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E-MEDIA CENTER (Tallinn)


One of the most widely-read Estonian novels "Kevade" by Oskar Luts starts with an episode where a boy named Arno and his father arrive for Arno's first day at school, but the lessons have already started. It gives the feeling of someone arriving into a situation where rules, positions, and code are already developed. So, Arno always feels a bit alien, distanced from others, yet he is the main "good" character of the book.

I could start writing about the E-Media Centre in Tallinn with my arrival there this autumn. The centre was already established, the computers and net(work)s in place, students waiting to be taught, old and new intrigues floating -- the rules, positions, and code as well as some other things had already been developed during the 5 years of the E-Media Centre's existence.
I felt like a student arriving at a new school in the autumn: I did not know what's what and who's who -- which code to speak.

After one month I know a little; some codes have been debugged and re-written, others still waiting for the right moment and the right "programmer". The E-Media Centre at the Estonian Academy of Arts introduced and popularised electronic media and culture in Estonia, especially in the arts and culture area. It has organised various international festivals since 1995, starting with the Interstanding conference in November 1995. Since then, periodical events such as a biannual Interstanding conference/exhibition and the video and net art event "online@offline" made the centre internationally recognised.

Currently, the centre is in transformation: first, by establishing a MA course in Interactive Multimedia, and second by moving into new physical spaces and upgrading it's technical base. It has developed new policies of collaboration and is working on finding how students and artists can best use the facilities. There are new people working at the centre, who may all have different ideas. It is the main purpose of the E-Media Centre to educate young people to be able to use and understand the new electronic/digital/network/multi-/and any other suitable media; to teach them how to navigate and act in the spaces of that media and inspire them to create new smaller and bigger spaces/code/art/revolutions/responses/etc within that.

What is the meaning and place in society of an electronic media centre within a small country like Estonia? Is it a luxury or a necessity? The "wondering around time" for the E-Media Centre should finish soon and the activities there will hopefully prove that it's needed in small societies as much, and maybe even more, than in big societies.


Mare Tralla 'disgusting girl'
http://www.wmin.ac.uk/~ghmlc/loveline/love.html
mare@easynet.co.uk