Meeting Jussi Ägneslevä

We recently had the pleasure of meeting Germany-based artist Jussi Ägneslevä and was able to learn more about his practice. Ägneslevä gave us an opportunity to hear about his public installations and see images showing them in great detail. He also described what it is like working with ARTCOM, a conglomerate of designers, engineers, and other creators that communicate the potential of new media and technology in the art and architecture world. Through his work with ARTCOM, Ägneslevä and his team are able to create opportunities for viewers to engage with technology and art in a new way, creating immersive experiences that are able to tell stories of any kind that also further mesh together our physical and digital worlds.

Jussi Ägneslevä described how his team works together to create these spectacular installations, and how they are able to marry technology with innovative ways of presenting stories. Even though the production process of the projects can be intricate, Ägneslevä said that the people who conceive the ideas for the projects are not involved in the production, and that ARTCOM uses advisors to help carry the project throughout its many stages. During the conversation, the topic of finances came up, and how exactly ARTCOM has the funds to create very intricate and expensive projects. Ägneslevä told us that their limited budgets create opportunities for them to invent “elegant” solutions, and that using technology that’s given to you forces you to use it for its intended purpose and to not think outside the box. By programming their projects and installations to for different purposes, even on a limited budget in some cases, they are able to create unique experiences for their viewers that also recontextualize technology that they may already be used to seeing in a different light. Since technology already has its own agenda, as Ägneslevä put it, ARTCOM strongly encourages their clients to not look at certain technologies as the inspiration for works and installations, and to be open minded.

ARTCOM’s ability to use AR (augmented reality) to tell stories is incredible, and they have mainly used this technology to animate figures and items within museums to help tell their stories. By creating ‘viewers’ that a person looks into and it creates a still-frame setting to contextualize the main object, ARTCOM is helping their audience to see historical objects in a new light and to tell their story. In installations centered around AR technology, the technology itself is not the main focus, but it is a means of story telling, which is ARTCOM’s goal: to marry technology with art.