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Unfit Remains

A gripping and fascinating programme of ecological art, which will make us notice the surrounding environment and inspire us to act as one for the present and future of our planet.


Humans do not inhabit Earth alone, but how often do we pay mind to the millions of species with whom we share this planet? How often do we wonder about the effects our actions (or lack thereof) have on countless other animals and plants? Unfit Remains blurs the line between art and science, drawing attention to the fragility of the environment and the endangerment of species, all while making us care more about our world. The environment is a shared source of concern – and joy – for all of us.


The project explores the essence of environmental issues in a way that is sensitive and nuanced, taking a closer look at human activities that affect other species. The expressiveness of art, the inclusion of the public, and the extension of a personal experience will help the viewers relate more closely to issues that might seem distant otherwise. As a programme which unites contemporary art, natural sciences and humanities, Unfit Remains will draw the public’s attention to the extinction of different species. Through exhibitions and additional programs (workshops, curator tours, conversations), the extent and urgency of the Earth’s ecological crisis are presented, emphasizing the need to change our mindset in order to slow down these processes. Unfit Remains is aimed at all who are interested, especially younger people.  The programme includes the following events.

– “Unknown” is an exhibition curated by Sara Bédard-Goulet (Estonia/Canada) at the University of Tartu Natural History Museum (05.04-29.09.24) that consists of the artworks of foreign and Estonian artists. The art pieces will examine the processes of endangerment and extinction and the monitoring of these developments. The exhibition will be complemented by curator tours, and the conference Traces of Extinction (05-07.06.24).

– “Missing” is an exhibition curated by Marie-Laure Delaporte (France) and Sara Bédard-Goulet (Estonia/Canada) at Tartu Art House (23.08-06.10.24) where Estonian and international artists create a temporary museum for extinct species. The exhibition is complemented by curator tours and participative art workshops by Louise Gügi.

– Unfit Remains is connected to the research projects “Meanings of endangered species in culture: ecology, semiotic modelling, and reception” supported by the Estonian Research Council, and “Unfit remains: A research-creation approach to species endangerment” supported by the Estonian Ministry of Culture. The exhibition is also supported by the French Institute of Estonia.


Interdisciplinary and international cooperation will help raise awareness about the necessity to engage with and sustain a better environment, a responsibility that we all share. The project also emphasises local idiosyncracies, drawing on Tartu’s art and science networks and building bridges between the two fields. The personal experience gained from the artworks will increase the likelihood that the public will make more environmentally conscious decisions in the future. The project highlights a shared European concern for the environment and distributes knowledge, skills, and values that will contribute to supporting a better environment.