Ritual for the Rainbow (trl. Rituaali sateenkaarelle) is a new series of photographs by Sami Sänpäkkilä that evokes the magical realism of our modern times. The photographs are wrapped in a mystery I created, inspired by events that occurred in 2022.
During the summer on my evening walks, I frequently passed by graffiti that read “DEATH” in bold letters. I was fascinated and wanted to photograph it, but hesitated to use someone else’s work in my own art. Despite my uncertainty, I arranged a photoshoot. A few weeks later, I was at a friend’s place when someone mentioned in passing that they had painted the word “death” everywhere the previous year. I pulled out my phone and showed them the photo I had taken. “That’s my graffiti!” they said, and upon my request, were happy for me to use it.
On Christmas Eve, I walked through the snowy streets of my hometown to its only second-hand bookstore. I was about seven years old when I first started visiting there. Forty years later, I found the same soft-spoken, kind white-haired man behind the counter from whom I had bought so many books and comics. I explained to him that I was looking for props for my photoshoot. We talked for over a half an hour, and as I left with five beautiful books, I promised to visit again next Christmas Eve. At home, when I opened one of the books the first word I saw was “Rainbow.”
While taking a walk with my mother in the forest of my hometown, we stumbled upon a massive teepee made from dozens of large branches. On a plank hung from the teepee, there was a note from two 8-year-old boys pleading not to destroy their creation. As we walked on, we encountered a man on the path, standing next to his bicycle drinking a beer. Without as much as a greeting, he asked us our thoughts on artificial intelligence and robotics. Later, I asked the artificial intelligence ChatGPT to invent how these two encounters were connected, and it replied: “The drunk man and the boys worked together, using the teepee as their laboratory, to create new and innovative AI and robotic systems that enhanced their life in the forest and protected the environment.”
Even though love is the only real magic I have personally experienced, I want to believe that these serendipitous moments suggest that something guides us on our paths, even if in jest.
Ritual for the Rainbow is done with support from Taike and Suomen Kulttuurirahasto.
Photographs from the Ritual for the Rainbow opening night at Studio Mältinranta on 10th March 2023.