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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 Cultural History Archives of Estonian Literary Museum and the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of 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 (the Centre for Excellence in Estonian Studies).

Eesti Kirjandusmuuseum Eesti-uuringute Tippkeskus Eesti-uuringute Tippkeskus Underi ja Tuglase Kirjanduskeskus

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 15 – abstracts will be made publicly accessible on the conference website.
December 9–10 – welcome to Tartu!


The keynotes are going to be delivered by:

  • Hasso Krull poet and scholar in cultural theory: “The politics of imagination. Ilmar Laaban and the thousand-year-old tradition” (in Estonian);
  • Kerri Kotta, scholar in music studies: “Sound transformations and sound spaces” (in Estonian)

Preliminary information on presentations:

  • Raivo Kelomees. Creativity Algorithms from Surrealist Techniques to AI;
  • Philip Meersman. The Interdisciplinary Toolbox: How to Analyse Visual Poetry?;
  • Johannes Bergmark. Fylkingen, the Text-Sound Art Pioneers and the avant-garde situation in Scandinavia;
  • Paul Beaudoin. Understanding Labaan Through Sonic Analysis;
  • Mirjam Hinrikus. Nikolai Triik’s “Märter” (Martyr) and A. H. Tammsaare’s “Juudit” (Judith) as the precursors of surrealism (in Estonian);
  • Lola Annabel Kass. The flowers of the evil in Estonian Decadent art (in Estonian);
  • Merlin Kirikal. Decadent Collaborations: Johannes Semper and Ado Vabbe (in Estonian);
  • Jürgen Rooste. Linguistic or sensuous (in Estonian);
  • Märt Väljataga. The odious odes of Ilmar Laaban (in Estonian);
  • Marin Laak.. Laaban’s avant-garde and the center of Estonian poetry: translations that remained in the manuscript (in Estonian);
  • Arne Merilai. Laaban’s oxymora (in Estonian)
  • Mare Kõiva & Aimar Ventsel. Play with languages and code-switching in Estonian songs(in Estonian);
  • Jaan Pehk & Paul Daniel. Waltzing on limericks (in Estonian);
  • Raivo Kelomees. Ilmar Laaban and the group Para (in Estonian);
  • Triinu Ojamaa. Ilmar Laaban as a refugee among refugees: Roles and imago (in Estonian);
  • Aija Sakova. Ilmar Laaban’s correspondences with international art communities and his work as a translator (in Estonian);
  • Eduard Parhomenko. Ilmar Laaban and Tõnu Luik: A dead-end conversation on Heidegger (in Estonian);
  • li>• Jaan Malin. Ilmar Laaban, a gambler (in Estonian).

Only individuals who have been vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19, or presented a negative PCR-test result can take part in the conference events in Estonian Literary Museum. The organizers apologize for the restrictions and wish you to feel safe in our house. Presentations can also be watched as streaming.


Abstracts will be available by November 15.



Anu Lamp

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


• Johannes Bergmark “Sten Hanson’s toothpick”; “I have been in you, you have been in me”
• Paul Beaudoin „Laban Remixed“;
• Jürgen Rooste & Siim Aimla “A diver shit-ox” (in Estonian);
• Roomet Jakapi “Heidegger’s language speaks”;
• 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-Margot Trepp, Rasmus Vendel ja Edgar Vunš (EAMT’s Drama Department) “I’m laabaning, you’re laabaning, we’re laabaning” (in Estonian);

• Krista Ojasaat opens an exhibition “Mirror Fragments and Love. Ilmar Laaban” in the Main Hall of the Estonian Literary Museum (compiled by Krista Ojasaar and Jaan Malin). The exhibition can also be viewed in a virtual environment.
• Jaan Malin presents Ilmar Laaban’s bibliography.
• Jaan Malin ja Roomet Jakapi present the LP “Ethno trolls. Sound of Estonian” where Ilmar Laaban, Andres Ehin, Paul-Eerik Rummo, Asko Künnap, Jürgen Rooste, Roomet Jakapi, Luulur, Kätlin Kaldmaa, and Hannaleele Kaldmaa perform their works.

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


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