• © Óscar González

Big Bangs & Black Holes


»Big Bangs & Black Holes« is a digital double-bill by Queer performance collective ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS. »Dogs of Love« and »We Come With Nothing«, created initially as stage works, are shown side-by-side for the first time, reimagined for film and animated with poetic imagery.


»Dogs of Love« (60′) investigates the intimate connection between two people. Starting with a real-life love story, two lovers run in opposite directions through time and space, through pasts and futures populated with real and imagined stories of Queer togetherness. Footsteps echo as we dive deep into togetherness, loneliness, crisis, and intimacy. Can we ever really leave someone we have been in love with?

»We Come With Nothing« (35′) explores the dark side of entanglement. Inspired by the form of Olga Tokarczuk’s ‘constellation novels’ and ghost stories, it conjures a shadow-world of broken connections. What happens when a relationship ends in estrangement? What is this ‘nothing’ we are left with? What do we discover when we stare into this black hole?


The films will be available online from June 19 through June 30, 2023.


Since 2012, Queer performance collective ONCE WE WERE ISLANDSChris Gylee and Aslan — have worked in the fertile ground between disciplines, combining theatre, film, choreography and research. The two performers deploy (auto)biographical narrative as well as meticulous research on Queer life realities for their poetic works. Most recently at Ballhaus Ost they showed »Karelia. A Queer Forest Fantasy in Two Parts«, and the film adaptation »The Crossing«. The piece »Dogs of Love« was premiered in 2019.

Past Dates
  • Jun 19, 2023


English with english subtitles

Artistic direction, text, performance, edit

Chris Gylee, Aslan

Composition Dogs of Love

Elie Gregory

Sound design We Come With Nothing

Mars Dietz

Light design, additional film

Elliott Cennetoglu

Photography, additional film

Óscar González

Production management

ehrliche arbeit — freies Kulturbüro

A production by ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS in cooperation with Ballhaus Ost. Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. With the kind support of Mustarinda residency.