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From scientific discoveries to Tartu and Southern Estonian “Beetroot Washing machines” – Interviews with Tartu 2024 Projects

Photo: Kiur Kaasik Toomemägi Revisited Answers Katrin Tegova, Communications Manager for the Toomemägi Revisited Why do we need to “reopen” Toomemägi? Is it currently closed?  Reopening can be interpreted as revisiting or rediscovering. Of course, everyone can visit Toomemägi right now, but during the European Capital of Culture year it will reveal itself in a […]

Tartu bridge.
05. Apr Kaidi-Lisa Kivisalu

Photo: Kiur Kaasik

Toomemägi Revisited
Answers Katrin Tegova, Communications Manager for the Toomemägi Revisited

Why do we need to “reopen” Toomemägi?
Is it currently closed?

Reopening can be interpreted as revisiting
or rediscovering. Of course, everyone can visit Toomemägi right now, but during
the European Capital of Culture year it will reveal itself in a new way.
Toomemägi will be full of light, science, playfulness and cosy entertainment. Toome
will have more to offer.

If Toomemägi were a person then how
would they invite visitors? What kind of person would it be?

They would be an eternally youthful, curious, hospitable and humorous figure. Green
environment would be very important to them, and their greatest wish would be
that people would always feel comfortable around them. You will get a glimpse
of ​​how Toomemägi receives its guests already on June 4 at the food,
discussion and music day “Toome müks”.

What are the biggest scientific
achievements made in Toomemäe?

Thanks to Wilhelm Struve, who worked
in the observatory, we know the curvature of the Earth and from Ernst Öpik’s
observations of how far away the fog of Andromeda is. During the celebrations
of Juri Lotman’s 100th birthday, it is worth recalling that he wrote his
doctoral dissertation on Russian literature in the library located in the

The scientific achievements of Toomemägi are the scientific achievements
of the University of Tartu. Toomemägi became the heart of the university at the
beginning of the 19th century, and in 220 years a great deal of important
research has been made. Today’s innovation in genetic engineering or computer
science is also related to Toomemäe.

Surrealism 100
Answers Joanna Hoffmann, Tartu Art Museum director

Why celebrate the century of
surrealism in Tartu? Is Tartu a city of surrealism?

Tartu can be considered the centre of
Estonian surrealism. Although no unified surrealist movements emerged here,
several important artists are associated with Tartu: Eduart Wiiralt studied at
the Pallas Art School, Ülo Sooster also received his art education in Tartu,
and the art group Para ‘89, led by Ilmar Malin, was founded here.

What works are expected in Tartu?

It is still a surprise at the moment. For us too, because the exciting
curation process is now beginning. But 20th century as well as modern
surrealism from Estonia and abroad will be presented.

Photo: Mana Kaasik

Hidden Worlds Expanding
Answers Mari Vallikivi, Kondas Centre director

The Kondas Center, as the leader of
this project, has been working on the topic for a long time. What has been done
so far?

The Kondase Center has been
researching, introducing and collecting phenomena that have been left out of
professional art for more than a decade. Participation in the EV 100 art
programme gave us the impetus to search for and deal more systematically with
art made by people with special needs. The last few years have been years of
collecting – we have bought special art for the museum’s art collection, we
have received valuable knowledge from our European colleagues about their
practices. This summer we will test out a residency programme.

Who can be highlighted in Estonian outsider

It is difficult to highlight anyone,
there are many very talented authors. The variability of outsider art is
certainly surprising, which makes perfect sense, because for people who need
special support, creation is the tool that helps them better understand and analyse
the world around them, and in turn gives us the opportunity to understand their
inner world. 

Washing Machine Made of Beetroot
Answers Paavo Kroon (Estonian Road Museum), Madle Uibo (Tartu City Museum),
and Ilze Salnaja-Värv (Estonian Agricultural Museum).

This is an exhibition created with
the help of the Estonian people. What kind of support do you need?

We are looking for stories, photos
and objects that tell the story of the Soviet-era ingenuity and self-making.
Different museums focus their collection campaigns on rural and urban life and transportation.

Why were such things invented?

During the Soviet era, many items
were made due to a direct shortage and need that made people resourceful. Such
enduring intelligence could also be inspiring in today’s abundance. 

Have large Estonian museums
cooperated in this way before?

Joint exhibitions have been organised
in one museum and traveling exhibitions have been held together. As a
wide-ranging exhibition open simultaneously in several museums, the
collaborative project itself is an unprecedented “washing machine made of


Photo: Evelin Lumi

The South Estonian Community

Answers Kristiina Tammets, Tartu County Development Association

The community programme is waiting
for ideas soon. From whom and what ideas do you expect?

We are waiting for ideas for events
that best highlight the uniqueness, nature and cultural heritage of Southern
Estonia, but at the same time introduce our guests to our innovative and
inspiring ventures in both villages and companies.

Will communities remain or disappear
in a globalising world?

We see that communities are
particularly prominent in a globalising world, because that is what creates a
sense of security when you have people around you who share similar values
​​and are able to work together and create new solutions.

What makes Southern Estonia and our
communities special?

People – we have very cool people,
friendly, cheerful, creative! There is a lot to discover and sometimes even
mystery in Southern Estonia. Our cultural diversity is captivating and time
goes by a little more calmly here. Traditional skills have been preserved.

Tartu World University
Answers Triinu Laan, Tartu World University organiser

How will the world’s top science help
the communities of Southern Estonia?

We are ready for the positive
synergies that will develop between researchers and communities! Researchers
help communities ask the right questions about important topics, share their
knowledge, and work with the community to find answers and solutions. This will
be aided by value debates that can help overcome the differences that have been
an obstacle so far. 

The activities of your project have
started and the Southern Estonians can already get involved. How?

We have announced an open call for
World University ideas. Right now is the time to let us know what topics interest
your community what kind of community academy event you would like to organise
and experience in your area.

Photo: Kiur Kaasik

Kissing Tartu
Answers Kulno Kungla, Tartu Student Club director

What does a joint kiss look like and
how many participants do you expect there?

People of all ages can take part in the
kissing event on the Town Hall Square. This is the culmination of Kissing
Tartu, it is a great concert performance with an unprecedented joint kissing.
The best-known melodies of Eurovision through the ages will be heard during the
concert production. The lively concert and joint kiss will reach people all
over Europe as a TV broadcast. We expect 20,000 people to take part in the
event with their loved ones, parents, children as well as grandchildren.

What does Tartu want to say to Europe
by kissing?

We are talking about a kiss in its
deep and diverse meaning. Because a kiss is not just a kiss. It is also a
feeling, an action, a dialogue and much more. The fountain “Kissing
Students” on the square of Tartu Town Hall is a beautiful and dignified,
but at the same time romantic symbol of Tartu. It values ​​openness, humanity
and respect. We also think that everyone in Tartu and Estonia should be treated
well, regardless of nationality, race, age, gender or worldview. One of life’s
most important skills is to recognse, understand, and express love. Tartu is a
city where it must be possible for everyone in 2024 and beyond.

What role do students play in organising
the event?

Tartu is a city where kissing is a
topic surrounded by education, art and music! Students like the whole city are
welcome to take part in organising the event. Both as volunteers in the organising
team and as kissers, as listeners of the concert on the day of the event.

Wild Bits
Answers Timo Toots, Maajaam leader and co-curator of Wild Bits

Which artists’ works are expected?

Both Estonian and foreign artists,
selected through an international competition, will participate in the
exhibition “Wild Bits”. The first competition has been successfully
completed and 278 ideas were sent to us. As negotiations with the artists are
still ongoing, we will have to delay the public announcement of their names.
The other part of the participating artists is the great names of technological
art, who have been invited to participate by curators Timo Toots, Mari-Liis
Rebane, Taavi Suisalu, Kadri Lind and Marie Kliiman.

You are also cooperating with this
year’s European Capital of Culture Kaunas. What can be experienced in Kaunas?

are cooperating with the Kaunas Landscape Art Festival Magenta, which will take
place in September 2022. Within the framework of Magenta, our satellite
exhibition will also shown in the cityscape of Kaunas.

Photo: Mana Kaasik