Milk messengers header
Photo: Susanne Kudielka (An elderly lady recieves an ice-lolly, and takes a break from working on her allotment)

Between the 15th of July and the 31st of August we spent a six week MOKS residency in the small Estonian village of Mooste, creating a body of work to address themes that emerged during the first week of our stay.

We were told about how the milkman acted as a messenger for the Estonian resistance during the soviet occupation, helping to coordinate the path to independence and the next revolution.

We thought about our own situation in Mooste, trying (at times quite hopelessly) to collect information, gage opinion and make contact with the locals in what felt like a desperate situation! Maybe we could communicate with the village through the distribution of milk, a tried and tested method?

Milk messages #1

We decided to slip questions onto the packages of milk sold in the two local shops, a questionnaire that attempts to solicit responses from local consumers. We doubted that we would receive many responses, if any, but the activity may have playfully activated memories and ideas surrounding independence, national or local identity, and the relationship we have to our immediate environment. We needed to start somewhere.

Milk messages #2

Estonians make great ice cream! One day I found a question about Estonia on one of my lolly sticks, an advertising gimmick that reminded me of the English tradition of writing jokes onto the same wooden sticks, so we decided to create special homemade lollies with our own questions printed onto the sticks. These were distributed one sunny day to those we found working in the village, primarily to the elderly ladies and men working on the allotments.

We were told that Estonian’s often associate ice cream with independence due to the flood of new brands that arrived following the departure of the soviet occupation.

The questions:

What would you show a visitor in Mooste and why?
What would you not show a visitor in Mooste and why?
Can you send us a picture of Mooste that you would choose as a postcard?

Are you proud of Mooste?
What are you proud of and what are you not proud of?
What is a Mooste tradition? What is tradition in Mooste?

What is typical Moostonian?
What is special about Mooste?
How would you describe a typical Moostonian?

How would you describe a typical day in Mooste?
How would you describe a perfect day in Mooste?

What buildings in Mooste would you like to restore?
What is worth fighting for/protecting in Mooste?
How would you improve Mooste?

What do you think were the best times for Mooste?
What place do you most identify with in Mooste?

Further MOKS Residency interventions:

1. MILK MESSENGERS
2. SAND MAPPING
3. THE BARONS CLOTHES
4. WINDOW PICTURES
5. THE MOPED PROCESSION
6. EXHIBITION
7. GOOGLE MAPS

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