Jenna Sutela is a Finnish-born, Berlin-based artist who works with words, sounds and other living materials to create experimental installations and performances that bring together biology, technology and cosmology.
Her work, I Magma, takes two forms: an app for mobile devices which can be downloaded and experienced anywhere, and an exhibition at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm (12 October 2019–12 January 2020). Please note that the installation of blown glass head-shaped lava lamps is now on view at Kunsthall Trondheim as part of Sutela’s solo show, NO NO NSE NSE (4 March 2020–3 May 2020). The I Magma app is developed with the Serpentine in collaboration with Memo Akten and Allison Parrish.
The physical installation, originally exhibited at Moderna Museet in Stockholm and now on view at Kunsthall Trondheim, features a series of custom made head-shaped lava lamps whose movements act as a ‘seed’ in generating the app’s visuals and language. Using live camera footage of the lava flow in combination with the routes of app users, it allows the users to receive divinatory readings based on collectively formed shapes. The Serpentine commission expands Sutela’s research into alternative forms of intelligence by applying chemical and digital processes in the creation of an oracle, accessed via an app from mobile devices.
This project is part of an ongoing relationship between the Serpentine and Sutela that began during the GUEST, GHOST, HOST: MACHINE! Marathon in 2017.
Jenna Sutela works with words, sounds, and other living media, such as Bacillus subtilis nattō bacteria and the “many-headed” slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Her audiovisual pieces, sculptures, and performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Sutela’s work has been presented internationally, including at Guggenheim Bilbao, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. She is a Visiting Artist at The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) in 2019-20.