'Solidarity' and 'blackface' as terms to square up at National Library

Solidarity versus blackface.
Solidarity versus blackface. Source: Rahvusraamatukogu

A boxing ring, which will see the controversial terms "solidarity" and "blackface" face each other down in an experimental-journalistic form, is open in the National Library of Estonia (Eesti Rahvusraamatukogu) in Tallinn, from Monday, July 6.

The author of the exhibition, and manager of new journalistic website Levila, communications expert Daniel Vaarik, said that an impression when daily terms are becoming more and more complicated, leading to only a small group of people understanding them, is easy to form.

"'Liberalism', 'conservatism', 'circulation', 'Gini coefficient', 'gentrification', 'machine learning', 'GDP', 'social norms', 'racism', 'feminism' - we could go on," Vaarik said.

"At the same time, a lot of people are arguing about the words on Facebook until they can no longer hold their phones in their darkened bedrooms. For what? What are the benefits of doing this? A "boxing match" between the two words invites people to think about the deep meaning of each term at the same time, referring somewhat ironically to the situations where a word becomes a tool for emphasizing your wisdom or importance," Vaarik explained.

In the main exhibition hall at the National Library, on Tonismäe in central Tallinn, a multi'layered story is being opened to guests. This will include large comic panels by Joonas Sildre on the walls of the hall, which will direct the course of the reader. The set-up mimics a boxing match, with competition sound effects and the ambience of a sports event in the hall. The exhibition can be seen variously as a spatial comment or an innovative-experimental form of investigative journalism, which offer a possibility to better relate to the discussions in society.

The exhibition is open until August 26, from 12 -6 p.m. The National Library's website is here.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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