Critics’ Picks

Tali Keren, The City’s Craftswoman, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 13 minutes.

Tali Keren, The City’s Craftswoman, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 13 minutes.

Tallinn

“Intensive Places”

Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM)
Rumbi 3
September 4–October 17, 2021

Organized by the Creative Association of Curators TOK (Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits), the main project of the Sixth Tallinn Photomonth biennial, “Intensive Places,” brings together thirteen artists and artist duos to examine the impact of the urban and rural environment on human activity and vice versa. 

Tali Keren’s thirteen-minute video The City’s Craftswoman, 2015, documents the Municipality of Jerusalem’s model maker as she updates a scale model of the city with the buildings that have been granted planning permission: a seemingly innocuous undertaking that glosses over the potential political repercussions of these structures in occupied territory. Exploring a more corporeal link between humans and their surroundings, Laura Kuusk’s installation How to Move Like a Slime Mould, 2021, features dangling headphones, houseplants, and a pliant silicone floor, which the public is invited to stand on barefoot. A soft-spoken soundtrack coaches participants into activating “slime mould mode,” triggering a sense of slippage between plant matter and human bodies.

In Terike Haapoja’s Muse, 2020, the artist looks to the natural environment as a source of creativity, love and activism. Located in the National Library, the two-channel video installation, one of three off-site works, consists of conversations among the artist, her sculptor father, a musician, and a playwright, all staged on a beatific Finnish island. The artist’s exchanges with her father are particularly poignant: The forest they are in recalls the South German woods where his family foraged as Hungarian refugees following World War II. In the rapidly gentrifying districts of Tallinn, it may be all about location, but “Intensive Places” reminds us that the space we inhabit is always more than its mere coordinates.