Tartu Loomemajanduskeskus

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Landscapes and Bodies

Landscapes and Bodies, directed by Daniel Kötter

Landscapes and Bodies is a five-part performance series dedicated to the political, social and ecological consequences of global underground and open-cast mining. The final part with the title Oil-Shale is going to be produced in Estonia. 

The five-part series Landscapes and bodies are being developed in collaboration with musicians, performing artists, researchers and local mining workers from Indonesia (West Papua), Eastern DR Congo, Germany (Leipzig and the Ruhr Region) and Estonia (Ida-Virumaa). The respective works explore the local and global influences of the extraction of raw material on landscapes, living environments as well as aspects of local and global coexistence. 

In September 2021, the world premier of Landscapes and bodies # 5, Oil Shale will take place In Germany in the framework of the International Performing Arts Festival Weimar Kunstfest, where all the five parts will be on the festival programme.

Landscapes and Bodies # 5, Oil Shale – the Estonian case-study.

The research team led by the artistic director of the project Daniel Kötter (Germany) started the case-study of Eastern Virumaa (Ida-Virumaa) in February, 2021. The project examines the oil shale mining industry on the extreme edge of Europe bordering Russia and its impact on the Russian minority in Estonia. 

Oil Shale brings together the artistic team from Germany (Kötter / Israel / Limberg) with the Estonian anthropologists, the young talented musician Pavel Zjonov and his band KEETAI as well as local people from Ida-Virumaa, among them representatives of the Estonian-Russian mining community.

The German premier of Oil Shale will be preceded by a preliminary showing of the project, a debate/seminar as well as presentation of the documentary about making the project in Ida- Virumaa, which will take place in Estonia in August 2021 both in Tartu and Narva. 

With its global reach, the ambitious five-part project Landscapes and Bodies is without doubt relevant both for the international and local audiences since the need for a transition to sustainable energy is by now widely recognized in Estonia. With its heavy dependance on Oil Shale industry, Estonia is by far the most carbon-intensive economy among the OECD countries. Consequently, Estonian government has adopted a strategic action plan dubbed PÕXIT for rapid exit from the use of oil shale. The transition will inevitably involve socio-economic consequences for the local population, which need to be resolved.

Oil Shale will have its Estonian premier in August 2022 during the pilot festival of the International Performing Arts Festival Performa Borealis, initiated by the Tartu Centre for Creative Industries. Performa Borealis,with the focus on socially responsible and sustainable theatre, will take place in 2024 when Tartu is the European Capital of Culture. 

“We think it is equally important to introduce contemporary interdisciplinary performing arts directors from Europe to the Estonian audience as well as focus on burning socio-economic and environmental issues with the festival programme”, says Kristiina Reidolv, the member of the board of the Tartu Centre for Creative Industries. 

Oil Shale is produced by Tartu Centre for Creative Industries and  Prothemus NGO with the support of Tartu City Government, British Council, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Doppelpass Fund of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes, and the International Co-Production Fund of the Goethe-Institut.

Daniel Kötter is a German film and theatre director whose work oscillates deliberately between different media and institutional contexts, combining techniques of structuralist film with documentary elements and experimental music theater. His research based practice focuses on questions of urbanity in East Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Both his (music)theatre performances and documentary films have been shown at numerous film and theatre festivals, galleries and theatres and concert halls all over the world. In 2017, his documentary Hashti Tehran about the urban peripheries of Tehran won the special prize of the German Short Film Award.