As Though We Hid the Sun in a Sea of Stories at Haus der Kulturen der Welt 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 that is still marked by the infrastructural reality of a 1,520-mm gauge railway. Known as the “Russian gauge,” these 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.
The exhibition presents a non-totalizing vision by way of summoning multiple forms of subjectivities, imaginations, and sensualities that were dimmed by colonization and later fell out of the modernist canon.
With contributions by Chingiz Aidarov, Auseklis Baušķenieks, Akhmat Biikanov, Lidiya Blinova, Pavel Brăila, Aslan Ġoisum, Enno Hallek, Saodat Ismailova, Nikolay Karabinovych, Anton Kats, Meiro Koizumi, Galina Konopatskaya, Xenia Kudrina, Zoia Lebedeva, Jazgul Madazimova, Ilmar Malin, Almagul Menlibayeva, Yäniyä Mikhalina, Pavel Mikushev, Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Nazilya Nagimova, Furqat Palvan-Zade, Natalia Papaeva, Sergey Parajanov, Kaljo Põllu, Valentina Rusu Ciobanu, Jaanus Samma, Afrah Shafiq, Tatnuu, Andro Wekua, Hanna Zubkova.