Ten People in a Suitcase came about as a response to the archive of over 30,000 photographs that are held by the Gösta Serlachius Fine Art Foundation in Mänttä, Finland. The town was originally built around a paper mill which was founded in 1868. Though the mill is still there, it is a pale shadow of its original glory, now producing mostly toilet paper. Mänttä currently has just over 6,000 inhabitants.
Some of the pictures in the archive are of places and individuals of note, important people in the history of the mill and of the town. Most of the images however are of the ordinary folk of Mänttä, often anonymous, mostly engaged in ordinary, activities.
I chose ten photographs as guides, recreating the scenes with myself as protagonist and narrator. Each character I chose to re-imagine had something about them that I recognised. I felt there was a part of me already within the photograph. It could have been the way the character stood,
or the space they took up in the frame, a glint in the eye, or an authority in the angle of the hand. I felt a visceral connection to them.
In order to create these new photographs, I had to imagine the events that led up to this moment in the character's lives, and in doing so, felt closer to the town itself. The photographs transcend mere re-enactments, they are embodiments of real individuals who are more than just their snap shot.
My work often plays with the idea of photography as a language that can be translated and understood in different ways. I play with the tropes of certain genres of photography, and distort them to produce new meanings. Through performance, Ten People in a Suitcase is a study of how historic photographs function in the world by depicting the clash between historical and contemporary image making.