“kuker/site” uses old Fresnel lenses from TVs and can be approached as a screen-based installation that functions without the usual technology. The lenses distort their immediate surroundings and displaced geological objects behind them in a way that might appear digital to us or disturbed like an image with a glitch.

Enlarged behind some of the lenses are deep geological layers: kukersite oil shale rocks from a mine and blue artificial-looking clay used in the cement industry. The kukersite rocks contain fossils and have heat engravings produced by the lenses.

The work is based on field research about the kukersite oil shale industry and the geological history of North-Eastern Estonia. The installation explores geographical locations and their temporal relationships but also, the creeping uncanniness of changing socio-ecologies: the seemingly untouched, sublime nature at Maajaam is set into tension by the hyperlocal mining sites often invisible to the public.

Supported by:
European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024, Cultural Endowment of Estonia

Janis Polar* is a Basel based visual artist/researcher. He investigates disturbed socio-ecologies in anthropocentric systems and his own entanglements in them. His work engages at intersections of (media) technology, science and political ecology, trying to build relations to complex geographies and the more-than-human. He mainly works with image-based media, archives and found objects, combining (post-)documentarian and speculative approaches in installations and audiovisual performances. His works have been exhibited in Switzerland, Germany, USA, Estonia, China and he regularly collaborates with scientists. Janis Polar has received various work, residency and research grants and he holds degrees with distinctions in Cultural Analysis, Film and Literature Studies (University of Zürich).*

Janis Polar webpage

.Resize "200x"
janis polar_1.50.1.jpg
Photo by Epp Kubu