International symposium “Prisms of Silence”

EKA, Põhja pst 7, Tallinn

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On February 21–22, 2020, the Estonian Academy of Arts will host an international symposium titled “Prisms of Silence”. The symposium seeks to analyse and understand the prisms through which we could meaningfully reconsider significant silences. A particular interest lies in rethinking the silences about WWII, its aftermath and the Soviet era in order to explore how they could offer productive ways of understanding present social change. The main organizers of the symposium are Dr Margaret Tali at the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture at the Estonian Academy of Arts, and Ieva Astahovska at the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art. The symposium is a part of the collaborative project “Communicating Difficult Pasts” between the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture at EAA and the LCCA. The participants include humanities scholars, curators and artists: see the CFP.



Venue: Room A501, Estonian Academy of Arts,

Põhja puiestee 7, Tallinn



9:00 – 9:10 Welcome by Mart Kalm, Rector of the Estonian Academy of Arts

9:10 – 9:30 Introduction to the Symposium by Margaret Tali and Ieva Astahovska 

9:30 – 11:00  Session 1: Absences, their Impacts and Memory Work, Moderated by Violeta Davoliūtė, Vilnius University

Asja Mandić, Suppression of Socialist Narratives of the Second World War and its Modes of Visual Representation

Annika Toots, Exhibition Displaced Time: 10 Photographs from Restricted Collections as a Model of Remembrance

Jan Miklas-Frankowski, A City of Amnesia: Marcin Kącki’s Białystok. White Power. Black Memory

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee break

11:30 – 13:00  Session 2: Difficult Knowledge and Artistic Interventions, Moderated by Ieva Astahovska

Margaret Tali, Thinking through Silence and Mental Health in Recent Documentary Film

Zuzanna Hertzberg, Nomadic Memory: Artivism as Everyday Feminist Antifascist Practice

Rasa Goštautaitė, Contested Soviet Legacy: The Case of the Petras Cvirka Monument in Vilnius, Lithuania

13:00 – 14:00  Lunch break

14:30 – 16:00  Guided tour in the Vabamu Museum, Toompea 8 (1,5 h)

16:30 – 18:30 Session 3: When Sources Fail: Visual Languages for Analysing Past Trauma, Moderated by Margaret Tali

Assel Kadyrkhanova, Image, Sound, Absence, Silence. Artmaking on Historical Trauma

Lia Dostlieva, “I still feel sorry when I throw away food – Grandma used to tell me stories about the Holodomor.”

Kai Ziegner, A History of Violence 

Aslan Goisum, Realms of Memory and Sources of Resistance

18:30 – 19:30 Dinner



9:30 – 10:15 Short keynote by Giedrė Jankevičiūtė, Reconstruction of Contested History: Vilnius, 1939-1949, Introduced by Margaret Tali

10:15 – 11:45 Session 4: The Unspeakable and Agency, Moderated by Eneken Laanes, Tallinn University

Katrina Black, Absence as Form: Spaces of Articulation in the Work of Chantal Akerman

Kati Roover, Project Red

Jaana Kokko, Oral History and Moving Image

11:45 – 12:15 Coffee break

12.15 – 13.45 Session 5: Patterns of Muting and Silencing, Moderated by Siobhan Kattago, University of Tartu

Franziska Link, Brawling Silences. Rereading Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s Écrits Maudits 

Mischa Twitchin, Refracting Implication: The Uses of Silence

Jan Matonoha, Dispositives of Silence: Injurious Attachments and Discursive Emergence of Silencing; “Missing” Gender in Czech Dissent Samizdat and Exile Literature

13:45 – 14:45 Lunch break

14:45 – 16:15 Session 6: Breaking Silences and Challenges to Changing Discourses, Moderated by Ilya Lensky, Director of the Museum “Jews in Latvia”

Shelley Hornstein, Architecture’s Dirty Little Secrets

Ieva Astahovska, On Collaborations, Silences and Lustration

Maayan Raveh, The Implication of Silence – The Promised Land in Palestinian Christian Theology

16:15 – 16:45 Coffee break

16:45 – 18:15 Session 7: There and Not There – Ways of Giving Voice to the Past, Moderated by Pille Runnel, Head of Research at Estonian National Museum

Elina Niiranen, Finnish Linguist Pertti Virtaranta and Silenced Identity of Karelians in the 1960’s Soviet Karelia

Paulina Pukytė, Repetition of Silence

Elisabeth Kovtiak, (Non-)sites of Memory of the Holocaust in Belarus: Cases of Minsk and Brest

18:15 – 18:45 Final discussion and conclusions

19:00 – 20:00 Dinner


Supporters of the symposium:

EKA LOOVKÄRG – Eesti visuaal- ja ruumikultuuri õppe- ja
teaduskeskus (Sisutegevuste projekt)

Nordic Culture Point

Cultural Endowment of Estonia

EKA research fund

NEP4DISSENT: COST Action 16213

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Posted by Mari Laaniste

Institute of Art History and Visual Culture EventsOpen Lectures