Brief CV
Jenna Sutela’s (*1983, Finland) written, directed, performed and installed projects seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments – most recently, the relationship between the body and its technologically mediated environment. Her work has been presented, among other places, at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki and South London Gallery and writing published by, for example, Frieze, Harvard Design Magazine and Sternberg Press. Sutela has a background in sound art and media and design research. She currently lives and works between Helsinki and Berlin.
Curatorial Statement
I tend to not make a distinction between my artistic and curatorial activities as they all contribute to the same research. Most projects are based on the exploration of new narrative formats, extending the fields of publishing and performance through a variety of interfaces both online and offline. On a general level my work deals with the ways in which we interface with technology. More specifically, its most recent key themes are: The interrelations and breakdowns between body time, technological time and deep time. Related phenomena such as self-quantification, body-hacking and the human subjugation of habitats. Natural computing and the concept of wetware, a term drawn from the computer-related idea of hardware and software, but applied to biological life forms. The possibility of a universal consciousness in contrast to the idea of a technological singularity.
Projects realized (Selection)
New Degrees of Freedom (2013-) proposes that the body can no longer be emancipated online and explores different means to identity fluidity and autonomous zones in the offline world. The project entails the creation of an avatar who transitions back and forth between real and virtual space. Counseled on the Internet by researchers and artists, the avatar comes to life in a series of performances in varying locations. From Antagon art event in Finland to 1:1 – Re-Calculating Virtual Ratios in Berlin and beyond, each performance has been conceived of in collaboration with different practitioners, including a contortionist, a fashion designer and an electronic engineer. The latest phase of the project considered the idea of one universal avatar. Here, the human organism was seen as interpenetrated by her environment and other organisms in it – namely, water. An audio play took place in an oceanic lounge setting consisting of sea sponge bag chairs, blue light and water popsicles at The Posthuman Era Became A Girl event in London in July 2014. When You Moved (2014) is a sci-fi video essay that explores the relationship between the body and its technologically mediated environment. The story moves through three basic facets of how humans deal with our surroundings: survival (the continuation of life), comfort (wellness and play), and control (safety, efficiency, and power). The video revolves around a physical performance of the script: a person is running inside a moving asteroid spaceship and narrating the story of how she ended up there. Her increasing physical exhaustion can be heard in her voice. She interacts with an interface in front of her, which also calculates her progress. Throughout the video a slime mold growth slowly takes over the asteroid. This amorphous organism, a natural computer, challenges the idea of technological singularity that might seem like the logical conclusion of the scenario.