61°37'04.3"N 21°25'54.7"E

First Image

Dana Neilson

Description of work

First Image, video loop, 10 minutes, 2020.

This moving image piece is created from photographs taken in Reposaari in 2013 that were meant to, in some way, relate to the idea of ‘ballast’, and video and images taken on my first trip back to Reposaari in the spring of 2020. First Image embodies memory and reflects upon memory's effects through time.

My memories of Reposaari are faded and select. The weight of importance has fallen on the memories associated with that turning point in my life - what the autumn of 2013 would turn out to be - and the outcome of such a watershed. The recollections that I have chosen to, or had reason to, return to are more clear. The others, like spaghetti, droop.

Home videos of the brain, unjust synapse, or biased memory trails. Flicker, quiver, hesitate. Fleeting, scattered, echo, repeat. Remembrance never static but enlarged and blurry, blending and mixing with particles of the present and dreams.

I arrived at Repolinna and set out to take some photographs. I planned to start walking from Repolinna towards the beach, at the other end of the town, where my friend was waiting and take photos along the way. But when I got there and started walking, I felt pulled to walk in the opposite direction. I followed my intuition, passively remembering, walking straight then after a few streets turning left and I found myself right where I wanted to be - the place I didn’t think I could find - the exact spot where I took my first photo of Reposaari six years before.


Dana Neilson is a visual artist based in Helsinki. A photographer by education her practice includes ceramics, sculpture and moving image. The overarching themes in her work are experience and influence usually encompassing the relationship humans have with their environment. At the moment her main points of inquiry are what’s natural about human nature? Order vs. disorder (culture vs. nature), and ceramics from scratch. She is a graduate from Aalto University’s Visual Culture and Contemporary Art Masters program. Her work has been exhibited internationally.