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18. May - 30. Sep

Toomemägi Revisited: Lifesaver


Tartu city | Toomemägi

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Toomemägi Revisited: Lifesaver

An outdoor artwork ‘Lifesaver’ introduces various aspects of genetics. The installation aims to highlight an important field in the symbiosis of modern art and science – genetics. To introduce the topic, artist Valdek Laur will place four different instruments, each playing four notes, on Toomemägi. Each note represents one DNA amino acid. Each instrument has a small piece of sheet music attached that represents a DNA combination and is easy to play following the colours. Besides the physical ‘genetic instruments’ on Toomemägi, you can listen to how digital synthesizers have interpreted the same genetic melody using the QR code attached to the instrument. The display stand introducing the artwork is located on Toomemägi by the towers of Tartu Cathedral. Genetic music instruments are installed in various places on Toomemägi: on the foot of Musumägi and near the K.J. Peterson’s and K. E. v. Baer’s monuments and the cafe Rotund.

The artist of the ‘Lifesaver’ project is Valdek Laur, who works in the fields of digital media, jewellery and metal art and is interested in scientific communication and the visualisation of complex concepts and data sets. Laur has also involved the forge technician of the Estonian Academy of Arts, Fred Truus and the musician Silver Sepp in the creation of the artwork.

Lifesaver forms part of the project ‘Toomemägi Revisited’, which brings to life Toomemägi Hill, so central to the city of Tartu, with light, culture and science. The project is part of the main programme of Tartu 2024: European Capital of Culture.

What makes Toomemägi so distinctive has evolved over the centuries. The heart of medieval Tartu and the historic centre of the university have both been located on this hill. Today, Toomemägi is a peaceful park in the centre of the city, and yet very few people end up here.

We are adding a new layer of interpretation to the heritage of this hill and welcome people from Tartu, Estonia and all over Europe to wander around here.

If you want to grab a bite or need a place to stay, see what the Tartu 2024 hospitality network offers in the area:

The project is supported by Tartu 2024 Foundation and the Estonian Research Council.


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  • Partially accessible for people with reduced mobility
  • Family friendly with a toddler


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Toomemägi, Tartu, Tartu maakond, Eesti

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