Jaanus Samma

— EE

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Born in Estonia (EE)

Lives and works in Tallinn

Jaanus Samma’s body of work includes photos, installations and videos with topics grounded in gender and queer studies. His current fields of interest include history, ethnography and museology, as well as the narratives used at the intersection of these fields. In his most recent projects, he has explored the museum as a tool for establishing authentic histories and asserting cultural canons. In queering national heritage, he has found ways of broadening the perspectives on identity formation and offered alternative ways of contextualising the past. Samma’s practice relies on fieldwork – interviews and archive research – to produce subjective artistic output based on his findings.

For MOMENTUM 12, Samma develops ongoing research on Estonian cultural heritage, enquiring into the dynamics of identity formation defined by a territory’s history and policies. On this occasion, Samma investigates locality and local identity considering the location and cultural context of the biennial through traditional, national costumes. These are approached as a tool to reflect on how cultural heritage often mirrors the construction of sex and gender as binaries. Here, Samma brings up queer history as a “transgression” into the binary traditions related to folklore and history, advocating for the untold histories to be part of a common narration included in art institutions, collections and national memory.


National Utopia

National Utopia presents two sets of harnesses and jockstraps that are inspired by traditional patterns from Norwegian folk costumes. Just like many Norwegian folk garments nowadays, these items have also been made by local craftsmen in Estonia.The g ...