Archives in Translation
Biennial of Dissent ‘77

Esti Kunstimuuseum, Talin, EST | 14 September -11 November 2007

The exhibition "Biennial of Dissent ‘77" is an offspring of the festival held in Venice thirty years ago, dedicated to the cultural dissidence in Eastern Europe – conferences and seminars plus a number of concerts, exhibitions and film sessions were held to determine the position of dissidents in the Eastern Block countries in those days. The informal socialist culture was attempted to be mapped with archival ardency; it was "interpreted" via the West, via the information, people and works that had reached the West, into a "language" understandable in the West. 1977 was the year when the topics of dissidence and human rights were in zenith on the East-West axis due to the Helsinki treaties; at the same time the approach to these problems was politically extremely predetermined from both sides. From the very first days, the Venice Culture Festival became a problem for both – foreign and domestic policy force-fields. Today, from the aspect of understanding the topic, those tensions are as fascinating as the festival itself.

Like all terms "refined" by the propaganda, the word "dissent" is also ambiguous. It is obviously a set of phenomena that has not stayed in the Cold War era but is meaningful even today. The topics once discussed in Venice are raised now at Kumu’s archive exhibition in a random way, primarily by means of a series of seminars. The exhibition also includes a reading corner providing an insight into the era/topic plus a number of film sessions.

"Archives in Translation" is an experimental research project of Kumu Art Museum made up of four exhibitions held from autumn 2007 to autumn 2008 and attempting to provide a fresh outlook on some historically fixed dogmas and mental burdens. The purpose of this project is to examine the artistic and political translations made through the Iron Curtain. For this reason, our main objects of interest are not the excellent close-to-the original translations and loans in the form of certain concepts or works of art, but rather the echoes – the parallels and translation mistakes emanating from similar values, meanings or imagery – the information lost in translation and therefore having obtained a new contents. The objects pinpointed at this exhibition: particular archives, past events as phenomena allowing different interpretations and experiences, possible translation mistakes, suppressions/amplifications in the East and West – all this constituting an interesting contemporary phenomenon.

The curator of the exhibition "Biennial of Dissent ‘77" is Maria-Kristiina Soomre, the exhibition is designed by Anton Koovit.

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