Jaana Maijala and Ville Linna explore the sounds of living plants in their exhibition
The upcoming exhibition by Jaana Maijala and Ville Linna ‘The stump of Prometheus: Stay together’ is a part of the joint project of the artists started in 2018. The project began with documenting endangered and historically significant old trees by photographing and recording them. The Stump of Prometheus is the remains of a Great Basin bristlecone pine in Nevada, United States, which is believed to be 5000 years old. The first part of the project was exhibited at the Lapua Art Museum in the autumn of 2020.
The measuring device designed by Ville Linna transforms the fluctuations of electrical conductivity of the exhibited organic remains into a sound audible to human ear. Jaana Maijala’s photographs have been created by interacting with sound using carbon paper: without looking at the paper, drawing blindly, and listening at the same time. The drawings are then photographed.
– I work by combining and mixing photography and drawing. I start with drawing as it simulates life very effortlessly and intimately. For me, a pencil is a tool of trial and thought, a medium for simulating events and emotions, says Maijala. To her, it is important to capture a certain moment, energy or idea on film or paper.
In the exhibition space, Maijala’s photographs and the soundscape created by Linna are interacting with each other, and can be experienced together. The exhibition explores how man interprets sounds that normally cannot be perceived by the human senses without a mediator.
– Sometimes messages that cannot be interpreted mean nothing. When a spirit comes to life and goes out, is communication just a random, mechanical repetition? Ville Linna is reflecting.
The exhibited works have been inspired by the poem For the Children, written by American poet Gary Snyder, from which the name of the exhibition – stay together – derives. What happens when human beings lose their connection to nature? How do humans interpret information produced by other organisms? Can we learn from it?
– The piece observes the reaction of exhibition visitors. Sometimes a person is in the way of himself, and prejudices can take him from one emotional state to another, says Ville Linna.
The exhibition also announces the coming of spring: even after a strange year, the spring inevitably comes. In the exhibition space, the progress of spring and growing daylight are concretely present: the round window of Vintti will change the atmosphere of the space in coming weeks and months.
– Plants do not communicate with us. They produce air, breathe air into the instruments and our lungs. They have nothing to say to us, but we can still allow ourselves to hear the hope of spring in the sounds of flutes, ponders Jaana Maijala.
Jaana Maijala (b. 1984) is a visual artist who combines photography and drawing in her creation. In her works, she explores the ever-changing present and the power of the mind. Maijala graduated from the Master’s program in Fine-Art Photography of the Aalto University. After years of living in Helsinki and around the world, she has returned to her home town and presently works at her cottage in Ylistaro.
Ville Linna (b. 1982) is a sound artist and musician, who migrates between Hyvinkää and Helsinki. His works are based on civic perceptions and intuitive understanding through creative mistakes. Linna’s works explore human history with nature as a commodity, and the reflections of human emotions on other lifeforms.