In myths and folklore, fairy rings—naturally occurring rings or arcs of basidiomycota phylum of fungi—were believed to be places of supernatural origin. In Fairy Pins, a new interactive artwork, Jenna Sutela investigates this curious “natural” phenomenon and provides a digital tool for locating fairy rings around the planet. With this tool, each mushroom circle receives a name as well as a soundtrack. Her map invites us to step into these ring portals and explore their potential to serve as entry points to different states of consciousness. Here, a ring of mushrooms marks off a space distinct from the world as we know it; a place of spiritual technology (the fairy dance) which distorts time so that it runs on a different scale. From afar, the shapes created by fungi can be read as messages from other worlds, while on the ground, the rings can be used for larping, dreaming, et cetera.
Fairy Pins can be described as a living system, expanding as fairy rings are added by its users. It remains to be seen if entering into these magic circles, be it the Strange Loop, the Lemniscate Labyrinth, or the Moor and Moor, be it online or in physical space, will lead us to an alternative, collectively imagined trans-species and less human-centered world.
Jenna Sutela is a Finnish artist based in Berlin. She works with biological and computational systems, including the human microbiome and artificial neural networks, to create sculptures, images, and music. Sutela’s works have been presented at museums and art contexts internationally, including Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève (2023); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2022); Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (2022); Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2022); Shanghai Biennale (2021); Liverpool Biennial (2021); Kunsthall Trondheim (2020); Serpentine Galleries, London (2019); and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2019). She was a visiting artist at the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) from 2019 to 2021.