nimiia cétiï

Jenna Sutela (FI)

nimiia cétiï (2018) is an audiovisual work by Jenna Sutela using machine learning to generate a new written and spoken language.

This language is based on the computer’s interpretation of a Martian tongue from the late 1800s, originally channeled by the French medium Hélène Smith and now voiced by Sutela, as well as the movement of Bacillus subtilis nattō, an extremophilic bacterium which, according to recent spaceflight experimentation, can survive on Mars. In this project, the machine is a medium, channeling messages from entities that usually cannot speak. The work is also about intelligent machines as aliens of our creation.

Project Credits:

  • nimiia cétiï was created in collaboration with Memo Akten and Damien Henry as part of n-dimensions, GoogleArts & Culture’s artist-in-residence program at Somerset House Studios.
  • Thanks to Kieran Bates from the Institute of Zoology at Imperial College London, Adam Laschinger for sound recordings, and Manus Nijhoff and Leith Benkhedda for 3D work.
  • The video includes music with Miako Klein on the contrabass recorder and Shin-Joo Morgantini on the flute, with sound production by Ville Haimala.


Jenna Sutela (FI) is an artist based in Berlin. She works with words, sounds, and other living materials. Her audiovisual pieces, sculptures, and performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Sutela’s work has been presented at museums and art contexts internationally, including Guggenheim Bilbao, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, and Serpentine Galleries. She is a Visiting Artist at The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) in 2019-20.


This project is co-funded by the European Commission’s DG CONNECT, in the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union under the S+T+ARTS programme’s Regional STARTS Centers.