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 Quinn Latimer

Images TK
“An acknowledgment that it is impossible to move forward”


I had been dreaming in subtitles

Maybe I was watching a film when I wrote this

Or dreaming I was watching a film when I wrote this

Who wrote this, I asked myself, watching the cult film

And fiddling with my phone, watching the moon

Through another familiar frame, luminous unsuppressed screen

Orchestrated to induce identification with one’s “surroundings” while holding

The line between culture and nature, between interior and, anyway, moon

Revealed by the Orthodox fathers at the crest of the hill

Its hallucinated orb or porcelain report reaching a kind of apogee

Glacial then floral in its fullness, almost bordello

As my friend might put it, her blast of hair mouthing some blue

Soundtrack through another poorly fit translucent casement

Many pale apartment blocks and neo-feudal economies away

Between us only the soft and viral confluence of airs, skies both solar and lunar

Constellating our glittery mineral stasis, our looseness of ties to a rocky world

Indexing past arrivals and present planetary returns

In strange animal signatures to which poets to the west affixed weekly readings

I wondered what their sky—once ink, now glitch—revealed that ours did not

Indeed the Eastern Mediterranean sky that came down

This very night like some wet dark denim

Maybe Japanese, maybe American, hard and expensive

While inside my apartment, reports woven of goat hair

In a language of some incised relief most inscrutable

Crossed moving images laden with a more fluent and flunky darkness

Poverties at once emotional and economic and light source

Almost genre, that kind of scripted violence

All sought my vision to which I could not affix captions

Could not ascribe borders closed open or otherwise

Beyond litanies of feeling or recrimination sans syntax, that is

So I wrote down (I write everything twice) a letter or index

Of something close to facts but not, really, in any instance:

A group of women at the door…

It smells like rain and icons…

Where were you, she called…

I wasn’t sure but I’m pretty sure…

All those uncertain years, I…

You should get to work…
Period Romance

The wall like a flesh wound…

Pledge to hire five thousand new cops…

Mouth in the shape of a mouth…

Plural then singular, light on footnotes…
Water Borders

Constant elections of death cults…
Land Borders

I’m getting in touch to ask if you might…

He’s not been well, we thought you…

No language, no child, no country…

By the freeway, near the fields…

I saw this performance last night…

He asked about ancestors and insects…

The light is criminal, he hands her mail…

It’s a ruin not an earthquake…
Migratory Patterns

What brought you here, the temples…
State Violence

You’re being pretty dramatic…

She rode horses growing up, didn’t she…

You didn’t show, I didn’t think…

His rhetoric or her border control…

The prisons privatized of course…

Don’t say that, after everything I…
Deep Listening

Built for profit or disrepair not life…

What was it like to grow up there…

She didn’t die there but years before…

Didn’t go to the party for the new regime…
International Cooperation

They tried to get in, she said, but…

The trees smell like semen, don’t they…
Art Institutions

Research gleaned for policy…
Sustainable Agriculture

They resigned but retained their shares…
Confessional Literature

The runner backlit, the port empty…
Strategic Minerals

The global grind of, what, criminality…

I can meet you but just in case…
Unaccompanied Minors

I wasn’t sure you’d want to…


The wall was “like” a flesh wound…

The cops were riding double and…

She showed us her bandaged knees…
Capital Controls


It wasn’t as counterintuitive as it seems…

Class Consciousness

The desert was beginning and end…

I examined my little script, neither ecstatic litany nor sober shopping list

Its uncertain cinematic vernacular

Lifted from the classical narrative modes in which I had been educated

Parables and poetics of the sitcom-strewn child out west, paracinematic

It told no story but what poem in a period film does

My preposition being that

I don’t believe in progress but I want it

Which I whispered to myself like any despondent and desirous spectator

Confronted with her many pallid screens and monitors

Wishing self-obliteration in the immersive experience

Of light and language-stricken bodies arranged as dusky interiors

For waged labors and amber embitterments, not metaphors but illustrations of interiority

Like the letter as a “recognizable narrative motif in the mise-en-scène

Of the period film”—what I mean to write is that this is a report

On the present and what feeds it, a letter as performative figure

“that carries an utterance through time or space”

Yet I couldn’t decide in which column or language to place

Those I loved who were mostly dead or had left

Whose names I knew by heart and circumstance

Who offered me life then exile and a body

For whose missing bodies I decried the inherited system, their postures

Shoulders syntax stain of throat sweet notes certain singular and seismic motions

I noted in my accounts as among my deepest privations

Anyway, if our ancestors are continually performing among us

As the Haitian painter theorized live online in our conversation last week

Like revolutionary letters, I thought briefly, then forced myself to refocus

Maybe I could catch a glimpse, catch a moment

Of their time, I thought, my heart in my mouth

Or my hand, as it were, organ as offering, maybe they’d return

I could feel my therapist sigh like an ancestor maybe would

Indiscreetly, all the world past and present on narrow, experienced shoulders

Swept over with a thin sweater, for there was no heating, the tenants couldn’t afford it

So I turned back to another set of windows

Where I found again and would like to report that

My inbox could be divided into two types of taking the wrong tone:

The progressive party emails from my first country:

This is Bad, Quinn or Quinn, Can You Believe It?!

I could actually

And the gallery emails of forced capitalist cheer

From my moneyed country following:

You’re Invited to a Zoom Champagne Brunch!

No invitation ever seemed so honest

It seems important to state here that

No emails of this kind came from my current country

In which I was only partly and precariously established

By which I mean I was the renter of an apartment

In an economy that was granular and shattered, and to whose many

Political parties I had no affiliation or subscription

Except for casual spaces run by mercenary artists who once in a blue

Moon sent missives on capital and care across our servers

Radical in their incoherence, their strange systems of

Capitalization and font-switching and self-importance

It was always the most shameless and vested in power who waxed

On about healing and vulnerability, I thought

And assholes who talked about fonts

Still it was true—the moon laboring blindly in liquid assent, I assure you—that

The new party in power had been going after the most vulnerable

In a made-for-TV way since their quick and necropolitical election

The local conservative media supported their endeavors enthusiastically

Filming them pulling displaced families out of squats

In the early morning hours, birds cooing from wet rooftops

The giant agaves quiet and inscrutable in lean shadow

On the hill, pulling moisture from air of petrol and Bergamot

That humid morning for example, as a collection of buses idled

Dispensing discreet clouds of exhaust like the cumulous punctuations of historical paintings

In the street of the squat, near the church parking lot, children wailed

Their exhausted parents stood in distress and full knowledge

The police in full medical gear to infer disease

The police in full riot gear to infer criminality

I have already written this once, no, twice

Was this a mediated exercise in the political imaginary

Of the exclusionary logic of the nation-state and its moving imagery

Or simply early morning in the early days of new far-right governance

The subsoil and subtext of liberal corporate-military ascendency

This the world since the sixteenth century and 5000 BC

Birds were burning with song on the hill like small brushfires

Shadowy trees of winter were chandeliers of bitter orange

As I sat in my rented interior, soothing myself with a litany most familial and sadistic

The families were loaded onto waiting buses

In front of the assembled cameras—and again I wondered about the cruelty

That the new government inferred of the general populace by this

How many times can I ask and narrate this

Was the local TV audience’s taste for brutality already extent or did they coax it

Into being like birdsong licking blue agave into flame

Like new opioids “flooding” the market for pharmaceutical heirs, mass death

For the grandchildren’s inheritance, or like the fast fashions of previous

Seasons, their once unknown but now necessary narcotic

For those too indebted to consider other forms of consumption and commerce

What, in other words, do we consume and what do we actually want

It remains though that in the street of the squat

The police were pulling at the thin shawls of mothers and sisters

Bright acrylic or lucid cotton, each flammable in their own way

Children pulling at their parents’ legs, crying wildly or sniffling softly

Tears their mothers would put out like small fires

As the buses pulled away

Then a note-taking journalist from the left in attendance

Was assaulted by the police for good measure, and that afternoon

Op-eds were written by sanguine college graduates from good local families

Claiming a renewed sense of Law & Order was good

For their country good for the economy good for national

Character good for property rights and those good properties’ absentee owners

So good, good, good, they lyricized the selfhood of abandoned buildings, mineral and moral

Of character, a magnanimous, vacuous language they gleaned

From the canon of capital, the dulcet altruistic tones

From their good colonial fathers, editors, despots

Language as ouroboros, I thought, absolving itself by eating itself

In between their sentences bodies tended to each other for death would arrive in the endnotes

The moon was still visible, lightly chalked to the wet blue sky

A beached eye whose focus was uncertain

Its evensong narcotic starting to level off

As police bricked up the building’s entrance

No shelter no shelter no shelter, no mercy either

Was the lingering liturgical text not the subtext there was no subtext can’t you read or sing

The church just across the street was brown, Byzantine, and quiet

Bitter oranges pilled the neoclassical grounds of the French Institute next door

Where locals took language classes and/or drugs

Thick garden walls covered with new and old lashings of graffiti, bird shit, and moss

The oily air smelled of herbs, citrus, exhaust, exhaustion, and authoritarianism

I might have already mentioned this

It smelled of violence—its logic renewed by the good families

Every generation for their greater, what, good and goods

For the greater, what, good, who really thought

The air was cool, it was still winter, the climate was still a disaster

During drinks later, as I recounted the morning, a guy said that they might be terrorists

Or diseased who knew didn’t they brutalize their women

Stoning them etc., to death, he added, looking at me, smiling, anxious, back straight

I told him he was mixing up countries, those who stoned women were our allies

And rich, they didn’t flee war on boats, they bombed instead

Don’t you get tired of using women as excuses for your violence I said

Far away from my perhaps unfair words even as I said this

He raised his eyebrows at me, only foreign feminist he knew

His very young wife sat quiet and bored beside him

Disassociating, as always, or so I always thought

Inside I felt familiar sorrow and outside I used familiar words

They darted around like birds, drinking in air rubbed with citrus and alcohol

We drank our drinks and some months later the pandemic it arrived

It arrived by air—in the bodies of the good sons and daughters

Of the good families who traveled goodly for education commerce government entertainment

It arrived by sea—in the bodies directing the good ships of goods

It arrived by word of mouth by wet pine by shipping container by yellow subtitle

By good it arrived (we had thought it might but still, good godly surprise)

Perhaps it arrived by me, for I had recently and often traveled

Anyway, I might note here that the new government quickly ceased

Their early morning ablutions of disappearances

Calling off their police as they might call off dogs, I thought, ungraciously

Stopped their nightly broadcasts of state violence and fake disease

For real disease it had arrived and so the state made a quick edit

From real violence upon the vulnerable to real concern for their citizens

Who were also vulnerable

Let that word stretch like gum across your tongue

Touching your mouth’s dry desert ceiling, its wet valley, guilty only of flood, its vault

Of viral air, watch it stretch across the mouth of the deserted urban screen

Slowed down like a film, frame, frame, frame

The displaced families who had been disappeared on buses

To camps outside the city—they were now locked in too

By the new government who pointed to new disease, such their luck

It now existed, though not, as it were, in the camps, not yet

In the city center a strange quiet descended, birdcall became extra lucid

My apartment became extra lucid, rote litany of days of uneasy, inexpert stasis

We were locked in too but we knew it was different in every way

The moon it waxed and waned, very vulnerable and repetitive

Exposed in the dark denim of air like a photograph

Like families in street or field exposed to the elements

Spring storms brought Sahara from the south, some surface of copper grit

For the terrace, red as a mouth, while bodies brought pandemic from the north

Short films of uncirculated images because these were not

The bodies meant to signify disease, we all knew this

I have been dreaming in subtitles

I might have mentioned this

Months passed we stayed in you know all this

Now the city is slowly opening but not the camps

What body is stateless? Goes the rhetoric of my emails

Each given a frame like a mouth, glowing like a fever with a question

But it remains that this is a real query, a true letter

In my dreams I stand at a desk piled high with papers

Petitioning for life—May I walk, may I read, may I work, may I sleep

May I dream, may I fuck, may I feed, may I love, may I have a family, may I be—

First: yes, yes, then no, denying each and everything

In my dreams such petitions are badly timed to the mouths moving in scenes

I cannot follow, the narratives of sea or land or emotional passage absurd or brutal and unending

And so I descend and exit this dream as I would a pale building

I walk up the hill past the ancient immortal agaves to the smaller church

Careful to breathe no bodies, cross no shadows, eat no bitter fruit

My eyes search the air for birds for temples for sea for him for her for language for danger

For some accurate index of this life, inexpert, sage-strewn, and cloudless

For vines of jasmine, sweet and burning, and balconies and highways of toxic oleander

If the government has ended their daily filmed briefings

With the sympathetic state epidemiologist, his crooked tie and worn brow did

Capture our hearts, did capture something of our emptied minds

But the scenario will be recast and rewritten, the regime and its police

Will begin calling the media again, the newspaper editor recovered from the virus

Healthy and determined they will restart production

Of moving images of a state violence so familiar they look like reruns

For a local viewership pale from interiors and sickness and sometimes hunger

There are no subtitles there are no subtitles there are no subtitles

Though the line to the food pantry is lean and grey and long as a sentence

Narrating the city like the ancient overbuilt river does in voiceover

There are camps on the mainland and camps on the islands

Camps of the water (we call them boats) and camps of the terra

Vul—, say the word vulnerable with your mouth full of water

Write it in your poem in your press release delete the word care

Meanwhile your inbox is full again, like water not paper

The great exhibitions have been delayed by one to two years

“An acknowledgment that it is impossible to move forward”

My inbox is full of this, missives in the language of delay

I wonder if I should also acknowledge this

Among the various errors that have created my current status

Perhaps I should also send out a press release, parroting such pale and pressed language

To my one surviving parent, my estranged husband

To the purveyors of my complicated immigrant status

To my employers and editors in various countries and geopolitical directions

To my friends of various regions to whom I fling my love and my sorrows

“An acknowledgment that it is impossible to move forward”

And yet I do, as through a poem or its film

With their undeveloped languages, badly timed and moonstruck

As through a city that films its deportations of people attempting to stay alive

Then offers the images to their citizens in place of sustenance

The subtitles not quite accurate though they fit the frame

I asked my therapist yesterday if the state could have coaxed into being

The pandemic by their fake suggestion of disease

Among those families and lonely figures seeking refuge from violence

The masks and plastic gloves in which they handled their bodies

Pushing them onto buses and out of the cities for the cameras

Setting the stage for the ubiquity of such images many months later

Framed by a narrow, historical window she looks at me quietly

She is quite lovely I have often noted this

She says Quinn our minds are not that powerful

She says that this is more of my magical thinking

But I remain, as ever, doubtful

It has been written that one should name the location

Where one came to voice, to name that space of suffering and theorizing

I’d like to name the birdsong that came to voice

In place of my voice and many others

In the footnotes and endnotes and rooftops of this singular and plural period

In this era of images scented with bitter orange, petrol, inherited violence, and collapse

Both societal and ecological, for nature only exists

If you consider yourself outside of it

Elders tell us, blue words oiled by deep extractions and night-blooming jasmine

International cooperation and bodies of water marked for death and tourism

I felt the atmosphere turn, I felt the apartment turn, but it was only another season

An earthquake troubling the ancient seabed

The moon poured itself out

And slipped by

And so did I

In this fair city of airs and airs and airs and airs

Each to be found here and elsewhere

Quinn Latimer is a poet, critic, editor, and occasional curator. Her books include Like a Woman: Essays, Readings, Poems (2017), Sarah Lucas: Describe This Distance (2013), Film as a Form of Writing (2013), and Rumored Animals (2012). Her poems, criticism, and more hybrid writings have appeared in Artforum, The Paris Review, The White Review, and Texte zur Kunst, and her readings, performances, and language-based moving-image works have been featured and exhibited widely. She is the editor or co-editor of numerous books, among them Amazonia: Anthology as Cosmology (2021), Simone Forti: The Bear in the Mirror(2019), The documenta 14 Reader (2017), and Pamela Rosenkranz: No Core (2012). Previously, she was editor-in-chief of publications for documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel. She is now Head of the MA at Institut Kunst Gender Natur, in Basel. She is curator of SIREN (some poetics), an exhibition on technologies of myth and mouth, earth and alarm, currently on view at Amant, New York.

Quinn Latimer ist Dichterin, Kritikerin, Herausgeberin und gelegentlich Kuratorin. Zu ihren Büchern gehören Like a Woman: Essays, Lesungen, Gedichte (2017), Sarah Lucas: Describe This Distance (2013), Film as a Form of Writing (2013) und Rumored Animals (2012). Ihre Gedichte, Kritiken und hybriden Schriften sind in Artforum, The Paris Review, The White Review und Texte zur Kunst erschienen, und ihre Lesungen, Performances und sprachbasierten Filme wurden in zahlreichen Ausstellungen gezeigt und präsentiert. Sie ist die Herausgeberin oder Mitherausgeberin zahlreicher Bücher, darunter Amazonia: Anthology as Cosmology (2021), Simone Forti: The Bear in the Mirror (2019), The documenta 14 Reader (2017) und Pamela Rosenkranz: No Core (2012). Zuvor war sie Chefredakteurin der Publikationen zur documenta 14 in Athen und Kassel. Heute ist sie Leiterin des MA am Institut Kunst Gender Natur in Basel. Sie ist Kuratorin von SIREN (some poetics), einer Ausstellung über Technologien des Mythos und des Mundes, der Erde und des Alarms, die derzeit bei Amant in New York zu sehen ist.