New Degrees of Freedom

“In effect, every new link between one’s online and offline identities removes a ‘degree of freedom’…If the body cannot be emancipated online — indeed the Internet has proved to be not virtual enough — let us imagine new modes of existence in the physical world…”


So,  isn’t directly related to the moving image, cinema and gallery; it does relate The Body In [Physical and Virtual] Space and the construction and surveillance of the self.  It’s also an interesting experiment in using a website as a platform that offers narrative possibilities beyond straightforward image and text essays (with the odd video and GIF thrown in).

Jenna Sutela’s “New Degrees of Freedom (2013), [is] a living media project that entails the creation of an avatar who transitions back and forth between real and virtual space.”


To quote Rhizome:

“New Degrees of Freedom is a living media project that strives for autonomy in time and space, or flexible modes of being. The project entails the creation of an avatar who transitions back and forth between real and virtual space. Counselled in an online environment by researchers and practitioners, the avatar comes to life in a series of performances in varying locations. The avatar’s birth was enacted through the movements of a contortionist. Its second iteration, The Spirit of a Real-Life Avatar, is an act of multiplication through spoken word and custom-built electronics: ten instruments, shaped like human voice boxes and carried as pendants, are distributed to audience members who then become sonic extensions of me demonstrating the project.”


Will there be an Act 3?

Some notes on the website

The right hand area (red background) is Act 1: The Birth of a Real Life Avatar, the left hand screen (grey background  is Act 2: The Spirit of a Real Life Avatar.

If you move your cursor over the vertical divide, a fissure appears that takes you

The six pop-up boxes at the foot of the page contain texts from:

Erkki Kurenniemi

Rebecca La Marre with Jaakko Pallasvuo

Elvia Wilk

Juhani Pallasmaa

Jussi Parikka

Johannes Thumfart