Displayed Words is an experiment in thinking with language, text, and poetry through digital and public formats. Who and what defines the space in which words are made legible and meanings are produced? How does the perception of text change from one medium to another? Displayed Words plays with the intelligibility of text and its manifold displays; it also poses questions pertaining to context within which literature and poetry can be perceived and understood. Finally, it asks how text is mediated, and in which language dominant discourse and literature are communicated in a metropolitan like Berlin. What about languages considered minoritarian, those one hears across the city in everyday encounters, such as Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Vietnamese, or Spanish …?

For its second edition, Displayed Words will take place at Bürgeramt Rathaus Tiergarten, where texts are presented on a digital display panel on the balcony above the main entrance. The Bürgeramt Rathaus is a site of bureaucracy pertaining to social existence that everyone will have to come across regardless of race, gender, class, religion, status, or background. The collaboration between CCA Berlin and Bezirksamt Mitte, in cooperation with the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program, focuses on displaying poetry in such a public site and brings together a group of writers/artists whose practice oscillates between different fields.


Curated by Fabian Schöneich, Nan Xi and Lou Ferrand (Jeunes Commissaires Fellowship 2023), CCA Berlin and Mathias Zeiske, DAAD.
Head of Department, District Office Mitte of Berlin, Office for Further Education and Culture:: Dr. Ute Müller-Tischler
Supported by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt, project funds from Draussenstadt and the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program. Animations and design by Ronnie Fueglister and Yves Graber, code by Lorenz Peter.





Displayed Words ist ein Experiment im Umgang mit Sprache, Text und Poesie durch digitale und öffentliche Formate. Wer und was definiert den Raum, in dem Wörter abgebildet und Bedeutungen erzeugt werden? Wie verändert sich die Wahrnehmung von Text von einem Medium zum anderen? Displayed Words spielt mit der Verständlichkeit von Text und seinen vielfältigen Darstellungen; es stellt Fragen nach dem Kontext, in dem Literatur und Poesie wahrgenommen und verstanden werden können. Schließlich fragt es, wie Text vermittelt wird und in welcher Sprache der dominante Diskurs und die Literatur in einer Metropole wie Berlin kommuniziert werden. Wie verhält es sich mit Sprachen, die als minoritär gelten und die man in der Stadt in alltäglichen Begegnungen hört, wie z. B. Russisch, Türkisch, Arabisch, Vietnamesisch, oder Spanisch…?

Die zweite Ausgabe von Displayed Words findet im Bürgeramt Rathaus Tiergarten statt, wo die Texte auf einer digitalen Anzeigetafel auf dem Balkon über dem Haupteingang präsentiert werden. Das Bürgeramt und Rathaus ist ein Ort, der unsere soziale Existenz bürokratisch gestaltet, und den jede* besuchen musste, unabhängig von Race, Gender, Klasse, Religion, Status und Herkunft. Die Zusammenarbeit zwischen CCA Berlin und dem Bezirksamt Mitte in Kooperation mit dem Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD konzentriert sich auf die Präsentation von Poesie an einem solchen öffentlichen Ort und bringt eine Gruppe von Schriftsteller*innen/ Künstler*innen zusammen, deren Praxis sich zwischen verschiedenen Bereichen bewegt.


Kuratiert von Fabian Schöneich, Nan Xi und Lou Ferrand (Jeunes Commissaires Stipendium 2023), CCA Berlin und Mathias Zeiske, DAAD.
Fachbereichsleiterin, Bezirksamt Mitte von Berlin, Amt für Weiterbildung und Kultur: Dr. Ute Müller-Tischler
Gefördert durch die Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt aus Projektmitteln von Draussenstadt und unterstützt vom Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD. Animationen und Design by Ronnie Fueglister und Yves Graber, programmiert von Lorenz Peter.


by Hajra Waheed

The Kamal

What happens when sky and earth collapse?
When maps disappear altogether?
What do we draw towards then?
What lines do we draw first?

There once was an instrument known as the kamal.
It was simple.
It measured you and I, in relation to the stars.
Consisted of a number of oblong pieces of wood, different sizes, with a string.
To measure the height of the north star – the string was held between the teeth,
with the wood at such distance from the eye that while the lower edge was in line with the horizon,
the upper edge just touched the star.

Horizon lines never lie.
It was remarkably accurate.

Where a horizontal line crosses a vertical one.
Two lines that intersect into infinite combinations.

The Spiral

The spiral
is much more than just a form.

Its motion can be centrifugal and centripetal
it can denote both growth and decay
ascent and descent
evolution and involution
accumulation and dissolution.
It expands and contracts,
increases and decreases
reveals even as it hides
all the while offering back anew whatever it receives.

It is not amnesia nor the status quo.
It is not sapless nor atrophied.
It does not settle nor occupy.
It does not want you to believe it is immutable, inevitable, invulnerable, unchangeable.
It is not naïvely cynical where perfection is a measure by which all else falls short.
It is a study and not an art. Indeed it is not perfect.
It is a dance – of moving closer to the beloved
the possibility of approaching the essence
a way to understand and process time and space.

A rooted blade of grass circling around itself
it is the form of smoke entering the air
the reverberations of a drop of rain on another body of water.
The form of embryos and the cylindrical helices of our umbilical cords that tether mother to child
of blooming date palms and the curvature of seashells.
It’s the wave forms found in heart cells
rhythmically contracting to produce each beat
and the shape that nerve cells take before firing into the brain at the slightest onset of fear.
The form DNA strands resume
that whirlpools inhabit
that fingerprints fortify.
The elliptical discs of spiral galaxies
the approach of a hawk to its prey
the approach of an insect to a source of light.
By maintaining the same shape through each successive turn
the least amount of energy is used.

It reverberates ad infinitum.

Informs our perspectives and grants us insight into what is visible and invisible.
It is the practice of return.
It is never redundant.
It is the act of remembering,
the act of making oneself whole again.
At its eye, it is a compass that allows us to stand center in the middle of a storm.
It reminds us that just as everything comes together
everything falls apart again.

It is standing in full knowledge of this and remaining undefeated against despair.

It is a way of seeing.
The gift of wild possibilities and untold stories.
It is the belief that what we do matters.

It is made from the power and will of individuals and unarmed people,
From the extraordinary achievement of ordinary people and ordinary daily actions
of tending to, listening to, watching over and protecting.
It is survival as revival,
resistance as reclamation,
resilience as transformation.

It represents the awareness of the self
and the expansion of this awareness outwards.
It is about community
attaching and being attached
about keeping an open heart
in the face of a broken one.

is rarely a straightforward line.

Hajra Waheed’s (b. 1980) multidisciplinary practice ranges from painting and drawing to video, sound, sculpture and installation. Characterized by a distinct visual language and unique poetic approach, her works use the ordinary as a means to convey the profound, and landscape as a medium to transpose human struggle and a radical politics of resistance and resilience. Recent and upcoming exhibitions worldwide include: Sharjah Biennial 15, UAE (2023); State of Concept, Athens (2023); CAM St. Louis, Missouri (2023); Kamel Lazaar Foundation/B7L9 Art Station, Tunis (2023); Relations: Diaspora & Painting, PHI Foundation, Montréal; Hum, Portikus, Frankfurt (2020); Globale Resistance, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Lahore Biennial 02, Pakistan (2020); Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing from 1970 to Now, British Museum, London (2019); Hold Everything Dear, The Power Plant, Toronto (2019); 57th Venice Biennale, VIVA ARTE VIVA, Venice (2017). She currently lives and works in Montréal.


Hajra Waheeds (*1980) multidisziplinäre Praxis reicht von Malerei und Zeichnung bis hin zu Video, Sound, Skulptur und Installation. Ihre Werke zeichnen sich durch eine ausgeprägte visuelle Sprache und einen einzigartigen poetischen Ansatz aus. Sie nutzt das Gewöhnliche als Mittel, um das Tiefgründige zu vermitteln, und die Landschaft als Medium, um den menschlichen Kampf und eine radikale Politik des Widerstands und der Resilienz zu vermitteln. Zu den jüngsten und bevorstehenden Ausstellungen weltweit gehören: Sharjah Biennale 15, VAE (2023); State of Concept, Athen (2023); CAM St. Louis, Missouri (2023); Kamel Lazaar Foundation/B7L9 Art Station, Tunis (2023); Relations: Diaspora & Painting, PHI Foundation, Montréal; Hum, Portikus, Frankfurt (2020); Globale Resistance, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Lahore Biennale 02, Pakistan (2020); Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing from 1970 to Now, British Museum, London (2019); Hold Everything Dear, The Power Plant, Toronto (2019); 57. Venedig Biennale, VIVA ARTE VIVA, Venedig (2017). Sie lebt und arbeitet derzeit in Montréal.