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Down in the bog: Tallinn exhibition dives into the unique ecosystem of peatlands

Magnus Skei Holmen, Bogwalk, 2024. Film still
Magnus Skei Holmen, Bogwalk, 2024. Film still Copyright Magnus Skei Holmen, Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM)
Copyright Magnus Skei Holmen, Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM)
By Elise Morton
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Approximately 6-7% of Estonia is covered in peatland (or bog), occupying an important place in local culture and folklore. A new Tallinn art show is exploring this curious landscape, reflecting on questions of memory, perception and conservation.


‘Down in the Bog — Sporulation’ (‘Sügaval soos — eoste teke’) – the summer show at Tallinn’s Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM) – brings together artists, designers and scientists to engage with the peatlands of Estonia and other regions, including northern Norway.

Curated by Karolin Tampere, a Norwegian curator with Estonian roots, the show is the second in a three-part international exhibition series on bogs, with the first and third parts taking place in the northern Norwegian city of Tromsø.

Among the highlights are the work of Ensayos, an international nomadic feminist research group that works with scent, sounds and objects to rethink questions of extinction, interspecies dialogue and memory; a joint video piece by Ingrid Bjørnaali, Maria Simmons and Fabian Lanzmaier; Kristina Norman’s work, first shown at the 2022 Venice Biennale, centring on capitalism and the connections between the Estonian bogs and the global orchid market; and Geir Tore Holm and Søssa Jørgensen’s audiovisual project combining video with the song-like Sámi joik, one of Europe’s oldest vocal traditions.

In addition to the exhibition, Tampere is collaborating with cultural geographer Piret Pungas-Kohv and the Estonian Fund for Nature to produce an archival work on the history and perceptions of the local peatlands – including the presentation of an excerpt of Magnus Skei Holmen’s new video work 'Bogwalk' (2024).

‘Down in the Bog — Sporulation’ is on at the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM) until 1 September 2024. 

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