Writing, Curating and Lecturing on Visual Arts, Public Space and Architecture

Gotcha Dacha!

Article on Timo Toots's urban project at Artishok Biennale 2012.

Text exhibited during the exhibition (13.10.2012) and later published in the catalogue.

Gregor Taul x Timo Toots


Gotcha dacha!



Artist Toots returns from Moscow with his ideas. The communal land and the surrounding cherry orchard that are facing financial difficulties need to be paved. The successful entrepreneur Tallinn2011 persuades Toots to divide the land instead into several summer house plots where they could also build an observation tower, a museum, a theatre, and a hotel. Renting these out to the holidaymaker could prevent the paving. Toots gives it a try, but after a while realises that it is banal and leaves the developed infrastructure to disintegrate. He cannot decide what to do with the cherry orchard and is left waiting for a last-minute solution. It never arrives. At an auction, the land goes to Tallinn2012 who has the orchard cut down. Toots himself goes back to Tartu and his ideas get scattered.



“Okay,” I say, but then correct myself. “Fine,” I say. “So, you claim to be living in the Soviet Union.”


“It all started so long ago that I don’t remember it precisely even myself anymore," says the boy. “Probably it all started with things. For example, I liked Zhigulis much more than the foreign cars.” The boy is sad that they stopped making the 07 Zhigulis, but he hopes he can still get hold of one someday. He believes that if you take good care of it, you can drive a million kilometres with one.


“But the Western cars are actually better, aren’t they?” I ask.


“I think that the drivers of Western cars are constantly violating the rules. The speed limit on most of our motorways is 90 km/h, so why do we need the car to drive faster?”


The boy describes some of the principles that should be taken into account with products: “Firstly, it would be good if there was not too much design, secondly, the things have to be practical, and thirdly, they should have been in production for a long time.”


Today he only uses the things that already existed during Soviet times. For example, the Škoda trolleybuses. ČKD-Tatra trams. Diesel trains DR and electric trains ER. “Once, I waited an hour and ten minutes for the old Škoda trolleybus. Finally I decided that if I see the right trolleybus coming on the other side of the street, I will take the one going in the other direction.”[1]



Comedy, tragedy, magical realism, social-nostalgism, communal land romance?      

[1]    Vaarik, Daniel. www.memokraat.ee July 23, 2012.

A Comfortable Pirouette
The Ground Dissector’s Misfortune 

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