UFOs and dark matter – paranormal internationalism in Estonia

The KUNO network promotes cooperation, exchange and professional debate within highert art education in the Nordic-Baltic region. One of the many projects of the network has been to analyze the fascination of the paranormal at different levels. What is the role of the paranormal and "otherworldly" in today’s society?

Contemporary Art, Technology and the Paranormal

KUNO is an ambitious Nordplus network comprising 16 Nordic-Baltic fine art academies, aiming to become an art university without walls. By cooperating on a wide range of project activities, the member institutions commit themselves to the continued development of higher fine art education in the region.

In August 2011, 19 art students from Estonia, Latvia and Sweden participated in the project "Contemporary Art, Technology and the Paranormal“ in Häademeste Cosmonautic Centre in the South West of Estonia. The goal was to analyse the position of the paranormal and “otherworldly”, as well as conspiracy theories, in the contemporary society.

With the assistance of both professors from the Estonian Academy of Arts, the Art Academy of Lativa and the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, as well as astronomists, ufologists and observatory owners, the students tried to find out which symptoms the “para”-phenomenon reflects, and whether there could be any significant information for humans. Besides the amusement of the funny stories and imaginations, can alternative theories be used as a safety valve to let out the tensions and fears of everyday life? And where is the line where superstition becomes dangerous or disturbing?

Tereshkova was here

During the workshop the students participated in group discussions and seminars and received daily tasks connected to the theme, which they had to materialize in the form of different artistic outcomes such as sculptures, painting, performance and video. The participating students were also given the task of involving the local community by interviewing them, and also by presenting at least one of their artworks in open air, in situ.

On the final day of the workshop the exhibition opening “Tereshkova Was Here” took place, named after the first female cosmonaut in the Soviet Union.

The outcomes of the workshop turned out to be remarkable, comprising of publishing a catalogue, organizing two continuation workshops and exhibitions and in forming an international artist group.