Back to Works by Jarno Parkkima

Vitality and Melancholy / Elollisuus ja Melankolia

3-channel video, 4K, 3 x 9 minutes


Kirsti Simonsuuri wrote in her book Pohjoinen Yökirja (trans. Northern Nighttime Book) from year 1981:

”…an existential idea, that the reality of life can’t be found from man’s ideologies, nor from their thoughts, but rather their existence.”

I’m studying what actions makes one feel vital and alive. I observe my surroundings, perceive and have conversations with other people. I read philosophy from books and stories of machines that look like men and of boys made out of wood.

It feels that contemplating vitality distances from experiencing it, and therefore I’ve had to find the right means that would take me closer to it. These portraits are a residue or a record which expresses this continuing attempt. I’ve practiced shifting my attention to surrounding actual reality and it’s beings and phenomenons. With the aid of a camera, act of looking and these people I’ve encountered, contemplation and analysis has eased out. Vitality and aliveness might have occurred without me realising it.

Looking through a viewfinder and recording images is still a contradictive experience. I can feel intimate and intense closeness but as well distance that can’t be surpassed. I know every person in these images in my own way, but can’t reach a full or absolute understanding of them,  as neither of vitality nor aliveness. What remains are continuing attempts and acts that question. This work is an ongoing process that will expand from one encounter to another,  even during this exhibition.

Again, Simonsuuri:

”I know, that when studying human beings one studies oneself. Sartre’s image of a man peeping through a keyhole, an image, that excited me when being very young, fits on anyone who studies the human being. One can not, is not allowed withdraw too far away.

Folklorists who approach the problem from a more practical point,  talk about participatory observing. History of anthropology is full of examples of when the researcher has become the very subject he/she/they research.”