Maxim Surin’s online portfolio presents a comprehensive collection of case studies that highlight his multidisciplinary artistic practice. This practice encompasses strategic consulting, project management, web development, and an exploration of the convergence of digital culture, architecture, sound, and image. The portfolio showcases Surin’s extensive artistic research and development, which has led to the creation of diverse projects spanning multiple countries and creative disciplines, including interactive installations, documentary films, video art, and live audiovisual performances.



Member of the Board of Directors at Source Photographic Review, Belfast – London, United Kingdom.
Head of Collections at Argos Center for Audiovisual Art, Brussels, Belgium.
Strategist at Palma Creativa, Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain
; Fabergé Museum, St. Petersburg; THX Centre for Sound, Image and Digital Culture, The Hague, Netherlands

Research & Development at Palma Creativa, Palma de Mallorca, Spain; E.C.A.S. Network (European Cities of Advanced Sound), Berlin, Germany;  TodaysArt Festival, The Hague, Netherlands; Cimatics Digital Agency, Brussels, Belgium; Belfast Exposed, Belfast, Northern Ireland; PAErsche, Cologne, Germany; Arxiu Planas, Palma de Mallorca, Spain; AcciónMAD, Madrid, Spain; QSS Studios and Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Production Manager, Producer for Cimatics Digital Agency Brussels, Belgium
Video studio manager at Kaleri, Neformat, Multikultuurimaja Artists Association, Kadriorg studio and Von Krahli Theatre, Tallinn, Estonia

Volunteer at Arxiu Planas, Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Netwerk Contemporary Art Center, Aalst, Belgium,  Argos Center for Audiovisual Art, Brussels, Belgium, Belfast Exposed

Tutor at MFA Goldsmith College, London; Queen’s University, Belfast, UK
Professor at Interdisciplinary Arts Department, Estonian Academy of Arts
, Tallinn, Estonia

The list outlines various research and development projects undertaken between 2001 and 2019.
The projects listed are a testament to the diverse range of research and development initiatives undertaken in the creative industries. The projects span over two decades and involve investigations into various themes, including branding and mapping of creative economies and cultures, museum and archive development, sound and digital culture, participatory media making, and documentary projects.

The projects demonstrate the versatility of creative professionals in adapting to changing demands in the sector. The research and development initiatives undertaken showcase a multidisciplinary approach to tackling challenges in the creative industry and culture, with projects ranging from multimedia labs, to sound and image institutions, to archives and museums. The outcomes of these initiatives have not only benefited creative practitioners, but have also contributed to the cultural heritage of the communities in which they are located.


2018 – 2019 Palma Creativa. Brand and unified visual identity of Palma, Creative City. Research & development, mapping of the creative economy and culture of Mallorca.
2018 – 2019 Arxiu Planas. Largest photography archive on Balearic islands produced and collected by Josep Planas i Muntanya from 50s to our days. Research & development proposal.
2017-2018 Research/ investigation of prospects of creating a modern museum of natural sciences in the harbour area of Saint – Petersburg, on the premises of the industrial estates of Sevkabel.
2015 – 2016 AcciónMAD performance network, Madrid, Spain. Archive/web development concept, publishing workshops.
2014 – 2015 PAErsche performance network, Cologne, Germany. Archive/web development concept, publishing workshops, in progress.
2014 QSS Studios and Gallery, Belfast, UK. Research on studios archive, web development, documentation.
2013 – 2014 Belfast Exposed, Belfast, UK. Research on photography archive, development proposal.
2011 – 2012 THX Centre fo Sound, Image and Digital culture, The Hague, Netherlands. Research for the new institution joining NIMk, STEIM and V2_ Institute for Unstable Media.
2010 – 2012 ECAS (European Cities of Advanced Sound), Berlin, Germany. Network of independent non-profit organisations, dedicated to advancing sound cultures, music and related arts. Marketing and artistic research, web development.
2011 Amplified architecture, The Hague, Netherlands. TodaysArt’s project for reflections on architecture, and urban infrastructures.
2011 Ryoichi Kurokawa installation Octfalls production, Venice Biennial collateral event “One of a thousand  ways to defeat entropy” at Arsenale pavilion.
2011 The Rise of Performative Architecture camp-conference, Brussels, Belgium.
2010 -2011 MyCityLab beta, Brussels, Belgium. Collaborative community platform.
2010 – 2011 Cimatics Digital Agency portfolio, Brussels, Belgium. Since 2003 agency was organising festival, dedicated to real-time audiovisual performances and installations, as well as actively involved with production and distribution of digital art.
2010 Minutes Lumiere network. Research on visual anthropology and participatory media making. In collaboration with Kanema, pedagogical documentary association, Spain.
2009 Argos Platform, Brussels, Belgium. Marketing analysis of the institution and proposal for online platform, presenting centre activities and largest collection of  video art and artistic documentary in Belgium. Argos Centre for Art and Media.
2008, Estonia. Pedagogical documentary project at Tartu Art College and series of screenings at KUMU and Athena Cinema.
2008 Quest Documentary project and collective exhibition commissioned by Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea, UK. In collaboration with Welsh-based artists Jan Gerlings, Paul Granjon, Jacob Whittaker and Minna Hint.
2006 Empty Spaces and their Occupants. Estonian exposition at VI Saint-Petersburg Festival of experimental art and performance, Manege. Russia.
2006 – 2007 Young Spanish Painters. Exhibitions series at Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn.
2006 -2009 Kadriorg Studio, Tallinn-London. Inter(national) cultural projects, audio-visual production and workshops.
2004 – 2005 Kaleri Artists-run space and multimedia lab. Tallinn, Estonia
2001 – 2003 Multikultuurimaja multimedia lab. Tallinn, Estonia.


Diagramming the Archive, Dublin, Ireland and Belfast, United Kingdom
Rencontres Art Vu, Amiens, France
Augusti TantsuFestival, Tallinn, Estonia
Festival Nuit Blanche, Brussels, Belgium
Festival Electron, Genève, Switzerland
Festival Motel Mozaïque, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Festival Facyl, Salamanque,  Spain
Le Cube Festival, Issy – les – Moulineaux, France
Festival VIA, Mons,  Belgium
Festival EXIT, Créteil, France
Festival Nouveaux auteurs, Halle, Germany
Le Cinema Extraordinaire, NG Art Container, Tallinn, Estonia
Festival Chalon dans la rue, Chalon-sur-Saône,  France
Biennale de Charleroi-danses, Charleroi,     Belgium
Artists anthropologists, Y-Gallery, Tartu, Estonia
Mirror, mirror on the wall, is it Art or is it Porn? exhibition in collaboration with Merike Estna at Gallery Frederic Desimpel Brussels, Belgium
Festival DansCamDanse, Ghent, Belgium
Rauma Biennale Balticum, Rauma Art Museum, Finland
Goldsmiths College mid-course show with Merike Estna, London,   UK
New Wave. 21 century Estonian artists, Tallinn Art Hall (Estonia)
Pärnu XIII International Film- and video festival (Estonia). Grand Prix for the best Estonian audio-visual art work
Contemporary Art from Estonia, Baltic States, part III, Kalmar Art Museum (Sweden)
Consequences and Proposals. The Biennale of Young Artists, Tallinn (Estonia)
Quest, Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea. UK
Flowers of evil, Gods Zoo is Diverse, Hobusepea gallery, Tallinn. Estonia
Political/ Poetical, XIV Tallinn Print Triennial Estonia
Offline – online, international video art festival, Pärnu. Estonia
Word in Motion, text – video festival, Riga. Latvia
ISEA2004 International Symposium for Electronic Arts. Helsinki – Oslo – Stockholm – Tallinn
Last Hero, Rottermann Salt Storage exhibition hall, Tallinn. Estonia
Gooseflesh, international video and performance festival, Rakvere. Estonia
Look at me, British Fashion photography exhibition, Tallinn Art Hall. Estonia
Dark Nights, annual international film festival, Tallinn. Estonia
2001 – 2002
Allusions to Power group exhibition at VAAL Gallery, Tallinn, Estonia
Nordic Light annual light installation festival in Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland
2001 – 2003, 2007

3 images of life and time – Tartu Museum of Art. Estonia ( Editor, Director Minna Hint )
Esenin in Tallinn, Rainbow Warrior – KUMU Estonian Museum of Art  ( Director )

Parables of еviction and regeneration processes documentary in collaboration with Elvira Santamaria 2016
Moving statues audiovisual installation in collaboration with Martin Byrne, Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland 2015


Repetition documentary in collaboration with Minna Hint.
Tartu.doc collective documentary directed by Joanot Cortes and Maxim Surin. II Prize in short film festival Julius 2008, Spain.
Killer Knife, Fiction documentary, One crazy naked woman who dared to be honest, Gods Zoo is Diverse or War and Peace, Shkatulka, Man on the beach, It can be dangerous to want to know why videos in collaboration with Merike Estna.
Inside or Out documentary in collaboration with Minna Hint. Grand Prix for the best Estonian audio-visual art work at Pärnu XIII International Film- and video festival, Estonia.
Dance Marathon ballet adaptation. Choreography: Mai Murdmaa, music score: Rainer Jancis, director Maxim Surin.
Pigeons du Sabledocumentary film in collaboration with Merike Estna.
Flight002 documentary. Music score: Martin Pedanik.
3 images of life and time documentary. Editing: Maxim Surin, camera and director: Minna Hint.
Alien documentary. Director: Kert Grunberg, editing: Maxim Surin.
Kizoo animation in collaboration with Atoo and Martin Pedanik.
Meiega Võidavad Kõik! Esenin in Tallinn, Rainbow Warrior documentaries. Neformat Studio.
Flood documentary. Director: Kert Grunberg, editing: Maxim Surin.


Chambre(s) d’Hôtel video interface for performance by t.r.a.n.s.i.t.s.c.a.p.e. multidisciplinary collective, Brussels, Belgium. Urban space/ live video dance/ interview/ live sound/ live web broadcast. 2008 – 2014
Vool multimedia performance with Sirje Mottus, Kristi Muhling, Tarmo Johannes and Riina Maidre at KUMU Auditoorium, Tallinn. Estonia 2007
Metroluminal concert tour in Tallinn and Tartu. Estonia 2005
Koit concert. Tõnis Mägi and Estonian Symphonic Orchestra. Tartu Laululava. Estonia 2003
Maa ja ilm international ethnical music festival, Tartu. Estonia 2002
Export AV events series at various locations. Estonia 2002-2004
Konverter audio-visual festival, Tallinn. Estonia
We Rock! performance with Jasper Zoova, Martik Pedanik and Diva Natasja at Gooseflesh International performance festival. Estonia
The Dream Machine urban screen installation and performances with Sven Grunberg, Kulgurid, Taavi Laatsit and Jasper Zoova. Estonia
Zvezda performance in collaboration with Jasper Zoova and Illegal Model Agency at ERKI Annual Fashion Show. Estonia
Unison performance curated by Raul Keller. MKDK Production, Tallinn. Estonia
Sven Grünberg performance series at Von Krahli Theatre, Estonian Academy of Arts, Sakala Culture Center and Vanemuine Theatre
Bashment event series, Tallinn. Estonia 2001 -2005
Jazzitup! event series, Tallinn. Estonia 2003-2004
Mutant Disco event series, Tallinn. Estonia 2001-2003
Vision event series, Tallinn. Estonia 2000-2002
Residency at JazzKaar international jazz festival. Collaborations with Richard Galliano Trio, Jimi Tenor, Kroit, Nils Petter Molvaer Khmer, Rinneradio, Tung 69,  1999 – 2003
Sky is the Limit events series. Neuronphase, Tartu. Estonia 1998-2001

Ryoichi KurokawaAdam Leech, Angel Vergara, Roberto Paci DaloMerike Estna, Joanot Cortes, Elvira Santamaria, VJ K-os, Paul Granjon, Christoff Gillen, Jacob Whittaker, Jasper Zoova, Martin Pedanik, Raul Keller, Minna Hint, Timo Toots, Mark Raidpere, Atoo, Kert Grunberg, Andres Lill, Hanno Soans, Kiwa, Mai Murdmaa, Jorge Piquer Rodriguez, Andres Lõo, Riina Maidre, Rosita Raud, Peeter Linnap, Paul Rogers, Erki Laur, Kärt Ojavee, Peeter Laurits, BIe Erenurm, Ahto Külvet, Arnold Praust, Anders Härm, Igor Ruus, MIhkel Kleis, Pille Jurisoo, Liisi Eelmaa, Krista Rambak-Krull and others.

Raumlabort.r.a.n.s.i.t.s.c.a.p.e.,, Showcase Beat Le Mot Theatre, Giardini Pensili Theatre, Von Krahli Theatre, Nargen Opera, Aeg Ruumis Theatre, New Arts Ensemble, Multikultuurimaja, Mung, Neuronphase.

Composers and musicians
Hafler Trio, Sven Grünberg, Tõnu Kaljuste, Rein Rannap, Tõnis Mägi, Estonian Symphonic Orchestra, Sirje Mottus, Kristi Muhling, Tarmo Johannes, Tiit Kikas, Rainer Jancis, Richard Galliano Trio, Jimi Tenor, Kroit, Nils Petter Molvaer Khmer, Rinneradio, Zion Train, Caribase, Django Bates, Courtnie Pine, Osibisa, Tung 69, Amalgamation of Soundz, Faze Action, Holmes, Una Bomba, Tummel, EZ Rollers, Spring Heel Jack, London Electricity, Basement Jaxx, Jazzanova, Fuzz Against  Junk, Grandmaster Flash,  Andrei Mongus Algol-Ool, Treee, Raul Saaremets, Metroluminal, Kulgurid, Taavi Laatsit, Ringo Ringvee, Tarrvi Laaman, Aivar Tonso and many others.

Read full publication here. Afterall, issue 36

Zachary Cahill and Philip von Zweck discuss how artists reroute the institutional impulse of today’s art system by taking up day jobs that feed into their practices — acting, in effect, as double agents.

double agent n. A spy who works on behalf of mutually hostile countries, usually with actual allegiance only to one.
— Oxford English Dictionary

One has heard of double and triple agents who themselves in the end no longer exactly know for whom they were really working and what they were seeking for themselves in this double and triple role playing… On which side do our loyalties lie? Are we agents of the state and of institutions? Or agents of enlightenment?

Or agents of monopoly capital? Or agents of our own vital interests that secretly cooperate in constant changing double binds with the state institutions, enlightenment, counter-enlightenment, monopoly capital, socialism, etc., and, in so doing, we forget more and more what we our ‘selves’ sought in the whole business?
— Peter Sloterdijk

Zachary Cahill: It is well worth pondering the idea that the ever-greater erosion of the romantic conception of the artist that we have seen over the last few decades has appeared in tandem with the rise of a hybridised notion of artistic agency that moves within and between the various institutions that comprise the art world. In some instances this erosion may be lamentable. No doubt weighed down with the impossibly heavy baggage of claims to genius and crimes of nationalism(s), the romantic figure of the artist may still prove useful in an art world that is increasingly shaped by impersonal institutions. But if we
are to have no truck with nostalgic lamentations for the fall of the romantic trope, then we should take stock of what contributes to the rise of hybridity and some of the ways it has become manifest in the art world today.

The institutional imperatives that have given rise to this hybridity are (at least) twofold. On the one hand, we have institutions playing the role of artists. Theorist and critic Boris Groys locates the production of art in the realm of ‘multiple authorship’, where art is the product not only of the artist but also
of choices made by curators, museum directors, museum board members, etc.,
in a kind of Duchampian play of artistic selection writ large.3 On the other hand,
we have the artist as employee of institutions, occupying numerous roles (from marginal to gainful employment) within art schools, museums, galleries and art periodicals, for example. These two poles could be thought of as opposed ends of the spectrum that constitutes a new hybrid notion of the artist, which might even be entering a phase of maturity. This mature figure, I would offer, is that of the artist as double agent.

Philip von Zweck: What is significant here is that, while not new, this hybridisation — what we will describe as ‘double agency’ — is becoming a required tactic for artists, especially those trying to participate from positions outside of centres (geographic
or otherwise) of influence.

The Romance of Double Agency
ZC: Double agents, as we understand from popular culture, move between different states and have a complex relation to their identities. Often we find spy movies rather empty because, in the end, after all the shuttling back and forth between allegiances, the truth
of the spy’s identity is that there is really no one there. We don’t have access to the agent’s personal life because it is subordinate to the task at hand; spies are in some sense non- characters. They do not have the courage of their convictions, or the convictions behind their power appear so intense that it is hard to fathom what really drives them — a belief in their country as a rationale for their dangerous work can seem hardly more than ideological brainwashing. Chameleon-like spies adapt to their environments to survive. Loyalties get confused. Notions of right and wrong, the just and the unjust, are less governed by actual laws than a personal code of conduct.
Conventionally understood, the romantic figure of the artist is an individual who retreats into his or her own subjectivity. Against this extended misconception, however, it might be instructive to recall the dictum of that Romantic artist par excellence,
Caspar David Friedrich: ‘I have to morph into a union with the clouds and rocks in order to be what I am.’4 I would like to propose that the operation the Romantic painter describes as morphing with the landscape is roughly analogous to the ways in which artists merge with institutions to perform their double agency.

PvZ: I think that you are not describing double agents but a perception of the double agent predominantly informed by fiction. While I am not a spy, I think the decision to become
an agent (double or otherwise) is indeed made through conviction; the problem of
double agents (for both spies and artists) is that their need to keep those convictions and motivations guarded may lead to distrust. In contrast with the Romantic painter’s desire to become one with the landscape, the double agent doesn’t morph into the institution, he or she only appears to do so: there is always a distance, an awareness on the part of the double agent that his or her long-term plan is not necessarily aligned with that of the institution.

Institutional Romance(s)
ZC: Perhaps it is important to try to set down some provisional modes by which artists operate as double agents. The first, and perhaps most common, is the day job, through which the artist pursues his or her artistic work, making no distinction between one
and the other. He or she slips between the gears of the institution, advancing at once
the company’s dime and his or her own. This might be the artist who works in arts administration, or within the academy — an institution that often has as its mission the idea of supporting artistic research. Artist-teachers bring their clout to a teaching gig,
and, in exchange, schools allow them to build their clout. It is a symbiotic relationship. Next might be the artist-critic: the artist who takes up writing to advance ideas and arguments that enter into circulation at much higher velocity and volume than perhaps
the exhibition format can muster.5 This moment may have had its heyday in the pitched debates in art magazines during the 1960s, when artists such as Robert Morris and Donald Judd wrote impassioned and polemical texts in the pages of Artforum and elsewhere as a counterpoint to the critical hegemony of Clement Greenberg and Michael Fried. Another double agent is the artist as curator, creating exhibitions with an artistic sensibility that is at once different from and the same as the curator in his or her craft. As Elena Filipovic notes,

If it is easy to see that artist-curated exhibitions can trouble our very understanding of such notions as ‘artistic autonomy’, ‘authorship’, ‘artwork’ and ‘artistic oeuvre’, what might be less evident is that they also complicate what might count as an ‘exhibition’. Many artist-curated exhibitions — perhaps the most striking and influential of the genre — are the result of artists treating the exhibition as an artistic medium in its own right, an articulation of form.

Relatively recent examples include Maurizio Cattelan’s Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art in 2006, which he co-curated with Ali Subotnik and Massimiliano Gioni, and Artur Zmijewski’s edition in 2012. Lastly, we have the artist as businessperson-impresario: an individual who wields all of these methods in some version of Warhol’s Factory, sourcing labour and content to and from a variety of participants. An example of this today might be artists Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle in their role as founders of the network e-flux, which uses advertising sales through its announcement service to support projects such
as e-flux journal and Time/Bank, a micro-economic model that facilitates the exchange of time and skills amongst individuals or groups of people involved in the cultural field via a time-based currency.7
No doubt these are all gross oversimplifications, but perhaps they will be at least provisionally useful for trying to understand this sketch of the artist as double agent.

PvZ: For me the idea of double agency in art has to do with getting two (or more) seemingly unaligned results out of one set of operations — that is, doing something that is your
day job while at the same time it is your art. While I can see how this can happen in arts administration, I think you haven’t gone far enough in your description. Making a living doing the work you want to do, be it in your studio or in an administrative office, however, strikes me as agency, not double agency. To qualify as double agents, artists would need to be able to claim credit for their day job as their art practice, or at least significantly blur the lines between art and work. To my mind, Pablo Helguera is a
great example, since his individually authored projects often share the same form as his day job as Director of Adult and Academic Programs in the education department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. When he presents a lecture-performance, it is his art. But when he does it at MoMA, is it his job? Also interesting is the relationship between your own administrative position at the University of Chicago, Zachary, and your work as a writer and artist.
I am unable to situate the artist as professor in a category of double agency because the goals of the artist and the institution are too in line with each other — unless we are referring to artists of such stature that they draw a pay cheque while not actually teaching (as Slavoj Žižek is so proud of doing in Astra Taylor’s 2005 film Žižek! ). In those instances both the professor and the academy are working against the students, who are drawn
to said institution by the lure of educational opportunities they may never have — a very problematic higher-education version of bait-and-switch.
I see the artist-critic and artist-curator as being the most successful modes of double agency, as they both perform a function with power and influence, which, depending on scale, has the potential to disseminate the artist’s name and critical agenda.

What I think you are failing to discuss is the urgency for artists to be double agents. In his recent book Your Everyday Art World (2013), Lane Relyea argues that artists’ moves to combine a plethora of flexible freelance jobs (studio work, curation, criticism, etc.) grew out of the forms of contingent labour that gained prominence in the 1990s, and have certainly not left.8 What we’re calling double agents may be the kissing cousins of the artists Relyea speaks about insofar as they adapt the artistic strategies we might associate with Conceptu- alism and Institutional Critique to the dire economic landscape of contingent employment and decreased arts funding: double agents embrace the DIY strategies Relyea lays out,
but also desire to work within institutions in more or less any capacity, even in day jobs, with a view to twisting an institution to work for them once inside. Such methods are used tactically (although not necessarily consciously) in the attempt to move from the periphery to the centre of an insular art world; they are small ways to manufacture proximity.

Double agency may amount to a type of romantic project whereby artists assert their subjectivity through various masks and by morphing identities within larger institutional structures.

Read full article here:
Download from:

“The Artist as Double Agent” co-authored w/ Philip von Zweck
Afterall, issue 36, Summer 2014
Image above: Daniel Newman, John Candy Firing Range, 2012, mixed media, 53 × 47cm (framed). Courtesy the artist and INVISIBLE- EXPORTS, New York

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