A photo of a hand holding a postcard. On the front of the postcard is the letter e in blue.

6 Months Without by Nastja Säde Rönkkö

22 Jun 2020

6 Months Without documents a London life lived offline by artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö.

Nastja Säde Rönkkö spent six months of her Somerset House Studios residency living and working without the Internet. During Rönkkö’s residency everything, from personal to professional communication, navigating a city, socialising and working, happened offline. Far from cutting herself off, she developed new meaningful relationships providing a precious substitute for her lost online existence and reclaiming some power over her own life.

In her extended interview about the project, she noted her consideration of the environmental impact being online all the time,

“...the annual carbon footprint of the internet is at least the same or bigger than all the flights of the world combined in a year. I feel like we talk a lot about how bad eating meat or flying is but nobody really wants to talk about how bad watching YouTube videos or binging on Netflix is for the environment.”

Since lockdown, with flights grounded and our online consumption increasing - one survey from a week in April noted that UK households were spending over 40 hours a week online, up 29% on pre-lockdown levels - the significance of Nastja’s experience shifts again. Now she considers her six months offline as having been not just an environmental gesture but also a humanitarian one, teaching her skills needed for living in a world of social distancing.  

Part of PAUSE, where every Wednesday we release an artist commission from our rich and varied archive as well as many sound and video works previously unseen online.

This week’s PAUSE forms part of the special Sleep Mode week, connecting to themes of ‘always-on’ culture and the future of work and play in a post-lockdown society.

About the artist

Nastja Säde Rönkkö (b.1985) is an artist working internationally. She creates projects that explore presence, intimacy, love and community across human interactions and social rituals, from the everyday to the profound. Performance, text, video, technology, the Internet and various social interventions are used as an extension or outcome of the projects. Just prior to lockdown, Nastja opened an exhibition of her work For Those Yet to Be at EMMA in Finland, a multichannel piece that demonstrates her commitment to environmental activism in face of the ongoing ecological crisis.


Film courtesy of the artist. Originally commissioned by Somerset House Studios with support from the Finnish Institute in London, Adonyeva Foundation, and Wysing Arts Centre.

Image: Nastja Säde Rönkkö / Magda Fabianczyk.

Sleep Mode is curated by Sarah Cook and additionally supported by The University of Glasgow.