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Self-portraits
posted by Rozan van Klaveren on 12 April 2021

Self-portraits
 
I struggle a lot with the anthropogenic aspects of the time we are living in, and feel the need to be in nature to find rest, meaning and connection. Therefore I feel privileged to be able to work in Kilpisjärvi again, this time for three weeks. For my project Wild Matters, I investigate my relationship to nature through 360° video, and I explore the medium for artistic possibilities to communicate about this. There is still an awful lot that I can learn by simply experiencing the silence of nature, and the primitive life in and around my small cabin in Leppäjärvi, while I notice again and again how good this is for me. I try to capture this on camera.
 
While I record 360° video, I have to make an effort not to be in the picture myself. After all, the entire environment is captured by the camera. And because I don't have a lens to see through, I open myself very differently to potential film locations than if I were to film with a regular camera. I therefore use my camera as if it were a probing instrument that registers pieces of nature, or the experience of nature. When I scrutinize my recordings in Kiekula, the probed 'samples' suddenly become representations. Sometimes that detracts from the experience I gained in nature, but sometimes it also enhances this experience. In both situations, this feeds the exploration of my relationship to nature, also in a philosophical sense.
 
I gradually discovered that my presence in the images does not have to be a disturbing element. On the contrary. In combination with a musing voice-over, my presence in the image helps me to communicate what nature does to me. Therefore, it looks like I'm getting more into the tradition of making the self-portraits. This is something Senja Penttilä, a photography student from the art college where I teach (LUCA School of Arts), is also doing. She experiences a strong connection with nature too and expresses this in her work through self-portraits. By working together in Kilpisjärvi now, we discover differences as well as similarities in our approach, our medium use, and our goals.