I asked for a drink in a glass. The request was declined on the grounds that international aviation regulations forbid serving alcohol in a plane while it is not airborne. In return, I refused the steward’s offer of bottled water, as drinking from a plastic cup is no way to watch an aircraft burn from the inside.

I took two exposures of the sky, knowing that, due to the conditions, none of this vision would be recorded. But I didn’t mind. Cameras fail to record the meaning of a moment like this. I took the two photographs for that very reason; to examine the inadequacy of the medium I was using, to mimic life. Photographs always have to turn into something else, into pictures. Life we experience, pictures we interpret.

—Ville Lenkkeri

Editor's Note: the above are short excerpts from Ville Lenkkeri's newest book "Existence Doubtful." Text is integrally woven together with photos in this project—the words and pictures above offer just a small taste of Lenkkeri's vision.

The text in the book, "Existence Doubtful" narrates two journeys that take the protagonist across the far, far South. On the first trip, the narrator sails the Southern Ocean on an icebreaker named Oden. Eventually, he lands in Tierra del Fuego, at the very tip of America.

The second trip, a year later, returns him to the land of fire (Tierra del Fuego) where the protagonist boards a sailing boat that takes him to the last, most remote islands of the American continent and finally to Cape Horn. The second voyage ends in the places where the Yahgan Indians, the southernmost inhabitants of the world, once traveled to, while naked in their bark canoes. 

Apart from describing the travels themselves, the text describes historical explorations of the southern regions, the ancient beliefs, facts that in time have turned into fiction: sea mammals that ended up lubricating and lighting the northern industrial revolution, hallucinations, miracles, the Dark Matter as well as wonders of nature, history and human endurance. Everything that escapes certification, that defies our culture of definite, measurable and solid knowledge. In short, myth rather than fact.  

The book's title is derived from the cartographic term, existence doubtful, that was long used for unverified islands that were reported but whose existence was thought doubtful. The text questions the effects of the spreading of the Western civilization that have made the world a more uniform place. The project is dedicated to obscure things that defy exposure and evade verification. 

—Ville Lenkkeri

Ville Lenkkeri: Existence Doubtful
by Ville Lenkkeri
Publisher: Kerber Verlag
Hardcover: 208 pages