Mextonia in Tallinn University of Technology
TTÜ Science Building received a magnificent mural as a gift from Mexico to Estonia within Mextonia - the festival of "Transgrafiti Muralism" that celebrates deep cultural roots of Estonia, through murals created in public walls by Transgrafiti artists.
Inspiration for this design starts with Estonian cyberneticist Boris Tamm (1930-2002), whose best works include studies of the processes of modeling and system programming. Tamm was the second Director of the Institute of Cybernetics (1969-76) and Rector of Tallinn University of Technology (1976-1991), also member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences.
Cybernetics, as defined by MIT mathematician Norbert Wiener, is “the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.” In what is known as a closed-loop system, or “circular casual” relationship, action by the system generates some change in its environment and that change is registered in the system, which triggers a system change. Simply put, it is the study of how digital, mechanical, or biological systems process information, react to the processed information, and then adapt to improve their ability to further process and react to information. Learning, cognition, adaption, social control, communication, and connectivity are some of the concepts studied by cybernetics.
The consideration of communication as a closed-loop system of information exchange is taken even further in the media theory studies of Canadian professor, Marshall McLuhan, who proposed that new forms of media, such as television, change the perception of societies. Television as a medium, rather than the content, “ shapes and controls the scale and form of human association,” as expressed during the cybernetic art movement of the 1960s. Feedback involved in the work takes precedence over visual aesthetic and material concerns. At that time, hand-held video technology had just been released on the commercial market and became available as a medium to artists who focused on the visual effects of electronic feedback. The closed-loop systems of electronic principles are reflected in the visual effects produced by video, as well as the medium’s “ability to continuously process new data in real time and render it for visual display.” Artist Roy Ascott considered art itself, as “a cybernetic system comprised of a network of feedback loops between the artist, artwork, and audience.”
With this correlation established between the work of Boris Tamm and the cybernetic art movement, the Canadian artist, Five8, intends to celebrate Estonia’s technological tradition and Boris Tamm’s achievements in cybernetics through his mural design. With a color palette inspired by Estonia’s flag, his mural incorporates a figurative subject with video distortion effects explored by early cybernetic artists. This mural will echo the work achievements of past contributors, and inspire future generations of technological innovators of Estonia.
It is a summer art project that will remain on the wall of the Science Building until autumn.
Mextonia festival took place June 14-22 and it is a gift from Mexicans to Estonians for the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. Magnificent murals inspired by the Estonian Cultural Identity were created in the course of the event, one of which was also donated to TTÜ. The murals were delivered in approximately 25 different locations by joint effort of over 50 talented and passionate artists from Estonia, Mexico and all over the world.