last edited in August 2018
I am a self-taught fine art photographer who creates digital compositions from analog and digital photographs I capture myself. Through these compositions I pursue my interest in documenting and understanding solitude as a positive force driving the growth and evolution of human experience and consciousness. My personal perspective on solitude has its roots in tales of early childhood that describe how people begin to discover they exist as separate entities — with their own bodies, minds, emotions, thoughts and souls. In my visual works I try to speak about the different ways in which these early stories unfold, sometimes to the experiences documented in many cultures, of ecstatic, illuminated, nirvana states all of which describe ultimate forms of connection.
In this evolutionary perspective I seek growth, optimism, contemplation, as well as a light, colourful and ethereal sense of elevation. Thus perhaps the most important visual feature of my work is the use of light, which I feel defines my subjects at a molecular and genetic level. My works attempt to be self contained stories, made of uncluttered eco-systems, with their own nourishing atmospheres. This way I intend never to demand anything from the observer. Indeed quite the opposite — my works try to stand between the real world, and a close parallel reality where the observer feels much lighter, embraced and protected.
Even though I am formally trained as a scientist, with strong background in mathematics, and computer science, I have always been fascinated by the history of art movements — perhaps Surrealism and Impressionism have been my strongest influences so far, along with Magical Realism narratives. Since completing Fernwehallein, I have been very drawn to Symbolism. So far it has been is essential for me to create images and narratives that are grounded in the real world, but that are somewhat situated one step away into an alternative world — it may be a dreaming world, or a possible future. I work hard to make sure I can situate these alternative worlds at the interface between my own subjective experience of reality and that of a possible observer.
My current ongoing works focus on the evolution of the lonely houses. I am trying to work out a more intimate and emotional form documentation of what goes on inside, and how they relate to their environment. Elements from Nature are a key for these new works. I am also at the early stages of experimenting on a completely different line using human subjects.
Sejkko Eri is the artistic alter-ego of scientist Manuel Pita. The name Sejkko originates from a Japanese kanji meaning ‘sincere child‘ or ´force of truth‘. The last name Eri makes reference to a fictional character in a novel written within the genre of magical realism by Haruki Murakami. Manuel was born in a Portuguese family of immigrants that moved to Venezuela during the oil boom of the 1970s. He began reading the literature classics of magic realism and contemporary fiction at the age of seven, and showed strong predisposition to maths, science, drawing, painting and sculpture from a very early age as well. Manuel was sent to a catholic school for secondary education at the age of eleven. There, he showed interest in programming languages, logic and computers, which he pursued at university.
After completing his BSc degree in Systems Engineering, Manuel moved to Scotland where he was admitted into a PhD program in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science at the University of Edinburgh. His main research goals were to study the emergence the human ability to represent knowledge explicitly, and to explore the mechanisms of collective information processing in nature and societies using computational models and mathematics. The pursuit of answers to these research questions eventually led Manuel to doing postdoctoral work in the fields of complex systems, systems biology and more recently in computational social science.
During his doctoral and postdoctoral studies, Manuel pursued his passion for photography privately. It was not until 2012 that he started to share his photographic work under the pseudonym of Sejkko, and motivated by the growth of new social media channels, particularly Instagram, and mobile photography in general. In 2014, Sejkko organised the first European meeting of instagrammers (instameet) in Lisbon, Portugal. A year later, he was featured as the most creative account on instagram by the Huffington Post. After a busy and stimulating period in social media that included interactions with other artists, Sejkko withdrew to concentrate on shaping the concept of this artistic work, and to complete various credited art educational courses. Shortly after, the first visions of his series of lonely houses started to appear. Since then, Sejkko’s work has been featured regularly in major channels and international news (see the Press section for details).
Concept Home (2016). Group Show in the Context of the Biennale – “Made In” Art Gallery, Venice Italy.
Fernwehallein (2018). Solo Show. Aguas Livres 8 Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal.
Commercial Photography and Social Media Work