Sunday, February 18, 2018







Tuesday, February 06, 2018



Walk”
Exhibition by Marit Mihklepp and Edgars Rubenis
17.02 – 10.03.2018 in Valga Museum
Opening: 17.02./13.00

The guiding theme of the exhibition is an exploration of the everydayness – both its environment and mindset. The works making up the “Walk” cast a curious eye on the forever-known and deadly-familiar, looking for cracks in their fabric through which new encounters with places/things/selves might be found.
Walk” results from the residency that Mihklepp and Rubenis carried out in Valga/Valka territory in the summer of 2017. In the course of this residency the Latvian–Estonian border, tying together these towns, was brought into their artistic practice and given a structuring role for the forthcoming exhibition.
Working with the border, Mihklepp and Rubenis were interested in bypassing its political and historically dividing roles and unearth in it a function that would allow to see its surrounding environment if not with an entirely new, then at least with a radically refreshed eye.
The exhibition works grew out from a performative intervention carried out on the border by the duo on the 14th of august, 2017. The performance involved a six hour walking of the border line that was interspersed with percussive activations/soundings of the border posts. In the course of the intervention the border was approached as a (musical) score. Important elements of the walk are the border posts, which in their natural environment indicate a meeting of different territories, but in the intervention they are translated into musical instruments.
The title of the exhibition – “Walk” – was adopted in order to make a connection with “existence of life throughout the times” that has been an ongoing process in the area occupied by the two cities. Valka/Valga’s original Germanic name Walk serves as an anchor in “the other end of history” for this linking.
Another meaning contained in the title is a direct reference to the actual walking that constituted the performance – a kind of primordial act of moving through and being with a landscape.
The exhibition “Walk” is part of the project “100 poplars” and is supported by Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia and their Estonia 100 art program “Comers, Goers and Stayers – the histories of Estonian communities”. The exhibition is also supported by Cultural Endowment of Estonia and Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia. 
//
Marit Mihklepp is Estonian artist, currently living and working in the Netherlands. She is researching how human everyday processes are related to the other members of the surrounding environment – microorganisms, chairs, stones, country borders. Since the graduation from the ArtScience Interfaculty in The Hague she is working with moving the bodies and imagination of the audience, using simple objects and instructions. 
Edgars Rubenis is Latvian composer and guitarist. Besides his solo practice and work with the ensemble Mona de Bo he also writes music for films, and theatre/contemporary dance performances. Currently Rubenis lives in the Netherlands where he is pursuing a master’s degree in electronic music and composition in the Institute of Sonology in The Hague.
This exhibition is the first collaboration of these artists.

More info: 
Tanel Rander
"100poplars"


As I've put it - this might represent the way of getting rid of a border and making people talk about art. It is about turning the border into an artistic experience and, as the border is the main feature of Valga/Valka that people tend to talk about, many things will change as this main feature and main subject get turned into something else.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Institutions in on the border: Valga Cultural Centre





Thursday, December 14, 2017


Monday, November 27, 2017


Friday, November 17, 2017




Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Valga residency apartment, July - November, 2017




Friday, October 13, 2017



"No Borders", photo series by Tanel Rander, 2013


Marina Gržinić has described “the Former East” as a spectral frontier that doesn't divide, as frontier normally does, but rather allows for a repetition and reproduction within itself of the modes of life (biopolitics), modes of death (necropolitics), structures of governmentality, institutional control, system of knowledge and regimes of aesthetics and contemporary art and theory from “former” Western Europe (Gržinić 2013, 208). The open borders and absence of difference (or the absence of Eastern Europe itself) can be illustrated very well by a McDonalds advertising banner, that could be spotted 2 years ago on the Estonian-Latvian border in Ikla. The banner had the image of the M-logo, that was surrounded by the stars from the flag of the European Union. Next to it was the slogan: “No borders! Next Stop – Pärnu”. Such cynical honesty is one of the symptoms of Eastern Europe – the polygon of things that are not possible in the West. Here in our freedom even global corporations can be honest about borders being open to the global capital and shut for wrong passports and the poor.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


SADA PAPLIT
Seal, kus üle Emajõe viib puust sild, istub tõmmu, mustade silmadega poiss kulunud sillapostil, ja tema selja tagant paistavad paplipuude õliselt läikivad lehed. See on pikk allee, mis ulatub kuni silmapiirini, kus ta leitsakust häguse taevaga kokku sulab. Kuhugi sinna kaob ka jõgi, mis on samuti taevaga üheks saanud. Küllap on kesksuvine aeg. Jõgi on raske nagu seisev vesi. Või nagu Doonau. Poisi selja taga, lehtede vahel võib aimata kuiva, päikesest paistetud puukoort. Paplilatvade tagant vilksatab türkiisi ja kulda, justkui paistaksid sealt kirikukuplid. Selline on minu ettekujutus Juka Käärmanni maalist “Paplipoiss”. Ma ei ole seda mitte kunagi näinud.
Kui paplid õitsevad ja õhus hõljub nende vatti, ilmub kusagilt välja terve hulk selliseid tõmmusid poisikesi. Nad jooksevad puude vahel ringi ja mängivad paplivatiga või lihtsalt seisavad keset alleed, rätik õlal, ise märjad soojast jõeveest. Ja kogu õhk nende ümber laulab, ja läbi lehtede paistev päike muudab valguse rohekaks. Kui paplid enam ei õitse, pole ka poisikesi kuskil näha. Siis vahel nagu viirastub, kuidas mõni neist kõlgub hõbepajude okstel. Aga tegelikult pole seal kedagi. Papli elanikud on selleks korraks läinud, et järgmise õitsemise ajal end uuesti näidata.
Sellised paplialleed on võrreldavad hiitega. Tartus, mõlemal Emajõe kaldal asuvad alleed on mulle ikka pühapaikadena tundunud. Nad on nagu ühe suure katedraali kaks löövi. Seal kõndides tekib tunne nagu viibiks mõnes kõrges auväärses kojas.
Ühel udusel sügisööl Emajõe paremkaldal seistes nägin ma sellist nägemust – vasakkalda allee paistis mulle tervenisti kätte, ja see meenutas hiigelsuurt kaldapervel seisvat rongi. Rong oli saabunud piki jõge, öö varjus. Kõik auras ümberringi. Hiljem ma seda rongi näinud ei ole. Aga ma tean, et kui selle paplialleega peaks midagi juhtuma, tuleb selline rong piki Emajõge Tartusse, ja noored tõmmud mehed astuvad sealt välja. Kogu linnarahvas peab siis asjad pakkima ja selle rongi peale astuma.
Varem või hiljem see aeg tuleb. Sest see ühiskond ei suuda end tagasi hoida – nad ei suuda lasta millelgi lihtsalt olla, lihtsalt elada. Kõik on vaja pöörata pahupidi! Kõik on vaja segi keerata, nii et alles ei jääks ühtegi rohulible, ja et kivi ei jääks kivi peale. Nad ütlevad, et see on areng – ühelt poolt paratamatu, ülemaailmne edasiminek; teiselt poolt majanduslik kasvamine. Ma tean, et see viimane on aga põhiline ja tegelik, ja see ei tähenda mitte midagi muud kui seda, et ühiskonna raha peab monotoonse tempoga saama ühe mehe rahaks. Et inimestel oleks tööd, nagu nad ütlevad! Et püsiks olukord, kus töötaja on vaene ja tööandja on rikas! Et püsiks olukord, kus rikas tööandja saaks makstud oma laenud! Kui silmad avada, võib näha, kuidas laenugraafikud kujundavad meie elukeskkonda – sellesse on tekkinud teatav sümmeetria, mida tekitavad igakuised maksed, kuupäevalise täpsusega. Sellise loogika alusel muutub ka keskkond – muutumine on pidev, etteaimatav, ometi ootamatu! Suurimaks takistuseks selles protsessis on muutumatu aine. See tähendab – kohad, mis lihtsalt elavad ja on! Aga nii ei ju tohi! Nagu ei tohi niisama, ilma midagi tellimata kohvikus istuda! See ei ole üldine reegel – nii on lihtsalt Tartus ja teistes jumalast mahajäetud paikades, kus kohvikukülastajal pole õigus isegi tasuta kraanivett paluda. Miks seisab see vana papliallee siis kasutult Tartus? See võõras, nõukogudeaegne külaline, kes ei suuda ajaga kaasas käia?
Muidugi, nad räägivad juba ammu, et pappel on nõuka-aegne puu. Justkui okupatsiooniaja sümbol. Et tema eluiga on lühike, ta on inetu ja ta mädaneb kiiresti. Paplid ongi kiire kasvuga puud! Sellistena tähistavad nad olevikku – hetke, milles me vahetult elame, kohta, kus me vahetult oleme. Aga selline positsioon ei ole jätkusuutlik, ütlevad nad. Paplid ei panusta tulevikku, erinevalt tammedest. Eestis ollakse valmis hävitama tuhandeid papleid, selle nimel, et saja aasta pärast kasvaksid siin võimsad tammed. Kui maalida praegusest Eestist maastik, siis võiks see olla üks söötis põld, kuhu on rajatud uuselamurajoon. Mööda põldu kulgeb pööraselt kallis ja valgustatud kergliiklustee, mille ääres kasvavad kidurad tammehakatised. Sellisel maastikul puuduvad juured, puuduvad igasugused materiaalsed seosed minevikuga. On vaid pidevat uuendamist ja taastootmist nõudev uuselamurajoon, mida kaunistavad ühemõõtmeliselt ideoloogilised tammed. Just nõnda toodetakse ja kontrollitakse samaaegselt nii ruumi kui ka aega. Aga millised on inimesed, kes sellistes kohtades elavad? Millised on sellistes kohtades toodetud inimesed? Milliseid raamatuid nad loevad, mida nad söövad, millist muusikat nad kuulavad? Ma ei näe neid inimesi mitte kunagi jalutamas, ringi vaatamas. Nad sõidavad autoga, rulluiskudega, rattaga. Või jooksevad. Neil on alati päikeseprillid peas. Nende riided on kirevad, neil on igasugused mõõdikud küljes. Nad läbivad keskkonda sirgjooneliselt ja funktsionaalselt. Nad akumuleerivad.
Inimese elu seisneb peamiselt mineviku ja oleviku vahel tasakaalu hoidmises – inimene on näoga tulevikus ja kuklaga minevikus, ta ei tegele oma vahetu kohaloluga, ta ei tegele hetkega, milles ta elab. Need on tema jaoks enesestmõistetavad ressursid – ka inimene ise on enda jaoks enesestmõistetav, ta ei pane iseennast tähele. Sellise loogika alusel tegutseb ta ka ajaskaalal – ta haarab minevikust ja istutab tulevikku, olevik on aga unustuses. Meil siin Ida-Euroopas on oleviku asemel põlenud maa! See tuleb katsest minevikku elimineerida – oleviku arvel. Ja tulevikku planeerida – jälle oleviku arvel! Olevik on elu, ja paplid on selle ideaalseks tähiseks. Jätke paplid rahule! Laske paplipoisil olla!
2014. aasta suvel aitasime meie – ameerika, eesti ja iiri kunstnikud – Luunja paplialleed kaitsta. Vald tahtis seda ilusat paika hävitada – jälle selleks, et rajada sinna kergliiklustee, asfalt, valgus ja kanalisatsioon. Me läksime nende paplite alla teed jooma – tegime avaliku protestipikniku. Ehk mõjutas see kuidagi Mart Raudsaare vastupanutegevust – sest see papliallee jäeti rahule! See jäi alles! Nagu ma juba ütlesin – kui Emajõe alleega peaks midagi juhtuma, tuleb rong! Meil kõigil tuleb selle rongi peale astuda ja meil pole aimugi, kuhu see meid viib. Mina ei taha selle rongi peale minna. Olen alati paplipoiste poolel olnud.
Eesti Vabariigi 100. aastapäev läheneb. Selleks puhuks on algatatud kampaania “100 tamme” – see on üleskutse, et üle Eesti hakataks istutama tammikuid. Mina aga kutsun inimesi üles mõtlema paplite peale. Pappel on oleviku puu! Pappel elu puu! Tema õitsemise ajal ilmuvad alleele ja Emajõe randa söesilmsed poisikesed. Laske lastel mängida, ärge hävitage nende kodu! 100 tamme asemel istutagem 100 paplit – kõikjale, kuhu võimalik. Rajagem paplialleesid – selliseid, mida kohtab kõikjal Kesk- ja Ida-Euroopas. Õitsemise ajal mängivad nende ümber väiksed poisid. Tammed on juba olemas – minevikus ja tulevikus. Paplid las õitsevad praegu, las nad kasvavad ja kestavad! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

HUMAN FORESTRY 
manifesto of 10x10m group, October 2013, Kiasma, Finland

„Human Forestry“ is a political statement and a critical act, but also a real life exposure of exploitation and instrumentalization of human labor and natural resources in the context of relations between the Western and the Eastern Europe. Although we, the Estonian artists of 10 x 10 meters, have been working without salary on this performance, the statement is not only focused on the matters of contemporary art system. We are loyal to the organizers of Performance Compost in Kiasma and thankful for the invitation. Our statement advocates racialized and exploited East European labor in the West, pointing at the problematics of Estonian immigrants working in Finland.
The triumph of the Western global capitalism has created the situation where officially 30 000 and inofficially around 100 000 Estonian immigrants are working in Finland, typically for lower wages than the local workers, leaving their lives, homes and families behind, to the East European country with growing poverty and social catastrophy. Although it started much earlier than in 2004, it is part of the European Union enlargement agenda. According to Austrian journalist Hannes Hofbauer, long before the creation of juridical framework for EU enlargement, the former Soviet lands created three pilars of transformation that would correspond to the logic of the capital: a) hyperinflation and shock therapy; b) creation of the market by renewing the „stagnant“ society and creating new labor market for the Western capital; c) reforms and privatizaion. The hypothetical freedom that the Eastern European countries achieved after the collapse of Berlin Wall in 1989, quickly turned the sensitive post-communist East European landscape into cowboy-capitalist battlefield, preparing space for the Western capital to land, on the expenses of local human lives and welfare.
Before we start talking about self-colonization in East European countries and searching for the hidden capitalist spirit inside Soviet communism, that, according to the Western leftist thought, was a failure, we should keep looking at the propaganda mechanisms by which the Western capital exposed itself during the Cold War era. The creation of East European nation states was the necessary input to switch into the machine of global capital and global culture. A typical political coctail in Eastern Europe is nowadays neoliberal politics that go hand in hand with nationalist conservatism. The latter works as a formalist justification and pain killer to cover the bitter truth that East European nation states are masks for global capitalism. Their whole set up – the educational system and mainstream culture included – works as farm of cheap human labor.
It is a known fact that East European immigration has it`s economic influence to the Western labor market and social welfare in general. For example, in the case of United Kingdom it is known fact that the East European invasion was high in the same time, when unemployment was increasing. The main reason for this flow is that East Europeans are more willing to do “dirty, difficult and dangerous” jobs for lower wages than the locals would get. The similar thing is going on in Finland, where Estonian construction workers have become almost like a trade mark. The will of East Europeans to do „dirty, difficult and dangerous work“ for lower income cannot be reduced to subjectivities or Protestant work ethics or experience of Soviet communism, as well as it cannot be reduced to the backwardness, destructiveness and brutality of East Europeans. The only cause of this self-destructive will is the social disaster, created by neoliberal politics of East European nation states, surrendering the dictatorship of free market and global capitalism. As a result, the local life suffers – for example the Estonian health care system lacks of quality, because of the migration of the medical workers. The entire social system of the country is moving towards the model of the United States. Such a model has been described by Achille Mbembe and Marina Gržinić as necrocapitalism – a system that lets live those who can socially survive on their own and makes die those who cannot.
The similarity of language and culture (whatever that means) has united Finland and Estonia to a certain kind of kinship, which in current situation unfortunately involves above mentioned perversity and abuse. Because of today`s reality, it is becoming the dark side of the hypothetical Finno-Ugric culture and this should make us re-think such cultural relations and constructions from the colonial and neo-colonial perspectives. Similar abusive kinship is going on between Romania and Italy – there is similarity between languages and a hypothetical cultural bridge, mainly meant for the Romanian immigrants to be mistreated and underpaid in Italy. As in that case, the difference between Finland and Estonia has sociogenetic origin – the difference is racial, and it occurs typically in neo-colonial relations between the East and the West, but more specifically, between the Baltic region and the Nordic countries, such as Finland and Sweden. Although the borders within the EU are meant to be dissolved, the East considered to be the former East, and the West considered to be the former West, it is still evident that the borders exist. These are invisible borders between people, based on racist foundation of labor.
The dream of freedom – the freedom to live and work wherever you like has turned out to be the freedom to live in terrible conditions and work for lower wages that in Estonian context means good income, and to be separated from your home and family, that are left to the other side of the Gulf of Finland. The subjective freedom is an institution, part of a huge exchange machine that is best displayed in the traffic on the Gulf of Finland – since the end of the 80s there has been the „cultural bridge“ with input of Finnish alcohol tourists and consumers for Estonian prostitution, and output of Estonian immigrant workers, happy to form the new Estonian middle class by being underpaid in the West. Because of the benefit that the Western countries get from cheap East European labor, the poor conditions in the East form the necessary soil for successful harvest. Therefore Estonian poverty as the cause of massive immigration can be seen as the natural resource of Finland, and in that case the Gulf of Finland can be seen as a contemporary version of the Middle Passage. 
 There is an African proverb: „He who doesn`t know where he came from, doesn`t know where he is going“. The official policy of East European countries keeps the Soviet period in the status of trauma and rupture, a blank space between two capitalisms – pre-Soviet and post-Soviet. The time inside the blank space is treated as a bad dream, although the bigger part of lives of many active East Europeans, including politicians, passed during that time. East European identity politics has placed the trauma to the Soviet period, which has juridical and ideological grounds, although the traumatic moment was the fundamental ideological switch – „the new system“, if you wish. The switch of ideology wasn`t only about the political system or way of understanding things – ideology rules the entire life, with it`s past, present and future, with it`s organics and origin. According to many opinions coming from Eastern Europe, in Soviet times people never felt themselves as a senseless biopolitically instrumentalized mass as they feel now. Even in severe cases of social injustice, there remained hope and understanding of truth. But it was like that also in the Western society, during the period before the outburst of global capitalism. Although the entire world has changed, it is important for East Europeans to understand where they come from and where they stand. For the Western countries it is important to understand their post-colonial and neo-colonial liability.
The performance „Human Forestry“ by 10 x 10 meters is dedicated to Estonian immigrants working in Finland, but also to all other East European workers in the West. The performance takes place in Helsinki, Kiasma and includes the following: Estonian national resources – timber and human labor – are transported over the Gulf of Finland on the expenses of Estonian taxpayers. The timber – a huge pile of logs – will be located to a gallery space in Kiasma, by using physical work of four people. Kiasma as the hosting institution for this event is free to interpret, use or archive the embodiment of Estonian labor. Current statement is addressed to Finnish and Estonian societies. Whoever agrees with us and wants to contribute, is welcome to help us roll the logs in Kiasma 2 PM – 5 PM, 7-th of October 2012.

*10 x 10 meters


Members of 10 x 10 meters: Eva Labotkin, Epp Kubu, Tanel Rander, Mai Sööt, Villem Jahu and Andrus Lauringson








Monday, August 13, 2012


Stefan/István Báthory, Valga 2012


It was around 2011, when I became an East European. First step towards this realization was my participation in the 3-day performance-experiment "Klima", leaded by Mike Hentz. The other steps I made  in Vienna, where I moved right after. I did a lot of re-thinking over my past and present, over the issues of geopolitics and subjectivity. Since that I've been living in Eastern Europe, the huge border area, without any particular shape or identity. Since that I speak English with strong accent, although I started to learn this language in 1989. And I travel, I constantly travel. But not from country to country, I travel in this huge "homeland" that is set up by negative symptoms mostly. Estonian/Latvian town Valga/Valka is the embodiment of the East. A shrinking, basically abandoned town with 2nd biggest unemployment in Estonia. A place of wondrous things, dreams and realms. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012




invisible wall, psychogeographical expedition to Bratislava, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thank you Laura Põld, thank you Marek Mäemets, thank you Epp Kubu, thank you Eva Labotkin, thank you Indrek Grigor, thank you Kaisa Eiche, thank you Eesti Kultuurkapital, thank you Archimedes, thank you Balti Veski AS, thank you Timo Toots, thank you Tartu Kunstimaja, thank you Tartu Kunstimuuseum

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I N V I S I B L E  W A L L 
Psychogeographical expeditions in border area between Austria and Slovakia
Vienna and Bratislava are almost the closest capitals in the world, the distance between the cities is around 56 km. After Slovakia entered into Schengen zone, there is no active border control between the countries. Conditions for interaction between the two cities are good (infrastructure, regular public transport, small distance, etc), but still Bratislava has quite a marginal position among many people in Vienna, who`s geographical priorities are West-oriented (as almost everywhere in the world). The causes such tendencies might also be related with the Austrian imperialist nostalgy (Bratislava is still known as Pressburg among many Austrians), prejudice at former Eastern Europe and the isolating matrixes of nation state ideologies. 
Psychogeography is a metaphor, which characterizes a site related consciousness as a developing process in constant change and recovery. The site might vary from direct physical surroundings to wide abstractions. The process might involve artistic practices and outputs, related to any content – from perception matters and interpretations (poetics of space, synesthesia, apophenia, mythogeographies, etc) to critical research and intervention.
Psychogeographical expeditions create personal and/or shared experiences of space. Crossing borders or experiencing border areas expand the geographical consciousness to marginal non-places, that exist as scaffolding and buffer zones for mainstream landscape units. The participation of such expeditions is based on individuality (the aims and outputs of every single participant are different and can be used for different purposes) and shared experience, which are usually reflected by documentation, intrpretation, symbolization, etc.
INVISIBLE WALL is a part of my artistic PhD research project and is focused on studying the set-up of (former) East-European landscape paradigm.
First expedition of INVISIBLE WALLS project takes place in 24-th of March 2012.
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION:
a) Border and it`s embodiments: natural borders (Danube) vs political borders; the politics of nature and natural borders. Embodiments of the past – the contemporary border landscape as result of Socialist past. 
b) The identity of border: border as the political language of landscape; Danube river as fundamental border (grand narrative of landscape) in Europe; Danube as communication channel and rhetorical platform – border as communication unit.
c) The identity of landscape: understanding nature; from idosyncrasy to biopolitics. How do border landscapes deconstruct landscape iconographies (Austrian landscape, Slovakian landscape, Western landscape, Eastern landscape, Capitalist landscape, Post-Soviet landscape, Globalist landscape, etc)?
d) Allusions of landscape: Roman imperialism (Petronell-Carnuntum, Danube), Austro Hungarian imperialism, Socialist Era, East vs West.
e) Contextualization of landscape and the experience; de-conceptualizing the whole event and setting up alternative, artistic and non-artistic positions.
The expedition in not a sensational artistic one-timer event, it is a starting point of continuous thinking about borders in different geographical contexts. The output of this event might be collection of experience in the form of texts and artefacts, thoughts and activities.
List of former psychogeographical expeditions, performed with Tartu experimentalist movement "eksp".

Friday, December 09, 2011

Ideological exploitation of landscape
Recently there was a Facebook wave of sharing a comparative image "Forest in winter vs Estonian flag". The image is like this:
I think it is a good example of landscape turning into ideology or the ideological content of landscape itself. Estonian flag has institutional background as it derives from the flag of Estonian Students Society, created in 1884. The meaning of the tricolour is stated by Estonian Students Society as following: 
Blue - belief and hope for the future of Estonian nation; loyality
Black - the dark and painful past of Estonian nation; the soil of homeland
White - motivation for educational and mental development of Estonian nation; also snow and white nights; the white peel of Estonian birch trees.
So, landscape has no straight link with the tricolour. In 19th c. context, landscape has a specific meaning, mainly it`s related with enjoyment - a painting on wall or a nice view of nature. Enjoyed and controlled by the privileged class, of course - by a romantic wanderer, poet, landlord, etc. Just like this:
 Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818), painting by Caspar David Friedrich
"This is not a wanderer, this is a conqueror!" said my friend Luca, when i showed him picture of this painting, after discussion on legendary Estonian poet Juhan Liiv and his poem "Wanderer". That poem is also something that makes questions on ideological exploitation of a content or the presence of ideology inside the content. "Wanderer" (and also Juhan Liiv) is in almost every Estonian`s heart, but the poem and the poet have a controversial exclusive-but-marginal position. Like the landscape "forest in winter". It addresses human condition, also human`s relation with nature and landscape such a way that it cannot be considered as nationalist propaganda, written by a hegemonist intellectual. (It must come from pre-ideological consciousness. Is such thing possible?) But it`s clear that it can be portrayed and exploited as such.
What is the wanderer doing, when standing on the mountain top and looking over the foggy Bohemian landscape? Observing the perishes of Austrian Empire, covered by fog, which signifies the multiculturality, ethnic diversities! And he, the German, is above it all! For him the sky is clear and the sun is shining!
Singaporean psychogeographer Debbie Ding has interpreted the wanderer of Caspar David Friedrich in a very proper way (link), projecting him as a colonizer and capitalist to views of London, Paris, Singapore. Yes, the wanderer has won, the contemporary world belongs to him. Wandering as capital accumulation!
"Colonize this" (2011) by chaneldior
The wanderer facing an empty landscape, which just coincidently refers to Estonian tricolour. What is he looking at? His lost colony or a potential market? National pride for Estonian birch trees? Or is it maybe contemporary Estonian society as a normal consequence of global capitalism - an empty and abandoned land, which is left behind by unemployed, underpaid and underdeveloped East-Europeans? The popularity of the landscape tricolour image speaks about the ongoing conservative turns and progress of nationalism (as emotional resistance to globalism) in Eastern-Europe that refer to the common need for security and identity. But not only. There is also this unexplainable matter, a specific relation with nature, which quickly dissolves into East-European syndrome - an irrational will and inability to make onself understandable and acceptable to the great master - the Western Society.
The same wanderer appears in a landscape painting of Estonian artist Kiwa - in his paintings, digital landscape photos (but also sounds, videos) have been deconstructed by functional misinterpretation technique (photos, sounds and videos are opened by a text program). 
Fragment of painting from exhibition "Wildlife documentaries", Kiwa, Draakon Gallery, Tallinn, 2010
In discourse of pre-semiotics vs semiotics the wanderer refers to the relation between language and its resources, or the end of language, chaos. But in current context he is himself - the capital owner - observing the flooding information and chaotic file sharing, which has turned into religion (Church of Kopimism) already. But he has the ACTA in his pocket and the chaotic text landscapes are like swampy Oderbruch area, waiting for human hand! Walter Benjamin has written that an ecstatic encounter of masses and technology is like copulation - and index of sexual deliht and the birth of something new.   
The flag of Soviet Estonia has a straight and intentional reference to landscape:  
The seawaves refer to the main identity basement of the whole region. But the image also speaks about the political status of the country: under the rule of soviet symbolics, the flag has pan slavic colors - red, blue, white.
 FIRE SALAMANDER
This is a fragment from Old City Hall of Bratislava. How did the fire salamander get into architecture? Well, Central-European forests, covered with dry leaves, are the home for this creature. Aswell as the entire Europe to the south or west from the Carpathians. Fire salamander is the natural source for mythological creatures, symbolics, ideologies, etc. The animal itself (salamandra salamandra) is a black lizard with yellow spots, which in the head area are poisonous. It burns, when you touch. Because this lizard has seen the fire.
In mythology, salamander is the one, who is guarding deep caves with gold and silver melting together in the deep of earth. Therefore, basilisk is coming as the owner of the worst poison, which has also power to return life when it has passed in special cases, and which is associated with philosophers stone. Basilisk - the king of snakes, or the dragon. Together with salamander, they handled the treasures, as salamander could stand the powerful fire of basilisk, the fire, that could turn anything to gold (reference to Nina T).  Who was the owner of those underworld treasures? Of course, all such treasures belong to dwarfs. The germanic dwarfs! 
It is an historical interpretation and a symbolic legitimation act that the colors of Habsburg flag correspond to the colors of Holy Roman Empire`s coat of arms. In this case there is also another layer of reality. The Habsburg empire can be compared with fire salamander, a site specific creature, that`s mythology reflects the Habsburg identity quite well. Basilisk is universal symbol of The Other, mainly a hostile force or an enemy. Killing a basilisk is a common symbolic act of taking power, creating a kingdom, spreading an empire. Its represented in symbolics of many countries. Not in Habsburg Empire, which was an extremely diverse and multicultural area. In this empire basilisk and fire salamander live together, basilisk creates wealth and salamander protects it. Everything is owned by a dwarf. Or not. That is still a question, whether Austrian identity can be linked with dwarfs. Lets call it a silent presence of a dwarf. Probably the empire is most comparable with the basilisk itself, a german dwarf, who has gone too far to the east and is protecting himself with fire salamander, the site specific content, a lot of nations, who he uses and exploits as a shield against Russian and Ottoman empires.
Here is a legend from Vienna about basilisk as mythological creature living in a well. The basilisk is killed with a mirror. This story probably refers to real estate issues.

 Basilisk; Old City Hall of Bratislava

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Dwarf goes through Hungary
(translation from Estonian)

From a green morning soil

on a field,

in maize leaf shades,

the sniper rises from the east,

and chariot is golden.

And roads all in dust

and sledges rolling over,

the märd is singing
like the nürd -

a foggy, hilly promise!


If you
brought a donkey there

he is going in the front

of burden,

tanks and pieces,
gentlemen


the basket squat releases
in maize leaf shades,
one is hiding in a box,
and fresh is mind,

in this cucumber field.
Already someone rises there,
under sharpened sky,
above a little lake
it makes a turn,
for a while,
sterna hirundo
from Emajõgi,
that`s who it is,
Im all happy, so...
well...hello.. hello!

the song

Link

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Danube under Margit Hid, Budapest


Everything runs into Emajõgi

Emajõgi (direct translation from Estonian: mother river), the pulsating vessel that runs through Tartu and distinguishes the North and East European landscape paradigms (in my opinion South Estonia belongs to the inland paradigm that covers the eastern part of the Baltic States, Poland, European Russia, Belarus, North Ukraine). The huge inner European rivers begin from South Estonia, Emajõgi on top, just like a monument. Rivers are earth`s blood vessels, carrying the same stream. It`s not just a romantic translation of reality, but it`s something that goes on in language and consciousness, in the cultural layer of landscape.

Emajõgi in German is Embach. There are several villages named like that around München and Innsbruck. Emajõgi in Latvian is Mètra, it`s direct translation is peppermint, Mentha Piperita in Latin. All roads lead to Rome and from Rome to Ancient Greece, so you can see how Mentha Piperita transforms into Mintha, the underworld goddesses, associated with underworld rivers, like Kokytos. If we leave this track and try another association Mètra - Mithra, we will face a specific Persian religion, the cult of Mithra. In Aquincum, on the shore of Danube, there used to be the temple of Mithra, built by Roman soldiers from eastern areas of the empire.


A holy place, set up by trees around an amphitheatre, which i rather see as a signifier of the Mètra cult

Does it mean that all associations, all the roads lead to Rome? It`s up to us to decide, if we want to give ourselves to the historical narrative and support the institutional set-up of reality, or if all these villages around München and Innsbruck are dedicated to Emajõgi and so is the Mithra (Mètra) temple in Aquincum? Rivers are older than culture. Emajõgi and Danube speak the same language and flow in the same direction, from west to east, though Danube has got more spacial influences, it can speak in different dialects. It starts from the Black Forest, in Central-Europe, it`s water is blue-green and the stones in it`s bottom are white, though near the delta it`s quite similar to Emajõgi in it`s delta. It`s like a mirror effect - to the North from Emajõgi delta, there is Varnja village on the shore of lake Peipus; to the South from Danube delta, there is Varna city on the shore of Black Sea. Emajõgi is still like a miniature monument of Danube, or on contrary - it`s the result of something that happened in Black Forest and that flew into Black Sea.



Thursday, November 17, 2011


Choose your favourite topic: a) this lizard, living on the banks of Miljacka river or; b) the assassination of Franz Ferdinand; or c) the siege of Sarajevo?