Artur Klinau is a new star of the Belarusian cultural scene, but certainly not a newcomer in the art sphere. He is an architect, conceptual artist, photographer, writer, and publisher of the cultural magazine “pARTisan”. In his project “Minsk. The Sun City of Dreams” Artur Klinau combines literary texts with photography experiments. His ultimate goal is to present a new, unexpected image of the Belarusian capital as a city, which embodies the utopian idea of the society of happiness. In 2006 “Minsk. The Sun City of Dreams” was printed in the German language by the Suhrkamp publishing house.
Below you can find several chapters of his book translated by the Office for a Democratic Belarus. Enjoy your trip to the Sun City of Dreams!
If you arrive in Minsk by the train coming from Europe, the Sun City will welcome you with the spacious Square of Gates. But before that your train car will meander through the factory suburbs. Still, you will hardly see the factories. Only their long corridors of brick fences, warehouses, and some other strange buildings face spectators. There is a main train station on the Square of Gates. There used to be two major train stations in the Sun City, but then the south-north railway line died off. The west-east direction, on the other hand, has gained so much importance, that the Square of Gates and its train station are now whirling with all kinds of life round-the-clock.
The never-ending cavalcade of trains crosses the Square of Gates. They are going from west to east, heading from Berlin, Paris, Brussels, and Prague to Moscow, the capital of the former Empire. Some time ago the main train station occupied another building, constructed in the 50’s. However, when it was not able to cope with the scope of local life anymore, the building was demolished. A Hall resembling a giant crab was built instead. Its many floors host dozens of twenty-four-hour cafes, restaurants, passenger waiting rooms, and shops.
The Square greets you with a Gate of two pyramidal towers. At the corners of their middle tier stand eight statues of the Sun City Guards. Only recently have these Keepers of the City returned to their usual places. They were gone from the towers when I was still a child. But I remember that during hot summer days, when we wandered aimlessly along the dusty nooks of the City, the Guards still startled us with their presence. Some of them lay idly under the huge arches, which connected the Square to the sub-palace park, spread out behind the towers.