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Trance (Main exhibition of Tallinn Photomonth)

Curator: Ilari Laamanen

Watching, spectating, following. Contemporary screen-dominated conditions can be described by many names. In digital interactions, notions between the living and nonliving or real and unreal continue to be destabilised. What was once understood as a reality is taking an unusual form. It has a texture that is unreal.


Trance explores how artworks can complicate and aid in examining sensory experience in a technologically mediated world. The exhibition is a swirl in time: a spiral moving between humane and mechanical, fantastical and factual, allure and absence. It aims to disorient and reorient the viewer and the viewing situation. Here, the act of watching itself is under scrutiny. The closer one gets to the real, the more imaginary it becomes.


The tapestry of images and information is dense, endless. It’s threading seems to follow a pulse that is all-encompassing, yet unfathomable. But no surface is impenetrable. There are loopholes that encourage us to shift the perspective or embark on a search for the furthest end of the wild yarn… The question is, what happens when the eyes are closed? Which narratives continue to be looped, and what kind of emotions surface? Whose voices are speaking?


Trance brings together local and international artists of different generations who work with various disciplines. The artists in the exhibition absorb, hack and reformat conventional means of (audio)visual presentation through existing and newly commissioned work. They present idiosyncratic encounters between bodies and technologies and utilise glitch as a conceptual tool – a split in time, a gesture that by design requires a moment of remediation and reflection.


Participating artists: Sara Bjarland, Zody Burke, CUSS Group, Veli Granö, Patricia Domínguez Claro, Elo-Reet Järv, Karel Koplimets, Laila Majid and Louis Blue Newby, Norman Orro and Joonas Timmi, Diane Severin Nguyen, Pire Sova and Ando Naulainen, Viktor Timofeev, Anu Vahtra, Jessica Wilson



Ilari Laamanen is an independent curator based in New York. He co-curated the ninth edition of the Momentum biennial in Moss, Norway in 2017. As the Director of Programs at the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York (2013–2020), he curated and commissioned projects to the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New Museum’s Ideas City festival, and Brooklyn Bridge Park. At the FCINY he led the MOBIUS Fellowship Program for six years, establishing partnerships with institutions such as Artists Space, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and JUDD Foundation. He has edited the publications Crossroads – New Views on Art and Environment, MOBIUS Manual and Beyond the Pleasure Principle.