My latest exhibition features two video installations depicting wind movement. Projected across four walls, Vortex simulates the experience of finding yourself in the eye of the storm; the wind is carrying debris and visibility is poor. Wind Park takes its form and shape from a real-life wind farm, visualising wind movements in a range of different ways using short videos screened on monitors placed within the space. I have imagined what it would feel like to be caught in the throes of a hurricane on a distant ocean coast and turned my gaze to admire the wind turbines near our summer cottage in northern Finland, soaring high into the sky and imbuing the surrounding landscape with a sense of futuristic optimism. At the foot of a wind turbine and in the eye of a storm, the energy that continually oscillates through the air around us takes on a tangible, palpable presence. As the natural phenomena featured in the exhibition are of an ersatz, digital kind, however, there is no need to layer up or wrap up warm. No matter how the wind might blow, you won’t feel it here.
I have used wind to symbolise both climate change and the struggle against it. As human actions give rise to irreversible environmental change, so wind patterns, too, will change and extreme weather phenomena, including hurricane level winds blowing at the speed of a Formula One car, will become a more frequent occurrence. Wind is both an untameable force of nature and a vital source of energy harnessed by humans that will aid us in our efforts to mitigate against climate change. Wind thus represents both hope and destruction.
I work with video, a medium that allows me to visualise physical natural phenomena invisible to the human eye. As a media artist, I’m fascinated by the process of depicting alternative realities, by the material nature of video, by how seemingly immaterial media can transform into physical experiences and by the way the act of incorporating the technical equipment integral to screening the works into the installation itself causes them to evolve into objects. The works in this exhibition have been executed using a range of video and animation techniques alongside computer wind simulations and hurricane track projections, while wind movement is manifested through the use of a range of materials. In the exhibition, moving images are used to create a series of spatial entities, where the digital becomes biological and binary digits become particles.
Paula Lehtonen (1983–) is a media artist working with spatial video installations and electronic art. Her work explores the process of digitalisation while expressing a primal yearning for a return to nature. Her latest works have focused on the aesthetics of natural disasters and the way bats understand the world around them. Light and sound play a key role in her immersive creative approach. Her technique is informed and influenced by her experience of working as a VJ and video designer in clubs and the theatre. Lehtonen graduated from the Tampere University of Applied Sciences in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Culture and Arts and was awarded a Master’s degree by the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture (Media Lab) in 2013.