The Riigikogu Comes to the Street
The exhibition “The Estonian Parliament 100” gives a brief overview of the hundred-year history of the representative body of Estonia. The exhibition is divided into two sections: 1917‒1940 and 1991‒2018, separated by a half a century break, when the representative body could not convene.
If we wish to make a good exhibition to the people about how their will has been realised for a century, we must do it in a space that belongs to the people. Where then? In modern society, public urban space is the territory of the people. The streets of our cities belong to all of us as a joint ownership. When we are not happy with the power, we come to the streets; when we are mourning our great figures, our streets are silent. Our inner peace is hiding in alleys, and we find ourselves in a blind alley when we get lost. We meet familiar strangers and future kindreds in the streets. Therefore, the street is the best place and location to look back on the history of the power of a nation. These are the reasonings behind the underlying idea of the exhibition, and this is how the metaphor of the street was born.
The exhibition displays the activities of the Estonian Provincial Assembly, the Constituent Assembly and the Riigikogu. The allocation of seats after the elections, that is, the candidates of political parties who were elected to the representative bodies, is shown for every membership. This gives an overview of the correlation of political forces in different memberships, as well as of the political parties that have been and are active in the Estonian political landscape.
The exhibition dedicated to the centenary of the parliament is designed as a touring street that runs across Estonia from one place to another. Pairs of houses on two sides of the street figuratively represent the busy decades that the Riigikogu has gone through, creating the atmosphere fitted for reading the texts and looking at the pictures in the style characteristic of the era. The architectural setting varies through history against the backdrop of a narration consisting of episodes, and different events are framed by different aesthetics. Great historical figures and key events glance at us through the windows and doors, festive and ordinary at the same time. This is the way of our country and the story of our people in our street. Passing along the Riigikogu street, we go through hundreds of events in one step, and think a years’ worth of thoughts in a minute. This is a concentrate of our power and of ourselves. This is an unfinished story of being the Estonian state.