Accepted Paper:

Strangers in the Night  
Maarin Ektermann Mary-Ann Talvistu

Paper short abstract:

The project "Artist in Collections" brings into dialogue ten contemporary artists and ten small-scale heritage museums in Estonia. The two fields that have been operating in parallel manner will meet first time on such scale, set in the context of celebrating hundred years of Republic of Estonia.

Paper long abstract:

Long-term project (2017-2019) that we are presenting, sends artists to residencies to museums, where they will research exhibitions, collections, get to know staff members and observe how the museum positions itself in the local community. The artist will then execute a temporary intervention to museum's permanent exhibition, accompanied by public programs in artist's presence.

This project is mostly financed by the 100th anniversary celebrations of Estonia, which will give certain credibility to the experimental approach to the museums. Although we as the organizers will, content-wise, be given total freedom, we will nevertheless have to position ourselves in the framework of the official call of the celebrations - that of "giving gifts" to your country. Gifts function in a myriad of ways - pragmatic Estonians tend to say "give someone fishhook, not a fish". We hope that with this project we'll be gifting neither a fish nor a fishhook but rather new fishing spots. With thinking along and creating new contacts, we want support small, often enthusiast-driven museums that feel constant neoliberalist pressure to become more edutaining and attractive.

The project aims to translate the working methods of contemporary artists to small heritage museums, accenting empathy, not only critical approach, mixing publics and encouraging exploration of places outside capital Tallinn. During this project, we position ourselves as mediators rather than curators, which forces us to reflect on our own experiences - working in the largest art museum of Estonia, operating within the safety net of art world.

Panel P048
The Future of Anthropological Representation: Contemporary Art and/in the Ethnographic Museum