A 36 YEARS RECORDING OF LIFE
Every day Alberto Frigo remembers approximately three dreams. The amount can vary from 1 to 12 daily dreams according to the stability of his everyday life. Every month Frigo will have written 100 dreams in a 450 by 600 millimeter book which at the end of the project in 2040 will comprise 43,200 dreams, making it perhaps the largest dream diary a person has ever recorded. To remember his dreams Frigo makes use of the Art of memory, creating a mental image composed of different symbols representing different dreams. This allows him to store them until he has time to write them down.
Written using font Bookman Old Style, size 11 each dream is on average 288 characters long and is usually three sentences long, the first one contextualizing the dreamer, the second highlighting a problem and the last sentence resolving it. For example, for dream number 15,442 Frigo writes: "I am with an old friend going under a long tunnel. He starts telling me how he has caught the new American president editing his own encyclopedia page online. The edits are actually written on the white painted tunnel and I use my fingers to remove parts of it even though it gets quite dirty."
Frigo kept a dream diary since 1996 when he was 17. Initially his dreams were written in Italian on booklets he would make using recycled paper, such as the one he would find in trash bins next to copy machines. Given the low quality of this paper, these written dreams have almost disappeared. While an art student in Vancouver, Frigo experimented with dreams in public performances. On one occasion he locked himself in the library window where he slept, wrote his dreams on the window and then invited passersby inside to interpret his dreams with him.
Only later, Frigo begun digitizing his dreams and including them as part of his project. Initially he tried to combine the dreams with the photographic record of his activities but then decided to keep the dreams as a separate work dismissing also an early attempt to categorize them based on places, time, people involved and kind. Contrary to common belief, it was not so much his photographing or filming activities infringing on his private life, as it was a journalist writing about his sexual dreams that coincided with the deterioration of Frigo's relationship with his first wife.
Conceptually, Frigo is fascinated with providing humanity with a record of quasi-infinite human situations depicted in his dreams. Rather than giving any symbolic value to them, Frigo sees his dreaming as rather a filtering of the reality he experiences and especially the increasingly more ubiquitous media he consumes. In addition, Frigo sees dreaming as yet one of the strongholds untouched by the technological monitoring. While he is aware that a record of dreams per se is boring and it ought to be refined as in the case of Akira Kurosawa, his fascination lies in providing humanity with an entire record of dreams to freely juxtapose to the other records he provides.
Essay on this work:
2009: Rolf Hughes, At the hotel room I can see his nightmare: Alberto Frigo’s Dream Project SE-EN Translated by Richard Griffith Carlsson, Hans Olsson, Jason Waite and Aria Spinelli