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installation programme

The main theme of the 2023 festival is "Urban Pauses" that focuses on the wastelands and voids of Tartu. These are transitional and untamed places, which at first glance seem to lack function, but nevertheless are valuable as they are. Together with artists we explore the impact and meaning of urban pauses in the city space. Installations inspired by urban pauses are created by nine artists or groups from Estonia and abroad, three of them are young architects that were selected through an open competition. The curators of the program are Marie Valgre and Kadri Lind. The attention of artists and curators was focused on the green spaces between buildings and on the outskirts of the city, which appear unfinished. These areas are often unseen or even unwanted and feared, but for many citizens they are indispensable. Nature can flourish unbothered in such areas, where the more daring wanderers can go exploring or just pass the time, or simply take a short-cut, the four-legged ones can take care of four-legged business, and so on. What makes urban pauses so fascinating is the freedom and wildness that characterises them – by observing the use of such areas, we can notice the functions that may be missing from the city, and how the residents create these by themselves. Various alternative uses of space have been created in cooperation with artists, and during the festival we can observe how the townspeople receive them. Freedom creates diversity There are few places in cities with no prescribed rules of conduct. Urban pauses are characterised by a certain freedom – urban pauses are grounds for free thought and action due to their untamedness and disuse. These are places where you play, sunbathe, stroll around, tell stories and have drinks in secret. Since it is an uncontrolled urban space, citizens decide for themselves how they want to use this space. Freedom also applies to the plant and animal kingdom, because urban pauses are often regularly unmaintained and therefore surprise us with a diversity of species. What creates an urban pause? In Estonia, urban pauses have been studied by Eve Komp, who describes urban pauses as "a space in the transition process, that is between two longer-term situations, these are places where the end of the previous environment is near or has already come and the new one is yet to arrive". Usually, such areas will be filled with new developments at some point, but our installation programme poses the question "What is the value of urban pauses as they are?". Urban pause as experimental laboratory Since urban pauses seem arrested in their development, it is possible to use them to play out scenarios for which there might not be space in the city otherwise. Komp has described the urban pause as a "fracture in the habitual arrangement", and the UIT festival, too, aims to invite the audience to think about alternative uses of public space via these fractures.

Participating artists

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Architect, designer and carpenter, Alexander Römer initiated the international design-build network Constructlab in 2012. Constructlab is a laboratory for action research, constructive experimentation and interdisciplinary creation. Constructlab’s projects develop a practice of temporary and participative design and architecture.

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Deana Kolencikova is a multidisciplinary artist primarily working in and with public space within the sphere of urbanism. She has lived and worked in many different countries. This shapes her art practice and the way she responds site-specifically to sociopolitical questions of a given place. She believes in the educative, social and environmental powers of contemporary art that should be accessible and open to everyone.

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Anna-Liisa Unt, Merle Karro-Kalberg and Karin Bachmann are landscape architects who head the "Curated Biodiversity" project. It is part of the main programme of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024, and it aims to make the parks in central Tartu more diverse and pleasant for people, animals, insects and plants.

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"In 2006, Toomas Kalve described me with the following words: a pleasant person, analytical, and poor enough. It is possible that the first two adjectives are still at least partially valid.

In 2008, Eha Komissarov made an observation during an exhibition process that, unlike me, Kiwa likes making art. Work on me being more like Kiwa is ongoing..."

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Ulla Alla, Merilin Kaup, Mari Möldre and Margus Tammik are architects whose practice involves organising various events and projects, exhibitions and summer schools. They value hands-on activities, such as tinkering, fixing, cleaning, building and demolishing – or any other direct act of creating space. Focusing on the already existing, they use the materials at hand. Together with Triin Reidla they are the founders of VARES - Valga Architecture Residency.

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Ola Korbanska is a visual artist and writer, based in Berlin. Iwo Borkowicz works as an architect and a visual artist. They collaborate since 2020 creating site-specific art installations in public spaces, exploring often idealised antropocentric relations with nature and resources in the urban context.

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Johan Kirsimäe and Markus Varki are young freelance architects from Tartu, who studied architecture together at the Estonian Academy of Arts. The creative process of Johan and Markus draws inspiration from the do it yourself mentality, where the research-architectural output is dedicated to the materiality of recycling as well as the creation of space that is free from constraints.


Daria Khramova & Kristīne Mogiļevceva are graduate students at TU Delft Faculty of Architecture. They are interested in an interdisciplinary approach to architecture, which blurs the boundaries between art, scenography, and engineering.


selected through the open call

Marco Manfredino is an Italian architect and designer currently based in Tallinn. 

His primary focus in architecture revolves around sustainable design processes, but he is equally drawn to socio-connected projects that emphasize community involvement and collective use of architecture.

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