• © Oscar Gonzalez

  • © Oscar Gonzalez

Homecoming – Greatest Hits!


Performance collective ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS work in collaboration with 13 Queer artists who specialise in music, film, image, and text to create a constellation of artworks in response to the Queer language Damiá and the political and artistic questions it raises. The multi-faceted performance consists of a vinyl EP of seven original songs in Damiá, a book containing liner notes, lyrics, portraits, and essays, and a series of short films.

The work is accessible digitally via a website archive — — and in limited edition analogue formats. On 02 December 2022 the EP will be published online. The vinyl EP and accompanying book will be released on 08 December 2022 7 pm at a free live listening event at Queer community-space Aquarium. Postal copies can also be requested, free of charge, in advance through the website.

»Homecoming — Greatest Hits!« explores alternatives to the on-stage premiere and in-person ensemble work, and is the next chapter in ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS’ long-term exploration of Queer identity through Damiá — a Queer language created by Aslan since they were 13 years old. Damiá has a grammar, dictionary, and a small but growing number of learners. It has only ever been spoken by Queer people. The language can be used as an artistic and philosophical tool to engage with questions of Queer identity, Queer belonging, and Queer separatism. It acts as a sci-fi lens between fact and fiction and an experimental act of world making that asks: Who are we? Who could we be? This latest exploration is also inspired by Ursula K Le Guin’s groundbreaking work of science-fiction world making »Always Coming Home« (1985), an archaeology of a potential future, a historiography of a troubled utopia, and the search for a brand new ‘home’.


Since 2012, Queer performance collective ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS Chris 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.

Past Dates
  • Dec 02, 2022


Damiá, English

Artistic direction, text, design

Aslan, Chris Gylee


Aslan, Jennifer Bell, Mars Dietz, Amber Fasquelle, Elie Gregory, Inky Lee, MINQ


Elliott Cennetoglu, Ethan Folk with wro wrzesińska, Óscar Gonzalez

Essay, letters

Mmakgosi Kgabi


Kit Gee

Website navigation texts

Mmakgosi Kgabi, Inky Lee


Óscar González


Monika Janulevičiūtė

EP digital mastering

Ro Stambuk

EP production

Matter of Fact

Website design support

Greta Augustinaitė

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 Media within the program NEUSTART KULTUR. With the kind support of Aquarium, Berlin.