A 36 YEARS RECORDING OF LIFE
Frigo takes four-second videos of the vanishing point of every public space where he sits. A total of 180 video clips is collected every month, generating a film of 12 minutes. At the end of the project in 2040 the films will number 77,760 amounting to 86.5 hours screen time. In an installation setting the screen is positioned at the end of a corridor which is meant to physically extend the vanishing point. Interestingly, the reviewing of this empty space is a powerful tool for Frigo to retrieve the mental memories he has linked to them. Also the project shows a dramatic disappearance of public spaces taken over by public corporations.
The work was originally inspired by Andrea Palladio's Teatro Olimpico in which the oldest surviving stage set still exists. The stage set comprises a trompe-l'œil to give the appearance of a long city street. Similarly Frigo's idea is to extend the perspective of a corridor by projecting at its end the video of the vanishing point of the public spaces he films. Overall this work also represents the increasing extinction of public spaces taken over by commercial enterprises. In this sense Frigo associates the work to August Sander's photography of the city of Cologne prior to its complete destruction in World War II.
While on one hand the videos look like surveillance camera footage, they are in fact premonitions of public spaces on the verge of disappearing. As in the work of French flâneur Eugène Atget, Frigo in his urban walks video-records the emptiness of public spaces. Ironically this emptiness is, among all Frigo's works, what enables him to re-experience the past. In this respect Frigo finds the reviewing of these stream of videos a sad experience reminding him of life experiences that can never return.
The cities in which Frigo has filmed the most public spaces are Stockholm, Shanghai, Boston, Venice and Amsterdam cities that might undertake a destructive process as George Steeves writes of August Sander: "Sander’s premonitions of calamitous adversity, triggered by his reading of the signs all about him, impelled him to alter the emphasis of his photographic practice. The collecting for People of the 20th Century slowed while landscape and architectural work accelerated. Sander had been assembling cityscapes and architectural details of his adopted home of Cologne since 1920. In the last years of the 1930s he assiduously pursued his aesthetic convictions in photographs of the city. Could he have apprehended its approaching near total destruction?"
Essay on this work:
2009: Jason Waite, The mnemonics of location SE-EN Translated by Richard Griffith Carlsson and Hans Olsson