Mielikuvitusystävä – Imaginary Friend
In modern society, an animal is a product existing in various forms, as for instance pets and toys. These representational products are symbols of cuteness, innocence, and ownership. The characteristics are being emphasized with the way animals are presented as caricatures, human-like, or easily accessible.
This project questions the reasons people manufacture this endless amount of animal representations while forgetting the initial ones dying to extinction. With their parallel lives, animals offer man companionship which is different from any offered by human exchange. This companionship is offered to the loneliness of man as a species, writes John Berger in his book Why Look at Animals
According to Berger pet lives at home in an artificial habitat, where it becomes a creature of the owner’s way of life and thereby an animal puppet. Therefore, pet in its artificial habitat becomes a portrayal of an animal. Is the altruistic caring we receive from pets and the way animals are portrayed in public imagery making us see them as anthropomorphic – human-like – beings? Or is the control and ownership making people see animals simply as soulless machines, as René Descartes described them?
According to John Berger nature acquires the meaning of what has grown organically, what was not created by man in contrast to the artificial structures of human civilization. How is the role of nature in our lives if it does not exist naturally anymore, and manufactured parts of it can be had at home? Are the living milieus of wild animals also artificial after they have been affected for example by pollution and forestry, and thus is animal itself becoming a representation?
Janna Lindfors is a second-year fine art student from TAMK, working with the mediums of moving image and photography. Lindfors currently lives and works in Tampere, Finland.
Before TAMK she was studying in the Art College of Orivesi, where she found a deeper interest in working in the field of art. Her works have been seen for example in Why Look at Animals screening in Fiskars and in Gallery Himmelblau’s Tässä/Täällä/Nyt group exhibition in Tampere in 2019.
With video and photography, she is intrigued by the documentative feeling these mediums can give. However, the result can be easily manipulated with staged elements, to create alternative and believable realities, where she is dealing with her topics in a melancholic and infantile way. In her artworks, Lindfors is interested combining something old and new. Even though most of her artworks are digital, she also enjoys combining crafts, sculpture and old techniques of photography in her projects.
Lindfors is mostly interested in themes related to one’s mind, such as dreams and memories, but also people’s relationship to animals, such as pets, and spaces like home. She is focusing on themes related to a human on the scale of individuals and society. The starting point for her artwork is often personal and based on stories and memories which in the working process become more general topics, like loneliness and the need for affection. For Janna being able to identify with artworks is important, and thus she feels bringing up the point of view of an individual is relevant.
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