Visual artist Jenna Sutela: It feels comforting to draw parallels between obsessive introspection and cosmic movements

Visual artist Jenna Sutela: It feels comforting to draw parallels between obsessive introspection and cosmic movements

World-Body, a piece by visual artist Jenna Sutela and writer Ella Plevin, is a series of stories which will be published on Instagram one mysterious picture at a time. Sutela told us about the project.

What kind of stories can we expect?

Each story contains hints as to which body part they are alluding to. The microscopic merges with the macro, for example an eye transforms into a black hole. There are some absurd, Alice in Wonderland-type elements. As a whole the stories picture seven dreams, each about a different body part.

Whose dreams are these stories?

The dreamer is a fictional person, who is neither of us, though the dreams are loosely inspired by our experiences during the pandemic. As for many, our dreams have been quite wild lately.

Why did you choose Instagram for the platform?

Instagram felt natural, because everybody already uses it. We don’t have to lure people to a separate website. The screen format of Instagram also sets limitations for the project in a good way.

What was the collaboration between a writer and a visual artist like?

My works typically move between micro and macro levels. I’m interested in processes taking place in our bodies. They are part of us, but we can only sense them in a limited way. Ella writes columns and other texts using a first person narrator. In this project, the theme comes from me, and the first-person narrative approach comes from Ella. She gives voice to the body parts and inhabitants of the body in the stories.

Will the audience on Instagram participate in solving mysteries?

There is more of a poetic dimension to it, which means there are multiple ways to understand the pictures and stories. They can take your mind to different places and be interpreted differently depending on who sees them.

What kind of audience reactions are you hoping for?

At least for me, during the lockdown I was more aware of my bodily functions and observed them more closely. I became a bit of hypochondriac, many sensations were very much heightened. I find comfort in connecting those thoughts with the movements of the cosmos. Immersing yourself in stories is good for you if you’re stuck inside.

Text: Ninni Lehtniemi 

Picture: A figure from Michael Maier’s emblem book Atalanta Fugiens (1617/1618).



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