Titled - an installation on traffic islands

Titled - an installation on traffic islands
The installation “Titled” vol 1 (2021) marked weeds growing on traffic islands of Tallinn with precious signage.

Madli Kaljuste
Tallinn, Estonia
A wondering and wandering architect exploring life and culture through buildings and surroundings.
Field of work
Design, Urban planning, Ecology, Visual Art, Research
Project category
Public space
Project submitted

I have a background in architecture and am deeply interested in research, architectural theory and material histories.

I am interested in larger cultural and socio-economical patterns and how they manifest in space, time and smaller details.
I feel as if my work is largely guided by a certain anxiety, on the bottom of which lurk environmental worries and injustices, even if they don´t always manifest themselves in full bloom.

One of the background interests is the questions of relatively recent building stock from after II WW which I have a feeling is mostly under threat because of the very similar, if not the same thinking patterns that once erected them.

Currently I work as a teaching assistant in Estonian Academy of Arts Interior Architecture Department and as a part-time editor and author in Estonian Architectural Review MAJA.

Titled (vol1 2021 Tallinn)
part of CITYA Tallinn programme

Traffic islands are the most common types of
islands in Tallinn. There is a particular kind of
exact chance in their being. Their geometry
and form come from turning radiuses of
numerous vehicles, multiple norms, set
standards. They are brackets of innumerable
road regulations.

Necessary, but indeed not the main thing.
The important part is the road and ease with
which cars can pass. On these islands of
concrete and asphalt most particular and
ordinary kind of flora finds its way to life. Does
its best to photosynthesize and be present.
The installation “Titled” marks these weeds
with signage. Somewhat weirdly it often
seems that things noted with words, with a
name, become more real. And things noted
with shiny, proper signs seem even more real
and important, don`t they?

The work was realised in the context of a small city art festival. And was developed during the summer of 2021. The installation helped to pinpoint questions of the importance of language and signs in getting people and passers by to notice their surroundings. What the project did manage to do was to bring attention to the very ordinary flora surrounding us by even getting some unplanned media attention from news channels and in social media.

What was important to me though was a kind of sinister nature of language in this signage context. A plant itself doesn´t really mind or care what its name is, but for some reason it seems that we in our (western?) culture need this ordering by words (as so very neatly started by Carl Linneaus) to even see the world and beings surrounding us.
This kind of crossing between bureaucracy and plantworlds is something that in the future I`d like to explore and develop further.