TMW Quarantine Stories: Anne Pikkov and Sven Paulus

01 April 2020

Today, the guests of our Quarantine Stories are Anne Pikkov, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) and TMW’s web editor and journalist Sven Paulus. Explore what they are reading, listening, thinking and feeling during these peculiar times.

EKA’s founding role in the development of our cultural history, public space and creativity is invaluable. Besides from generations of artists, designers, architects and art theorists it has nurtured many movers and shakers of our music scenes. We also admire EKA’s lecturers, alumni and students for promoting environmentally conscious design, urban space and art education, and we are always excited for the possibility to carry out joint art and urban space experiments within TMW festival. We truly believe that creativity and design thinking play an essential role in the development of society. An excellent example of this is the virus protection visors recently created by EKA product designers under the guidance of PERH (The North Estonia Medical Centre) doctors.

For the second year in a row, the TMW conference takes place at the Estonian Academy of Arts. We are already looking forward to August!

In the meantime, let’s read what Anne thinks about the break we are getting and Sven about the noise pollution. And much more.

What are you listening, watching, reading etc?

Anne: RIght now, my window sills are filled with rows of potted soil with peas, lettuce, cucumbers and bell peppers. On a daily basis, things like mango and melon are added – whatever we’ve happened to eat. Whether it’s a part of spring or whether it is because of this worldwide concern, in any case, to see life awakening is always a MIRACLE.

How clear is the importance of culture in this isolation! Films, books, artists’ websites, music sent by a friend – I’m enjoying this contemplative break on the road of life.

Sven: I currently mainly listen to peaceful instrumental music and a lot of lectures and guided meditations by Mooji, Osho, Ram Dass etc. I also listen to broadcasts from Vikerraadio archives. I turned off my social media channel (FB) and I rarely read the news. As I am familiar with the nature of media, I really don’t feel the need to be constantly informed and updated on how bad things are. Fortunately, now there’s plenty of time to read. That’s why there are a lot of books on the table: for example John Case’s “The Genesis Code”, Tom Valsberg’s “Eluterve pohhuist” and Fritz Riemann’s “Basic Forms of Anxiety”, some literature about taoism and buddhism etc. Besides that I read (and also write) poetry.

What are you feeling and thinking about in this situation?

Anne: I’ve been thinking that each generation is given one big historic experience. In my own case, I thought that experience was fighting out of one regime and the birth of a new, free state. Now, for the second time I feel that we are on the threshold of great change and that the world will never be the same again. It’s a good time to think about what happiness is. The break we are getting is getting longer, but it’s already cutting deeply into individualism.

Sven: This kind of slower life (when the majority of people don’t rush around like walking deads, spending most time behind screens or making plans and schedules) is great for me. As a long-term slow-life devotee I like to sleep long and wake up without an alarm clock, then spend the first hour of the day with morning rituals. As a longtime home office fan, being home alone is not boring anymore, although it would be nice to see colleagues from time to time. All in all, I really hope that the current state of affairs will make people think about what is really important: good health, being with loved ones, stimulating their mind and body with their favorite activities. Perhaps it is here that new opportunities are emerging – living a quality life and not chasing quantity.

What kind of future are you dreaming of?

Anne: One day, once we come out of this wiser, we probably will have already created a strong foundation for a new culture. Changes in how education is acquired, how creations are shared, the threads that hold together families and communities will be stronger and will have proven themselves. However, I don’t yearn for a complete new world. That spirit of seeking and wandering and imperfection that lies at the foundation of being human should stay as it is.

Sven: This is best summed up by the song “Imagine” by Yoko Ono and John Lennon.