The Tallinn Literary Centre presents: Mati Unt’s Tallinn

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Venue: Tallinn Central Library (see on map)
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Original language: Estonian
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When it comes to Tallinn as depicted by Mati Unt (1944-2005), one is immediately reminded of Mustamäe in his novel Sügisball (Autumn Ball, 1979). One of the protagonists, an architect named Maurer, sees Mustamäe as romantic and is happy about the open and clear nature of the sleeper district, because, in his view, Mustamäe lacks ‘excess and the unnatural’. Maurer is amazed by the architects of the new generation, who despise the city of the sun and speak with bourgeois ardour about slums, dives, summer cottages, old grain silos, decommissioned ships and all things inevitably part of the past. However, Unt himself lived much closer to bourgeois ardour and summer cottages for a long time. In his book Vastne argimütoloogia (1996), Unt describes his walk in Kadriorg near his home in early spring. This image lacks the loftiness of Maurer, instead, Unt muses on the advance of nature on culture, envisions Kadriorg under water as the ocean levels in the world rise, and looks at the old grass covering the park, thinking it is dead, but still beautiful and stable somehow, lacking the nervousness of a living being. This is what Tallinn is like – the city of the sun at one end and the park covered in dead grass at the other. The spatial poetics of Mati Unt – and other writers – will be discussed by literary scholar Maarja Vaino, writer and journalist Mihkel Mutt and architect Vilen Künnapu. The panel will be livestreamed by the cultural portal of the Estonian Public Broadcasting.

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