A 36 YEARS RECORDING OF LIFE
Since 24 September 2003 Alberto Frigo has photographed every object his right hand has used. For this purpose he uses with his left hand an out of production gadget camera. The following 3 rules are applied to help him identify when it is time to photograph:
1. During a life-event every object* the dominant-hand uses is photographed once and while used;
2. If an object of the same type is the following item to be used, this object is not photographed unless the life-event changes;
3. A life-event changes as soon as the dominant-hand uses a different object in a different space.
*Any artifact that is graspable, independent and consistent.
Every day Frigo takes on average 76 pictures which, at the end of the project in 2040, will amount to one million. Every month he creates a 900 by 300 millimeters photographic panel with different lines representing different days. By positioning the 12 months of the year in a row, by the end of the project he will have achieved a perfect square of 1080 by 1080 millimeters (36 by 36 feet).
Conceptually Frigo started carrying out this work as a way to generate a DNA code of the activities of a human being over his lifetime. Inspired by Marcel Duchamp, Frigo developed this work thinking of objects as the ready-made bookmarks marking the events of an individual's life. Rather than recording life 24/7 with all the privacy implications related to it, Frigo's photographic record of his right hand, only provides the hints of life which viewers of the photographs will have to actively interpret, as in the work of photographer Sophie Calle but also as proposed by ancient combinatoric and mnemonic techniques.
In this respect Frigo has recovered idea from the Gulliver's Travels in which the author Jonathan Swift has one of his characters to suggest that objects should be carried about and used as a form of human communication and as a way to avoid miscommunication. Similarly Frigo has been inspired by the Oulipo movement and particularly by George Perec's use of objects to generate the novel Life a User's Manual.
Contrary to popular belief, Frigo claims that his photographing activity comes naturally to him and that the people around are soon used to his photographic behavior. He claims that the left hand photographing the right hand using an object acts on its own accord. Frigo started this work before smart phones and social media and only initially was questioned about his photographing. Given that his camera is an old pencam without a screen, the now obsolete device looks more like a diabetes monitoring device. Frigo aligns his photographing procedures to that of more socially marginal individuals committed to physical and psychological endurance—in particular, Tehching Hsieh with his one-year-long photographing of every hour on the hour performance.
Essays on this work (originally titled SOBJECT):
2009: Ernesto Luciano Francalani, Murder in the museum SE-EN Translated by Richard Griffith Carlsson, Hans Olsson, Jason Waite and Aria Spinelli
2007: Ernesto Luciano Francalani, Freezer IT, EN translated by Jason Waite
There have been several articles written on this particular work. Following is a list. Sadly some of these articles have been partial hoax to attract readers, emphasizing that Frigo photographs everything he touches (with all the sexual connotations coming with it):
2018: DV, Sigtryggur Ari, Aldrei úr augnsýn, January 19. IS
2017: Mowwgli, Marie-Laure Desjardins, Images partagées et autres selfies, vers une archéologie de l’instant, November 16 . FR
2017: Arts Hebdo Media, Samantha Deman, Special Mobile Art, Number 16, February 10.
2017: Zero Deux, Aude Launay, Watched! Surveillance, Art and Photography, February. EN FR
2016: Kunstforum International, Birgit Richard, Konsumfashionista, December 23.
2016: Information, Rune Gade, Overvågningens vaesen, June 3. DK
2015: TEXTTHEORIE UND TEXTGESTALTUNG, Stephan Porombka/Karl Wolfgang Flender, Warum es sich lohnt, alles zu fotografieren, was man in die Hände kriegt, August 27. Offline: DE
2015: Die Welt, Wie das Handy unseren Lebenswandel bestimmt, April 23.
2015: Vodafone blog, Cooking Ideas, El artista que lleva once años fotografiando todo lo que toca con su mano derecha, March 12. ES
2015: Metro World News, Dmitry Belyaev, Alberto Frigo photographs everything his right hand touches, March 8
2015: Isolezwe, Umlisa oshutha kwasani akuphethe, March 8.
2015: Süddeutsche, Christopher Pramstaller, Life-Logging: 998 640 Fotos einer rechten Hand, March 4.
2015: The Herald (South Africa), Artist tries hand at photographing, page 3, March 3.
2015: China Daily, , March 2. CH
2015: Lider Informativo, Lo que toca su mano derecha, lo hace foto, page 4, March 1.
2015: Yahoo News, Chris Parsons, Artist Photographs Everything Touched by his Right Hand for 11 Years, February 27.
2015: Daily Mail, Corey Charlton, The most touching set of photographs you will ever see, February 27.
2015: Fast Company, Mark Wilson, For 11 Years, This Man Has Taken Photos Of Everything His Right Hand Touches, February 25. EN
2015: Wired, Luigina Foggetti, Lifelogging, i nostri dati in mostra, February 20.
2015: The Journal, Ciannan Brennan, This man has been taking a photo of everything he touches... for the last 11 years, February 12. IT
2015: The Irish Times, Cyaran D'Arcy, Science Gallery Exhibith shows role of personal data in future tech, February 12 (with video interview by Bryan O'Brien: ”If you could measure everything would you?”)
2014: Symantec, Mario Ballano Barcena, How safe is your quantified self?, August 11. Referred to as "the most extreme example of self-tracking"
2014: The Guardian, Alex Preston, The death of privacy, August 3. Referred to as an "early proponent of lifeloggiing" EN
2014: Vice Magazine, Abel van Gijlswijk, Alberto maakt 36 jaar lang foto’s van alles wat hij met zijn rechterhand doet, June 5. NL
2009: Uppsala Tidningen, Issue 44.
2009: Uppsala Nya Tidningen, October 17 and 22. SE
2009: Ars Hypermedia, Björn Norberg, Issue 01, January, page 78.
2008: konstnen.net, Anders Olofsson, November.
2007: Art Review, Regine Debatty, Issue 09, March, page 132.
2007: Net Magazine, Compulsive viewing, Oliver Lindberg, February.
2006: Images Magazine, Dominique Moulon, November.
2006: Extrart, Carmen Lorenzetti, September. IT
2006: Stockholm City, 15th September.
2006: Ticino, Samuele Finozzi, page 44.
2005: Wired Magazine Blog, Bruce Sterling, April.