36 WORKS FOR 36 YEARS
All the cameras, phones, laptops and other equipment used by Frigo for his project, once dismissed is kept for a future auction. Being used on a daily basis, this equipment becomes for several years an extension of Frigo's body and soul but also a collection of antiques. As an example, the pen-cameras he uses to photograph his right hand (work 01) have been out of production since 2006. Knowing that they break every two years, after approximately 56.000 shots, Frigo has enough spared pen-cameras and other refurbished equipment to finish his project.
Regarded as today's On Kawara, since the beginning of the project in 2004 Alberto Frigo has been asked to exhibit his project at OK Centrum, DDM Warehouse, Uppsala Art Museum, Science Gallery, Museum Angewandte Kunst, Hasselblad Foundation, Aarhus Kunsthall and Serendipity Art Foundation. While not actively seeking for venues, his most exhibited work is the photographs of the objects his right hand uses (work 01). Awarded at Prix Ars Electronica and Japan Media Arts Festival, Frigo has curated an exhibition on Tebahism at Fort Mason, San Francisco in 2015.
Daily Frigo writes an account of his day. A journal entry is written most of the time on a text file and the following morning, it is copied and pasted in chronological order on a 36 by 75 cm page using Times New Roman font size 12 with a 15 mm margin. Each page hosts approximately the entries of a whole month and contains approximately 4.000 words. By the end of the project the estimated amount of words in Frigo's journal will be 1.800.000, which can contained in 240 meters long scroll.
Uneventful days corresponds to short journal entries such as the following extract from page 131: "Yesterday I updated my project then walked in the cold and cloudy weather to the station to reach Myrthe in Amsterdam but all the trains were canceled. I then walked home and tried to use my phone to navigate the virtual presentation of my project. For lunch I ate some leftover potatoes and then plastered the walls of the attic. Myrthe came home in the afternoon and I started painting over the new plaster and installed a light. In the evening Myrthe and I rearranged the living room and then ate a vegetable soup she made. I later drew in front of a documentary showing the wildlife in the Galapagos."
While working part-time as a media art teacher and researcher at the Interactive Institute and Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, between 2004 and 2008 Frigo tried living as a farmer, planning the building of a museum to host his project in a forest near Uppsala. After a dispute with the locals, understanding their anti-immigrant sentiments, in 2009 Frigo moved to China where he taught at Tongji University. Later he moved to the United States where he worked as a project leader at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Upon returning to Europe, in 2014 Frigo bought a property near his native town in the Italian alps where he now plans the building of the museum.
Over the years Frigo's journaling practice became more fact based and in line with the Stoic principles described by Michel Foucault in his technology of the Self essay. In his journal entries a reader can perceive an attempt to take care of the family and the children yet always under the dark cloud of political turmoil. If on one hand then Frigo's journal is like that of Tolstojan character Princess Marya Bolkonsky centering her love in the family, on the other is like that of Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, a temporary appreciation of everyday life in the mist of social turmoil.
This work makes use all the images that were casually taken with old time friends in special periods of Frigo's life. As of January 2018 the images are 26.000 and are organized in folders representing each month. Occasionally Frigo retrieves the images related to an old acquaintance and creates a slide-show animation utilizing a song characteristic of that moment in time both to “animate” the images and to provide a time framework based on the length of the song. While currently the songs are downloaded from the Internet, Frigo intends to sing them himself in a karaoke like fashion. The selected images are cropped to fit the 16:9 movie format. A zoom and/or a pan effect is also applied to show details of the images. Cross-fade transitions are also occasionally made, particularly to shift from one image to another, utilizing similar objects in the pictures such as the face of a person, scaled to the same dimensions. The resulting videos are saved in .mpg format using a MPEG2 (DVD Standard) encoder with a resolution of 1280 X 720 pixels (HD 720 p) and a frame rate of 24.00 fps.
In this respect, this part of the project can be considered as a cemetery in which old and forgotten material has been revived and where Frigo can pay an occasional visit and can cry over memories he would not cry for otherwise. It is like a little sanctuary kept by ancient people to commemorate their dear dead ones in their household as described by Marco Polo in his trip to China. The combination of images and particularly the music, create the right atmosphere for this in-depth commemoration. This is of particular significance for Frigo who had many intense relationships throughout his life and have often to give them up in order to move a new phase in which the accomplishment of his project has taken him into.
Pictures of Frigo from his birth in 1979 to his parents divorce in 1984 are rare and were later scanned and sent to Frigo by his father with whom he has lost contact for over twenty four years. From 1984 to 1996 Frigo's stepfather had been photographing him and his twin sister while being on holidays or in special occasions like weddings and birthdays. This has resulted in some hundred booklets filled with photos which Frigo has scanned. From 1996 when he moved oversea to attend a year of high school in Wisconsin, Frigo has started taking his own pictures, this until 2000, when he got access to his first digital camera. From the commencement of his photographic project in 2004 however, Frigo has experienced moments in which he did not take any other pictures than those he was taking of his right hand. This has however changed in 2005 with the birth of his son.
Since the beginning of his project Frigo has set up viewings where to show-case each of his works. While in an exhibition context Frigo is mostly asked to show one or few of his works, a viewing acts as a Rosetta Stone of time in which the different media languages depicting it are brought together by the viewer in a new syncretic form, similar to Lev Manovich's reading of Dziga Verotv's film "Man with a Movie Camera" as analyzed in a reception study (read more in Frigo's Life-stowing book).
The viewing of all of his works together has given Frigo the idea of working in a more theatrical sense allowing visitors to perform the works. In this respect he plans to make use of the land-art cathedral he is creating in his native alps as a theater stage where the temporarily installed works can be improvised (e.g. by reading aloud from the books of dreams or playing the musical notations etc.).
Whenever possible Frigo videorecords his lecturing. The lectures can relate to his project, or discuss Tebahism at large and the audience can vary from an art audience, an on-line audience, to students or politicians assessing Frigo's work. For each lecture a new presentation with updated slides is used, quickly showing the overall progress of Frigo's works through the years. Lectures are give in Italian as well as English. Up to date Frigo has lectured at places such as Pistoletto Foundation, Cini Foundation, Codarts University for the Arts, Valand Academy and was a plenary speaker in various venues such as the Quantified self conference.
Television and Radio broadcasts:
2016-07-12 Mina Benaissa, Sveriges Radio, Han fotograferar allt han rör vid (Kulturnytt P1 national radio). SE
2015-03-28 (8h10) Michelle Constant, Lifestyle Show, 105.1 in Johannesburg, South Africa (live on national radio opening contribution).
2015-04-25 (19h20) Ulrike Haak, "Hamster-Hipster-Handy. Im Bann des Mobiltelefons", Kulturzeit, Germany (national TV 3sat).
2015-05-21 (22h50) Hauptsache Kultur