Conference: What about our world after us?

The third autumn conference in Kumu, “What about our world after us?”, focuses on the issue of the collection policies of the 21st century museum: the main problems regarding the collection policies of modern art, new perspectives and new areas of inclusion. Since the 1960s, issues concerning the collection and preservation of modern art and the role of museums in the process have become increasingly important. Modern art, where the work has often abandoned the material form and is more about sounds, smells and sociological experiments, or flows into utterly virtual worlds, can no longer be easily collected or archived using universally adopted rules. The question does not lie simply in the ways of collecting and archiving, but also in what we collect. When we keep in mind the primary principle of collection – preserving a fragment of the world today, experienced and presented through a work of art, for generations to come – first and foremost the main trends in the collection policies of modern art need to be defined. Also, the completeness of an exhibition and the issue of the contextuality of related works (e.g. biennials) are becoming increasingly important.

The Kumu autumn conference does not essentially seek answers and solutions, but is primarily a discussion, where specialists from different museums and domains exchange information on their experiences and raise new questions. The problems are not new, but they change every day. The conference is primarily addressed to those working in museums and archives, but it is also open to the wider public.

Friday, September 18:


Gathering, registration

10:00-10:10 Greetings from Estonian Ministry of Culture

10:10-10:30 Director-General Sirje Helme opening words. Introduction of the programme

10:30-11:30 Prof. Milan Knížák (National Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic)

The future is the totalitarianism of mediocrity

11:30-12:00 Coffee break

12:00-1:00pm Leevi Haapala (Finnish National Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma)

Passion, collecting and time-based art. From obsession of collecting to collecting policy and immaterial rights

1:00-2:00pm Adam Budak (Manifesta Biennial, Kunsthaus Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Poland/Austria)

Retaining contextual wholeness in the museum

2:00-3:00pm Lunch

3:00-4:00pm Külli Lupkin (Estonian National Museum)

Possibilities and problems in documenting contemporary everyday life in Estonian National Museum

4:00-5:00pm Perttu Rastas (Finnish National Gallery, Central Art Archives)

Preserving digital culture: Media art archiving now, not after apocalypse!

Saturday, September 19:

9:30-10:00 Gathering

10:00-10:45 Tatja Scholte (International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art, Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage,The Netherlands)

Collaborative approaches for the conservation of contemporary art

10:45-11:25 Kirsti Harva (Finnish National Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma)

Practical Issues on Kiasma Collection

11:25-12:05 Hilkka Hiiop (Art Museum of Estonia)

What is to be preserved in contemporary art?: A question for the curator or the conservator. Collection management in Kumu from the conservator’s point of view

12:05-12:30 Coffee break

12:30-1:10pm Lori Zippay (Electronic Arts Intermix, USA)

Media art conservation in the digital age: From YouTube to the museum

1:10-1:50pm Hripsimé Visser (Stedelijk Muuseum, The Netherlands)

‘A cuckoo in the nest’: Photography in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the history of a collection

1:50-3:00pm Lunch

3:00-4:00pm Questions, discussion

4:00-5:00pm Roundtable with the Estonian artists and curators.

The conference is primarily addressed to those working in museums and archives, but it is also open to the wider public.

The working language at the conference is English.

To registrate for the conference, please send an e-mail

Tel 372 602 6047

Conference is supported by The Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Embassy of United States