Projekti peamine eesmärk on analüüsida eksperimentaalsust Eesti visuaal- ja ruumikultuuris uurides selle rolli nii ametlikes majandus- ja poliitprogrammides kui ka alternatiivsetes ja kriitilistes praktikates. Projekt, mis keskendub eksperimentaalsuse suhtele "normaalsuse paradigmaga", jaguneb peamiselt 20. sajandi kultuuri ajalooliseks uurimiseks ning eksperimentaalse nüüdiskunsti, -arhitektuuri ja -filmi analüüsiks. Erinevalt kaasaegsetes kultuuri- ja ajaloodiskursustes levinud käsitlusele, mis viitab eelkõige vormilisele eksperimenteerimisele, püütakse eksperimenti mõtestada uutviisi rõhutades mõiste transformeerivat ja kriitilist potentsiaali. Huvi keskmes on mitte ainult kultuurinähtuste vormi- ja sisuarengud (nt meediumivalik, alternatiivsed rahastamis- või produtseerimisviisid), aga ka teadmiste ülekandumine ühest distsipliinist teise: terminoloogia, teooria ja loovtöö instrumentide migratsioon ning eksperimentaalsust käsitleva diskursuse muutumine selle tagajärjel.
The main aim of this project is to analyze experiment in Estonian visual and spatial culture, and to investigate its role in official economic and political programs as well as in alternative and critical practices. By concentrating on its relation to “the paradigm of normality” in different periods, the project entails both a historical investigation of the 20th-century culture and an analysis of experiment as a working principle of contemporary art, architecture and film. Differing from the widely naturalised deployment of the term in contemporary cultural and historical discourses where it largely designates formal experimentation, our aim is to open up, and readdress, transformative and critical potential of this concept. Our interest include not only developments in content or form but also the processes of knowledge transfer from one discipline into another - migration of terminology, theories and instruments of creative work, and their effects on the development of discourse.
Using the umbrella concept of experimentation, the group studied Estonian art, architecture and film, focusing mainly on the late Soviet period, i.e. from the 1960s to the 1980s. It was a period of intense artistic exploration, when both new forms were experimented with and the scope of experimentation transformed terminology and theory leading to the migration of creative instruments. Andres Kurg studied paper architecture in the work of Tallinn School architects as well as Moscow paper architects. Both Mart Kalm and Kurg turned their attention to the collective farm, which in itself was a social experiment and sought a spatial outlet with the help of innovative architecture. Eva Näripea’s film research primarily focused on Eastern European science fiction films. Kädi Talvoja observed the art innovation of the late 1950s through the triennial format, which was new for the Baltics. In addition to the usual results in the form of research articles, the output also includes research-based exhibitions that were accompanied by a collection of articles such as Abstraction as an Open Experiment curated by Mari Laanemets with a focus on Sirje Runge’s works in Tallinn Art Hall (2018) and Leisure Spaces. Holidays and Architecture in 20th Century Estonia curated by Epp Lankots (with Triin Ojari) in the Estonian Museum of Architecture (2020). Katrin Kivimaa and Ingrid Ruudi added the perspective of gender studies, the former in her analyses of female artists and the latter in her work on architecture. The principal researchers and co-researchers have also been actively involved in writing about contemporary art, mainly in the form of reviews and criticism. Näripea academically studied contemporary author’s cinema concentrating on Veiko Õunpuu’s films and Johannes Saar studied the Art Museum of Estonia’s press communication under neoliberalism. The concept of experimentation has clearly broadened the understanding of the development processes of art in Estonia in the 20th and 21st centuries.