Russian Deaf Culture: From Boarding School to Museum explored the key factors that have informed the understanding of deafness in Russia since the mid-nineteenth century. Together with the curators of Council, artists Tarek Atoui and Alison O'Daniel looked at how our idea of hearing is represented in arts and how it is transformed by artistic practices.
Exploring physiological, social, and artistic aspects of hearing, the project analyzed non-evident connections between society's understanding of deafness, the development of academic music, the history of pantomime, the Soviet phenomenon of radio enthusiasts, and sound art.
The group's interdisciplinary inquiry, unprecedented for both Soviet and post-Soviet historical contexts, raised the question of access to archival documents and scientific research relating to "deaf culture". Principal sites of study in this project included All-Russian Society of the Deaf, the Museum of Deaf Education, E. T. Krenkel Museum of Radio and Radio Enthusiasts, and M. I. Glinka Museum of Musical Culture.
This project was part of TACET— an ongoing inquiry initiated by Council at the Sharjah Biennial in 2013, which continued with the exhibition Infinite Ear, conceived in collaboration with Tarek Atoui's project WITHIN and first presented at Bergen Assembly in 2016.
The research project was carried out in collaboration with Garage's Department of Inclusive Programs as a prologue for the exhibition Infinite Ear, presented at Garage in 2018.
Working within the local context and with the team at Garage, the researchers collected a number of important questions posed by deaf and hard of hearing artists, curators, museum staff, and potential visitors. These questions were condensed into an interview and featured in the video A Portrait in Progress, presented in Field Research: Liberating Knowledge. Progress Report II.
Researcher: Council (Grégory Castéra and Sandra Terdjman), Tarek Atoui and Alison O'Daniel