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Sini Pelkki: Length, 2016, 16mm Film transferred to HD, 7′ 23″ 


Sini Pelkki: Length
Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, Turku FI


Sini Pelkki’s video work Length creates a landscape into the Takkahuone Gallery. A landscape that envelops the viewer inside of it, at the same time drawing attention to the distance between the viewer and the image.

Visual artist Sini Pelkki works primarily with photography, film and video. Length is a video work shot on 16mm film that contemplates the boundaries and meanings of images. The artist is interested in the subjectivity of seeing – what we see and how we see.

A collage guides the viewer to the Takkahuone Gallery. Upon entering Takkahuone, the viewer must circle around a wall, which opens up into a landscape on the other side. In the landscape, the viewer faces a figure with its back turned. Abstract sounds echo from the work’s aural landscape.

In Pelkki’s work we remain in a single environment, but the camera chooses what we see. Stairs, rocks and urban architecture devoid of any obvious beauty, dried-up hay and the reddish-brown granite of an outcrop – the camera proceeds in spurts, at times slowly, at times fast, latching suddenly on details or following with its movements the form of a railing. Our gaze wishes to move forward, but the camera repeats the same spot again.


Influence of Rhythm and Form

Through movement and pauses, repetition and rhythm the work creates powerful and distinct sensory experiences. The work is immersive on many levels, but at the same time the viewer repeatedly becomes conscious of the image as a medium and of being an experiencer of the work.

The work creates a kind of estranged experience, and the moment is charged with a feeling evoking the questions of existence – whose moment, whose experience, time and the passing time, all these seem anything but obvious.

The name of the work Length indicates distance – the length and journey between the figure and the camera, and the viewer and the image. The name also refers to transitions within the image. Pelkki says that one of the inspirations for the work was a musical composition:

One of the starting points of the work is Charles Mingus’ Black Saint and The Sinner Lady from 1963. The piece and the album consists of a single composition divided into four tracks. Through the eleven-piece orchestra, the composition varies subtly between control and chaos – simultaneously completely untamed and in the next moment organized and sharp. I have been interested in this composition for a long time, in its form and movement.