“The Embassy of Utopia: Happiness for Everybody, Free of Charge, and May No One Be Left Behind!*”
Open Mon–Fri 12–9 pm & Sat 5–11 pm (part of the reception), free entry
The Institute of Meetings & Non-Meetings opens the Embassy of Utopia at the EKA Gallery on February 19th. On the final evening of the performative installation, February 24th, one hour after President Alar Karis steps up to the lectern at the Estonia Theatre to deliver Estonia’s most anticipated speech of the year, the Embassy of Utopia will present the year’s most unexpected speech.
The speech will not be written by artificial intelligence or a freelance poet. It will be written by those who gather at the Embassy, those seeking poetic refuge.
“We have dealt with speeches in the Institute’s and Paide Theatre’s previous projects and confirmed that the core of a good speech is a clear message. But the world is not clear, and it seems that every speech, aiming to bring clarity, spreads confusion. Therefore, we decided it was time to turn our backs on clarity and create a speech that acknowledges confusion,” says one of the participating artists, Jan Teevet.
“One might ask, what distinguishes the Embassy of Utopia’s speech from any much-maligned internet forum. The answer can be found in the phenomenon of meeting. From Monday to Friday, when the Embassy’s doors at the Estonian Academy of Arts are open to all passersby, dozens of groups will meet there, not aiming for a mediocre compromise, but to build bold connections between views, crises, and solutions that frame their personal realities today,” adds the Institute’s dramaturge, Oliver Issak.
“A clear message, a clear tax system, a clear line between good and evil — we often think that clarity takes care of everything and everyone on its own, not noticing that clarity can often be uncaring. Clear messages are easier to receive and categorize, but how to organise a reception for doubts?” asks sociologist and artist-researcher Margaret Tilk.
The Embassy of Utopia is open from February 19th–23rd from 12–9 pm and culminates in the Embassy of Utopia’s reception on February 24th at 5 pm.
Entry to the Embassy is free for all, and everyone is free to decide whether it is an exhibition, a theatre production, a workshop, a meeting, a political-poetic consecration, a deep hangout, a minimalist opera, or something else entirely. One may also choose not to decide.
The Embassy of Utopia’s daily life and nightly fiction are created and organised by Oliver Issak, Kairi Mändla, Jan Teevet, Taavi Teevet, and Margaret Tilk.
“The Embassy of Utopia: Happiness for everybody, free of charge, and may no one be left behind!” is the fourth event in the series of actions created by the Institute of Meetings and Non-Meetings. The doors of the Embassy of Utopia first opened in May 2023 at the invitation of the international literature festival Prima Vista and the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024, with the subtitle “Longing for a different reality”, and from September, the Embassy of Utopia’s radio action goes live on Klassikaraadio on the last Sunday of every month. On December 31st, 2023, a 5-hour New Year’s Eve special was broadcasted on Klassikaraadio’s wavelength, “Embassy of Utopia: A Thousand Toasts to the Future”.
The Embassy of Utopia is a sanctuary for positive uncertainty, bold thought, and untamable imagination.
* The title is based on the novel “Roadside Picnic” by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.
The project is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.
Drinks at the reception provided by Põhjala Brewery.