The Institute of Art History and Visual Culture is Estonia’s leading research and teaching centre for art history. The professors and faculty members in our department are top specialists in their fields and recognized experts; our graduates include Estonia’s leading younger generation curators, critics and art theoreticians. The Institute of Art History and Visual Culture’s curriculum combines historical and object-centred approaches to art with knowledge of theoretical viewpoints.

Conference on art historical writing during the early Soviet era

The research team of EAA Institute of Art History and Visual Culture “Historicizing art: Knowledge production in art history in Estonia amidst changing ideologies and disciplinary developments“ (PUT788) is organising an international conference “Art History and Socialism(s) after World War II: The 1940s until the 1960s“ from 27th to 29th October 2016.

Programme, registration and all relevant data via https://www.artun.ee/en/x/conference-art-history-and-socialisms.

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Dorothea von Hantelmann public lecture „Why exhibitions became a modern ritual (and what they tell us about the society in which they take place) “

Institute of Art History and Visual Culture and Centre for Contemporary Arts Estonia present

public lecture on April 20, 18.00 at Arhitektuurikeskus (Põhja pst 27a, Tallinn)

Dorothea von Hantelmann „Why exhibitions became a modern ritual (and what they tell us about the society in which they take place) “

Hantelmann will hold a seminar on April 21, 10.00 at Institute of Art History and Visual Culture (Suur-Kloostri 11). Registration and reading materials: karin.nugis@artun.ee

Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall tells us as much about the state of Western society in 2015 as the Crystal Palace reflected mid-19th century productivism, or as early modern curiosity cabinets connect to the rise of consumer culture. Art institutions are mirrors of the socio-economic order of their time, whose basic parameters they practice and enact. We can retrace the entire history of individualisation by following the increase of wall space between paintings in 19th and 20th century galleries. We can comprehend the transition of early market societies into consumer societies alongside the transformation of 19th century museums into white cubes. And we can analyse the contemporary experience society on the basis of the way it transforms the white cube into time-based experiential spaces. Art institutions are deeply linked to the values and categories that constitute a given time, which is why they have to keep transforming in order to adjust and to remain what they always have been: a contemporary ritual. Looking at art spaces from the 16th century to the present day as a series of decisive moments of transformation, we may find that the transformations of our epoch are asking for a new kind of ritual, after that of the exhibition.

Dorothea von Hantelmann was documenta Professor at the Art Academy/University of Kassel where she lectured on the history and meaning of documenta and established the constitution of a documenta research institute. Her main fields of research are contemporary art and theory as well as the history and theory of exhibitions. She is currently working on a book that explores art exhibitions as ritual spaces in which fundamental values and categories of modern, liberal and market based societies historically have been, and continue to be practised and reflected. She is author of How to Do Things with Art, a book on performativity within contemporary art.

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Eric Kluitenberg public lecture “Returning to Earth. Beyond the Network Society: A Plea for Ecological Design”

The Institute of Art History open lectures series Space, Media, Mediation will continue on Friday, April 17th at 5PM with the lecture of Eric Kluitenberg. The lecture entitled Returning to Earth. Beyong the Network Society: A Plea for Ecological Design will take place at the hall of the Academy of Sciences (6 Kohtu St).

This talk will start locally: In the initial series of Interstanding conferences in Tallinn (1995-’99), organised under the banner ‘understanding interactivity’, our focus was on questions how Estonia would absorb being thrown overnight into the new (global) context of the information and network society, while still hovering ambivalently in-between the break up of Soviet Union and the entry into the European Union. The Interstanding series, initiated in 1995 by Ando Keskküla took the new networked frontier of the internet as its horizon and questioned what this new ‘expanded field’ meant for culture, politics, civic society, and of course art and design, locally right here in Tallinn / Estonia, but also internationally, across the borders that the internet seemed to evaporate so easily.

It would be an understatement to say that Estonia has true and well ‘arrived in the network society’. It is today one of the most densely networked countries on the planet, a remarkable feat for a small country that had to absorb such radical political, social, and economic changes after becoming independent again. However, once again we are faced (collectively) with a drastic change of context, a shift in our understanding of how we relate to each other, to our resources, to our environment. This new context is constituted by the expanding ecological crisis, which is no local, regional or even European matter. In his most recent work and lectures science and political philosopher Bruno Latour implores upon us that we have to face ‘earth’, as the crisis now unfolds on a planetary scale, and we cannot extricate ourselves from it. The dreams of an exodus into space are over, they have been proven an unrealisable fantasy. We have to, as it were, ‘return to earth’ and reconsider our relations with this planet if we, as a species (and many other species along with us), are still to have a minute chance of making it, of surviving.

In this talk I will make a plea that is directed at artists and designers in particular – not the ones usually addressed in discussions of ecological politics – for an active engagement into the question of ecological design. To make this plea, however, I first need to redefine these two words (‘ecology’ and ‘design) from the ground up. To do this I will draw on the expanded concept of ‘ecology’ as proposed by philosopher, psycho-analyst and activist, Félix Guattari and his model of the three ecological registers: the material environment, the social relations, and subjective experience. Then I will address this plea for an ecological design not just to humans, but also to non-humans, building on Latour’s ideas on the ‘Politics of Nature’.

Once we thus better understand our place on this planet it can become possible to start thinking about how as artists, designers, theorist and activists we can engage the urgent questions of ecological design.


Eric Kluitenberg is an independent theorist, writer, and educator, working at the intersection of culture, politics, media, and technology. He was head of the media and technology program of De Balie, Centre for Culture and Politics in Amsterdam (1999 – 2011), and taught theory of interactive media and technological culture for a variety of academic institutions, including the University of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Academy Minerva Postgraduate Studies in Groningen, and was a scientific staff member of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Currently he teaches media and cultural theory at the Art Science Interfaculty in The Hague.

In 2013 he was a research fellow at the Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

Publications include The Book of Imaginary Media (2006), Delusive Spaces – essays (2008), the theme issues of Open, Journal for Art and the Public Domain, Hybrid Space (2006), and (Im)Mobility (2011), Legacies of Tactical Media (2011), and Techno Ecologies (2012). 

Currently works on the preparation of an international anthology on Tactical Media co-edited with David Garcia, to be published by MIT Press in 2016. 

Linkedin profile:

Some papers:

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Rhiannon Pickles public lecture on art communication

On MOnday, February 16th, 4pm, the leading international specialist in art communication Rhiannon Pickles will hold a public lecture at the Institute of Art History, Suur-Kloostri 11, room 103. Rhiannon Pickles PR has co-operated with various pavilions of the Venice biennale, Frieze art fair, Instanbul biennale, Manifesta, dOCUMENTA, Pro Helvetia, Richard Saltoun, Marian Goodman, and Lisson galleries, interacting with most of the major art magazines, galleries, artists, and collectors. A more specific workshop will follow on Tuesday, Feb 17th, for more info please contact Estonian Centre for Contemporary Art, Rebeka Põldsam (rebeka@cca.ee, 6314050).
See more at http://picklespr.com

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Michael zinganel’s lecture on recreational architecture of socialist croatia on feb 20th, 6PM

On Thursday, February 12th at 6PM dr Michael Zinganel from Academy of Fine Arts Vienna will hold a lecture about the heritage of Croatian socialist recreational architecture. The lecture will take place at the Institute of Art History, Suur-Kloostri 11, room 104, and be moderated by dr Epp Lankots.

After WW II many Austrian intellectuals perceived the Third Way of Tito’s Yugoslavia during the cold war period as a familiar but more radical version of political and economic neutrality in between the East and West. For the Austrian middle class Yugoslavia’s Coastline became one of their favorite summer tourist destinations, and for Architects the explicit modern style of the new WWII monuments, buildings, urban and tourist developments an alien but exotic attraction – a 1:1 museum of superb late-modern design, most of it built in the 60s and 70s, also thanks to vast support from the West.
In the wake of the political change after the fall of Communism, the dis-integration war, and the privatization of business, many urban developments and outstanding buildings have been economically and physically restructured, in a myriad of ways, leaving a legacy of deserted ruins, cautious renovations, exorbitant conversions, and radical densification. But the more these built monuments of Modernisation are endangered to vanish the more they are rediscovered and re-appriciated by architects and intellectuals today.

Michael Zinganel studied Architecture at Graz University of Technology and History at the Vienna University. He is working as writer, artist, and curator. He had taught at several universities and academies in Austria and abroad, most recently at the postgraduate program of the Bauhaus Dessau foundation. In 2012 he co-founded the independent research institute Tracing Spaces. Since 2014 he is Associate Research Scientist at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and Principal Investigator of the project “Stop and Go: Nodes of Transformation and Transition” about East European Traffic Corridors. His most recent book: Holidays after the Fall: Seaside Architecture and Urbanism in Bulgaria and Croatia, co-edited with Elke Beyer and Anke Hagemann, Berlin: jovis 2013, ISBN 978-3-86859-226-9

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Special Issue on Debating German Heritage: Art History and Nationalism during the Long Nineteenth Century

Vol. 23, no. 3/4 of Kunstiteaduslikke Uurimusi / Studies on Art and Architecture, fully in English, is devoted to Debating German Heritage: Art History and Nationalism during the Long Nineteenth Century. Introductory article by the editors of the Special Issue (Kristina Jõekalda, Krista Kodres) is followed by contributions on the idea of cultural heritage and the canon of art (Hubert Locher), the history of German heritage preservation and nationalism (Winfried Speitkamp), Heimat as a Baltic German space of belonging (Ulrike Plath), the German heritage of architecture as a cornerstone of Baltic identity (Kristina Jõekalda), the Riga-based Society for History and Antiquities Research of the Eastern Provinces of Russia (Mārtiņš Mintaurs), constructing national identity via grand exhibitions in Bohemia and Austria-Hungary (Marta Filipová) and the Kunstschutz campaigns during World War I in the General Government of Warsaw (Beate Störtkuhl). 

For abstracts and further data see: 


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