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In December 2021 Estonian Literary Museum and The Under and Tuglas
Literature Centre of Estonian Academy of Sciences will celebrate the 100.
Birth year of Ilmar Laaban with a hybrid live-streamed conference at the
Estonian Literary Museum.

Ilmar Laaban (11.12.1921, Tallinn – 29.11.2000, Stockholm) was Sweden based an Estonian poet, sound performer, translator and literary, art and music critic. His versatility as a creative individual and thinker can be traced back to his studies, where philology studies where combined with music studies and studies in philosophy. Laaban inscribed himself into Estonian literary history with his two poetry collections: “Ankruketi lõpp on laulu algus” (1946) and “Rroosi Selavist” (1957). Both poetry collections had as first surrealistic poetry books immense impact on Estonian cultural sphere within several decades. Ilmar Laaban’s extensive archive and library were handed over to the Estonian Literary Museum in 2001.

The conference is organized by the Estonian Literary Museum and Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences.

Organizing committee:
Triinu Ojamaa (head of the organizing committee), Jaan Malin, Marin Laak, Aija Sakova, Krista Ojasaar, Mirjam Hinrikus, Aare Pilv, and Anne Ostrak.


The conference is supported by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund ( Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies, TK 145), research project of the ELM “Cultural aspects of diaspora: Global networks of Estonian literature based on open datasets” (EKM 8-2/21/1), and the ASTRA project of Estonian Literary Museum EKMDHUM.

European Regional Development Fund

Eesti Kirjandusmuuseum Eesti-uuringute Tippkeskus Eesti-uuringute Tippkeskus Underi ja Tuglase Kirjanduskeskus City of Tartu Kultuurikorraldus

Important dates

April 15 – deadline for submitting paper and performance proposals.
May 10 – the organizing committee will announce the preliminary conference program.
September 30 – deadline for presenters to submit their abstracts (up to 300 words).
October 25 – conference program will be available on the conference website.
November 1 - registration for the conference begins
November 15 - the end of the registration for the conference
November 23 – abstracts will be made publicly accessible on the conference website.
December 9–10 – welcome to Tartu!

Covid-19 hoiatus


December 9, 2021

9:00–10:00 Registration

10:00–10:30 Opening. Chair: Triinu Ojamaa
Welcome speeches
       Tõnis Lukas, Director of the Estonian Literary Museum
       Mare Kõiva, Director of the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies
       Jaan Undusk, Director of the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences
Krista Ojasaar, Insight into exhibitions
Paul Beaudoin, Composition Disappearing Words

10:30–11:30 Keynote. Chair: Aare Pilv
Hasso Krull, The Politics of Imagination: Ilmar Laaban and the Thousand-Year-Old Tradition (in Estonian)

11:30–11:45 Coffee

11:45–13:15 Session 1. Chair: Aare Pilv
Johannes Bergmark, Fylkingen, the Text-Sound Art Pioneers and the Avant-garde Situation in Scandinavia
Raivo Kelomees, Ilmar Laaban and the Group “Para ’89”
Eduard Parhomenko, Ilmar Laaban and Tõnu Luik: A Dead-End Conversation on Heidegger (in Estonian)
Roomet Jakapi, performance Heidegger’s Language Speaks

13:15-14:15 Lunch break

14:15–15:45 Session 2. Chair: Jaan Undusk
Mirjam Hinrikus, N. Triik’s Märter (Martyr, 1913) and A. H. Tammsaare’s Juudit (Judith, 1921) as Examples of Nietzschean Decadence (in Estonian)
Merlin Kirikal, Ellinor’s Weird Associations: On Semper’s Decadence and Surrealism (in Estonian)
Lola Annabel Kass, The flowers of evil and phantasmagoria in Eduard Wiiralt’s Art (in Estonian)

15:45–16:00 Coffee

16:00–17:10 Session 3. Chair: Leena Kurvet-Käosaar
Leonhard Lapin, Poem for Voice. Reuse.
Performed by Leonhard Lapin and Bill Olson
Aija Sakova, Tiina Kirss, The Dialogical Moment in the Literary Correspondence of Ilmar Laaban with Paul Celan and Nelly Sachs
Marin Laak, Ilmar Laaban’s avant-garde and the core of Estonian poetry: Translations that remained in the manuscript (in Estonian)

17:10–18:00 I’m laabaning, you’re laabaning, he’s laabaning
       Markus Andreas Auling, Karl Birnbaum, Richard Ester, Lauren Grinberg, Hanna Brigita        Jaanovits, Laurits Martin Muru, Hele-Riin Palumaa, Herman Pihlak, Kristin Prits, Emili        Rohumaa, Alice Siil, Juhan Soon, Astra Irene Susi, Kristina Preimann, Rasmus Vendel        and Edgar Vunš.

       Supervisored by Anu Lamp.
       EAMT’s Drama Department Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre

December 10, 2021

9:30–10:00 Registration

10:00–10:30 Johannes Bergmark, performance I have been in you, you have been in me

10:30–11:30 Keynote. Chair: Jaan Ross
Kerri Kotta, Sound Transformations and Sound Spaces (in Estonian)

11:30–11:45 Coffee

11:45–13:15 Session 1. Chair: Jaan Ross
Paul Beaudoin, At the Border of Poetry and Music
Raivo Kelomees, Concept Transference in Surrealist Art and AI
Philip Meersman, The Interdisciplinary Toolbox: How to Analyse Visual Poetry?

13:15-14:15 Lunch break

14:15–15:45 Session 2. Chair: Risto Järv
Arne Merilai, Laaban’s Oxymora as the Mystical Backbone of Snails (in Estonian)
Jaan Pehk, Paul Daniel, Waltzing on Limericks (in Estonian)
Mare Kõiva, Aimar Ventsel, Exchanging Codes in Today’s Music

15:45–16:00 Coffee

16:00–17:30 Session 3. Chair: Maarja Hollo
Johannes Bergmark, performance Sten Hanson’s toothpick
Jaan Malin, Ilmar Laaban, the Gambler (in Estonian)
Märt Väljataga, The Odious Odes of Ilmar Laaban (in Estonian)
Triinu Ojamaa, Ilmar Laaban as a Refugee among Refugees: Roles and Image (in Estonian)

17:30–18:30 Presentations. Chair: Berk Vaher
Jaan Malin, presents a book The End of the Anchor Chain is the Start of Deeds. Ilmar Laaban’s Bigliography (in Estonian)
Jaan Malin ja Roomet Jakapi, present an LP ETHNO-TONTE. Sound of Estonian
Leonhard Lapin. On Intimate Friendship with Laaban
Jürgen Rooste ja Siim Aimla, performance A diver shit-ox

18:30–21:00 Closing ceremony and reception


Abstracts cab be found HERE (in PDF format).

Cultural Events


Anu Lamp

Listen! Anu Lamp performs Laaban’s “Rroosi Selaviste”.


“Mirror Fragments and Love. Ilmar Laaban”. Compiled by Krista Ojasaar and Jaan Malin. The Main Hall of the Estonian Literary Museum.

Virtual exhibition “Ilmar Laaban’s Sound Poems”. Compiled by Krista Ojasaar and Karmen Maat, technical implementation Marju Mikkel and Ilona Kolossova.

Exhibition dedicated to Ilmar Laaban in Stockholm Sune Nordgren will organize an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Konstakademien) in Stockholm to mark the Ilmar Laaban’s centennial. Books, documents and various artworks will be exhibited, most of the exhibits belong to his own collections. Opening on November 9, 2021.
Ilmar Laaban

Events outside the conference:
• Tartu Student Theatre, 11.12.21 “Libamina ilmarannal” (in Estonian), directed by Kaija M Kalvet


Registration form is available HERE.
Registration for the conference will be available the latest by November 15.

Vanemuise 42, 51003 Tartu


Monday - Thursday: 9-17;
Friday: 9-16.30;

(+372) 7 377 700