Atomic Jungle brings together the works of TAMK’s Fine Art gradutes: Anna Bern, Barbara Jazbec, Inka Jerkku, Janina Joutsen, Sini Keskitalo, Dor Koren, Annika Korhonen, Tiago Mazza, Maria Mikhaylova, Trevor Ngeny and Hilma Nurmi. The exhibition is now open until November 29th, 2020 at Galleria Himmelblau in Tampere.
Atomic Jungle, by definition, is a jungle of atoms. A dense mass of tiny stuff that works together to form life and sustain itself. Something exotic and theoretically wild and exportable, but also inexplicably moist and mosquito-ridden. Something we can vaguely perceive as a whole, but the moving parts of which elude our naked eyes.
We are all, as living beings, atomic jungles living in an atomic jungle. We are all messy things existing in a messy thing that feels like it gets messier over time.
Atomic Jungle – Virtual Exhibition
In the face of a global pandemic, the students came together to find an alternative way to showcase their final works and the VR gallery, an additional 3D virtual world for the artworks was created as a way to learn to use and develop VR content together. The students worked independently, with their leading teachers Sari Tervaniemi and Fanni Niemi-Junkola. They presented their works virtually this spring on their website until they could host a physical exhibition safely.
And so it happened that in the spring of 2020 – a utopian time of health and people coming together – that a small group of atomic jungles decided to exhibit their art together. The world looked upon their endeavour and began giggling sarcastically, looking away towards a stack of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. But they went along with it anyway – undaunted at the face of a world that seemingly left its logic in the pocket of a different pair of pants.
As Sari explains, their biggest challenge was the change from a physical to a digital exhibition in such a short time, “Atomic Jungle was in two weeks when everything changed to distance learning.” This meant the students had to work quickly and efficiently to successfully hold a digital exhibition on time. There was also the issue of equipment and spaces being locked up, this made it challenging for their VR Gallery coder, Tommi Mäkeläinen, to finish the project until Fanny was able to negotiate the equipment for him.
Sari and Fanni both praise the students’ quick response to adapting to the new situation, for example, they made excellent video selfies in one day to market the exhibition online. They already had a strong basis for the exhibition plans and clear roles in the production. For instance, Inka Jerkku did the design for the website, Barbara Jazbec was the main force for the VR Gallery and Annika Korhonen produced the poster and catalog. The trust in everyone’s commitment was the key to their success.
In the future, Sari and Fanni see a continuation of excellent online exhibitions, and as Fanny says “we need to develop, especially, the sharing to bigger audiences and the documentation for more than one year.”
Atomic Jungle 2.0 – Physical Exhibition
Now the exhibition is being presented at Galleria Himmelblau, on floor 3B. Many helped the graduates set up the exhibition for the past week. The space features many installations, videos, mixed media and photography works.
Here, before you, are the atomic jungles that they have created – each a prism refracting the ludicrous light of the world in its own mad way, attempting to form some semblance of sense. Some refract the world itself, discussing climate change, mental illness and more. Some refract ideas, such as virtuality, comfort and privacy. Some refract themselves and others, delving into urban life and the boundaries of the emotional self. Utilizing paintings, sculptures, photos, videos, text, physical spaces and more, a biodiverse selection of jungles is unveiled.
We embrace the absurd – just without touching anything – Dor Koren.
Be sure to go see the exhibition in full if you can before it closes November 29th! You can also find all the works on the website https://www.atomicjungle2020.com/
Article by Isabella Presnal
Images by Luiza Preda