Taavi Suisalu, Attention Figures. View to personal exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM), 2022. Photo: Paul Kuimet

Taavi Suisau (1982) is an artist, who works in the sphere of media art. The form of Suisalu’s works comes from altering the practical use-value of technologies, finding applications for devices which is different from their primary purpose. He is interested in sociocultural phenomenon and the changes technology brings in the behaviour, perception and thinking of people.

One of Suisalu’s first performances concentrating on sound was “Noisephony on Lawn Mowers” (2013) in which a group of people mowed a lawn according to the artist’s composing. Historically, greeneries were foremost the symbol of wealth and power, but nowadays they are conditional of a rather disturbing ambience in suburbs. At his personal exhibition “I am NOT Sitting in a Room” (2015), Suisalu continued exploring the qualities of sound. The show was a paraphrase of Alvien Lucier’s sound art piece “I am Sitting in a Room” (1969). While Lucier was concerned with the perception of the room, then Suisalu was dealing with the expanded (virtual) room and was trying to derive a state of trance from its resonance.

In his curatorial initiative “Project of Non-Existent Villages” (2014), Suisalu mapped the fate of 102 abandoned villages in Estonia, which nowadays only exist as names. In one of them – Vorstimäe village, Suisalu created a piece “Digital Fossil” (2014), which relates pagan rituals with digital culture. Namely, there’s a rock connected to a computer, to which it’s possible to sacrifice one’s data. Collected data is sent to a gallery, in which they are “exhibited” in a concrete cube. The continuation of that work “Digital Fossil II” (2017) is expressed as a 3-dimensional scan of a rock, which circles around its axis when exhibited in a gallery.

“Landscapes and Portraits” (2016) focuses on the malfunctioning satellites orbiting in space, which transmit error-anaesthetised signals. Due to favourable glitches in their systems these machines have sprung back to operational mode broadcasting information of an unpredictable and improvised nature. In this work, Suisalu deals simultaneously with cosmic field recording and distance photography. He converted the signals from electromagnetic landscapes to sounds and released them on vinyl “Études in Black” (2016). The converted images can be considered as distant selfies, cosmic reflections which holds the photographer and the portrait of himself as the smallest unit of an image centred on the photograph.

Taavi Suisalu has studied sociology and informatics in Tartu University, he graduated from the media and advertisement design department in Tartu Art College (BA, 2010) and new media at Estonian Academy of Arts (MA, 2014). During the studies, he was an exchange student L’École de design Nantes Atlantique in France and at Geneva University of Art and Design in Switzerland. He has participated in various international art project and workshops in Germany, England, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Russia, Belgium and the Baltic states. In 2014 he was awarded with the Young Artist Prize. He was in a residency at International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York (2022). He is one of the laureates for the Estonian state artist’s salary in 2023–2025.


Selected projects

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