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Ville Kansanen



Numen is a series of photography, video, installation- and land art. The intention of the work is to simulate and interact with natural phenomena revered by our early ancestors as a method to rekindle our primordial connection with Nature.

As we become ever more reliant on science to answer our biggest questions and solve our smallest problems; and as human activity and labor are replaced by technology and convenience, we are in danger of gradually losing ourselves. We rarely touch the ground with our hands or follow the sun to determine our waking hours. Our beginnings become gradually forgotten and regress into our deepest subconscious memories. Our being becomes obscured by layers and layers of thought and human constructs. The spirits of the mountains have been diminished into geological information.

I wanted to create a way to rediscover the primordial feelings of connection and commitment to an ancient Nature; not as a witness of some awesome natural world, but as a maker of human-scale interventions for entering Nature itself. I wanted to make instruments of reverence and of communication as an attempt to discover the spiritual material that shepherds our permanence in change; to see how the mountains and the land reveal the passage of time and the rites of passage. Situating myself in the desert – the terminal landscape of the Anthropocene and the nascent landscape of Abrahamic religions – I set out to simulate and interact with natural phenomena revered by our early ancestors. I use our most familiar visual medium, photography, as if it were a cave painting or a megalith calling to mind that we are beyond our present human condition. In my work, photographic space is a proxy for a transcended physical reality. A place where matter is rendered translucent and blurred. A place where spans of time are merged into singular moments. When paired with the infinite possibilities of post-production, the photograph itself becomes an idiosyncratic and extended space for the imagination – a “supraspace.” A godlike space where time is irrelevant.

In Numen, alignments and installations are made to exist only within this supraspace. Explicit portrayals of the supernatural are projected by the myth-making imagination onto the reality-presenting photograph. This manifestation of ancient meanings and symbols from the margins of our collective unconscious allows us to discover the ancients anew.

numen : a spiritual force or influence often identified with a natural object, phenomenon, or place

Ville Kansanen

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