence at TIER. This program is supported by Berlin Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt through the Weltoffenes Berlin Fellowship program.


Zoncy Heavenly started her career as a performance artist in 2009 by participating in Japan’s Nippon International Performance Art Festival. Inspired by knowledge from different fields, she later worked with sound, photography, installation, and poetry to explore the intangible aspects of body-based art and the concrete impact of collective trauma with a phenomenological approach.

Born in 1987 in southern Myanmar, Zoncy has lived, worked, and studied in Yangon. She graduated from the University of Computer Studies in 2008 and joined the postmodern and Performance art classes at New Zero Art Space in Yangon. Since 2011, she has been involved in the anti-civil war movement and gained more awareness about gendered violence in the Myanmar civil war. She co-founded the Diverze Youth Art Platform to promote minority rights and culture through the arts. The platform is a network of artistic self-empowerment in a country that ranks between Afghanistan and North Korea, according to the Democracy Index. One of her most significant contributions is the feminist performance series, Unknown Women.

She was the design fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2019 and the visual art fellow of the DAAD Artist in Berlin Program in 2022. In 2024, she will conduct an independent study on artists’ methods in political (re)imagination with the support of TIER in Berlin as a Weltoffenes Berlin Program fellow.

  Encounter: Mapping Queer Feminist Journeys with Saltanat Shoshanova

Dates: Saturday, March 23rd, 2024

Time: 15:30

RSVP essential / Limited numbers

Register now at until 22d of March

This workshop invites you to create your very own Map of a Queer Feminist Journey/Futures. You can visualize your journey (so far) and draw the map that tells your story. You can imagine your future journey and manifest it in the universe! We will draw and craft using different colors and materials. This workshop is a successful tool to connect artistic practice with your own story in order to raise important questions on political, historical, and private levels. In the end, you will go home with the map of your life (or an imagined future) and some important reflections on it.

The creative process will take 1-1,5 hours leaving us with 30 min for a sharing circle. You will have an opportunity to open up and share your stories with others using the map. At the same time, the logic and structure of the workshop allow participants not to share and keep their maps private. We will get creative, vulnerable, triggered and curious. We will get healed and inspired by each other’s stories!

This workshop is only open to all queer and feminist people. 


Saltanat Shoshanova is a researcher from Kazakhstan, based in Berlin. She studies decolonial queer feminist cultures and art in Central Asia and beyond. Her writing and artistic practice deals with family history, trauma, food and queer joy. 

Event held onsite: Donaustr. 84, 12043 Berlin

  Thursday, 29.February. Workshop: Sound Stories Silent Site with Anton Kats

Dates: Thursday, February 29th

Time: 16:00-19:00

RSVP essential

Register now at until February 26th.


Sound Stories Silent Site is a performative laboratory for improvised music and

storytelling; a sonic playground where everyone is invited to step in and set aside a formal

understanding of sound, composition, performance and writing.


Sound Stories Silent Site wonders how a collective ethics of a place sounds, especially when

inspired by difference and contradiction. Embracing transmigration to dream and enact new

semi-fictional identities, the laboratory collectively envisions narratives of the self, other and the



The structure of the laboratory revolves around a sequence of collaborative and interactive

modules. The improvised ensemble takes turns listening, tuning, field working, playing,

conducting and weaving sounds and narratives. You are invited to become part of a musical

ensemble that experiments with sound modules, synthesizers, storytelling and Orchestration.



The workshop is free of charge and open to max. 15 participants. No prior knowledge or skills

are needed. There is no age limit, but we wouldn’t recommend this workshop to kids under 10

years of age. We primarily welcome refugees, asylum seekers and disadvantaged migrants. All

necessary equipment will be provided by the artist and the organizers.


RSVP essential

Register now at until February 26th.



Anton Kats (Kherson, Ukraine) works as an artist and musician. His practice draws from the

everyday, inspired by the complex narratives of Satelite Island, a south-Ukrainian neighborhood

in the port city of Kherson. Kats develops responsive and site-specific projects exploring the

interdependencies of learning, migration and the non-normative. His works have been

presented at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, steirischer herbst, SAVVY Contemporary,

Serpentine Galleries and Tate Modern, among others. Kats took part in documenta14 and

performed at the Roskilde Festival, Fusion Festival and Sonic Acts. He was awarded a

practice-based PhD at Goldsmiths University of London and currently lectures at MA Spatial

Strategies at Kunsthochschule Weißensee. He is also a fellow of the Berlin Artistic Research

Programme 2024–25.


IG: @katsmonaut


About Archive of Belonging

Archive of Belonging (AOB) is a directory and archive for refugees, asylum seekers and

migrants. It brings together practical, cultural, and emotional resources to respond to the

question – after relocation, how can we begin to find a sense of belonging?



Image caption: Sound Stories Silent Site at House of World Cultures. Photo courtesy of the


  Wednesday 28. February. Arkhiv Plastik: an experimental art history of the plastic bag with Kandis Friesen

Date: Wednesday, February 28th

Time: 19:00-21:00

This encounter is a visit to the portable archive of plastic bags that artist Kandis Friesen has been collecting over the last twenty years. Amidst an accessible archival display, the artist will speak about three distinct plastic bags: her recent artist multiple DAUT DINTJ DAUT HELT, grafted onto the ubiquitous knock-off Ukrainian BMW plastic bag; a sequence from Ukrainian director Kira Muratova’s 1989 film The Asthenic Syndrome; and the plastic practice of Kazakh artist Saule Suleimenova, who will join us by video from Almaty. 

In Friesen’s archive and practice, the plastic bag is approached as container, landscape, figure, textile, and text, both producing and archiving these forms in the neoliberal present. Like the particalization and flexibility of neoliberal structures, plastic shapeshifts its materiality (into wood, metal, clay, textile, glass) and is now ubiquitously resident within our bodies, waters, soil, and air. Friesen approaches diasporic formations in relation to plastic materialities, through portability, translation, and transposition; her experimental art history of the plastic bag is a history of the present. 

Friesen will bring a portion of her archive to TIER for public perusal, and drinks and snacks including kozinak, halva, and pickles will be served. 



Kandis Friesen works with diasporic language and disintegrating archival forms. Her recent work in video, sculpture, writing, and sound is anchored in the dispersed monumental, composing between the solidity of official memory and the dispersal of intimate, unofficial forms. She often draws on modes of grafting and re-publication (making something public, again), amplifying specific histories and the structures which hold and transmit them.


Her work has been exhibited and screened at the CAFKA Biennial of Contemporary Art in Public Space (Six Nations Haldimand Tract territory / Waterloo, CA), Galerie im Turm (Berlin, DE), Chicago Architecture Biennial (Zhigaagong / Chicago, US), Plug In ICA (Winnipeg, Treaty 1 territory, CA), Le Festival International du Film sur l’Art (Tiohtià:ke / Montreal, CA), MIX NYC (NYC, Lenapehoking territory, US), and Jihlava International Film Festival (Jihlava, CZ), among others. 

No RSVP required

Event held onsite: Donaustr. 84, 12043 Berlin

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