Afrah Shafiq, Nobody Knows For Certain (2023), video installation (still). Courtesy the artist
As Though We Hid the Sun in a Sea of Stories
Oct 21, 2023 – Jan 14, 2024
Haus der Kulturen der Welt / HKW
Berlin, Germany

As Though We Hid the Sun in a Sea of Stories is an exhibition and research project that foregrounds an ever-incomplete weaving of narratives of artists, curators, writers, and customary knowledge holders. It traces the many worlds that have existed in parallel, often in spite of or against the oppressive visions imagined by successive regimes – the Russian Empire, the USSR, and contemporary Russia – that have controlled areas across Eastern Europe and Central and North Asia. Contributors work from different lineages and spheres, which overlap and are enriched by their very multiplicity. Together new cultural and political frameworks are imagined for a geographical area still marked by the infrastructural reality of a 1,520-mm gauge railway. Known as the ‘Russian gauge’, such tracks cross the territory of over a dozen countries that were once part of or in the sphere of influence of the Russian Empire and the USSR.

[ . . . ]

This project is co-conceptualized with curator Iaroslav Volovod, who has conducted original research focused on the colonial history of the Russian Empire and the USSR; artists and curators Nikolay Karabinovych and Saodat Ismailova; and historian and researcher of the former Soviet space, Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt / HKW
Berlin, Germany

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