Alberto Frigo

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Template:Use British English Template:Infobox artist

Alberto Frigo (born 21 July 1979 in Asiago) is regarded as an early proponent of lifelogging.[1] He is known for having photographed every object his right hand has used since the 24th September 2003. Continuously documenting 18 aspects of his life, Frigo intends to create a Rosetta Stone of time to be concluded at 60 years of age, in 2040, after 36 years.[2] The most extreme example of self-tracking,[3] Frigo is the only known person to have digitally documented his life manually and for over thirteen years.[4][5][6]

In this respect, Frigo started lifelogging months earlier than the father of lifelogging Gordon Bell, who started wearing his camera only in 2004.[7] Frigo's life project however differs from lifelogging, Quantified Self and other forms of self-tracking practices using sensors and algorithms to reduce the users' effort. Using no automation, Frigo solely relies on his human faculties to document his life and to communicate it on-line at his own web site.[8]

Within Conceptual art and New media art, Frigo's 36 years long project is a primary example of database aesthetics,[9][10] personal archives[11][12] and surveillance art practices.[13][14] Academically, he has coined the term life-stowing both as a theoretical[15] as well as a methodological approach to Media studies[16] and a practice relating to Stoicism.[17][18]

Life[edit | hide all | hide | edit source]

Alberto Frigo was born in the Italian alps among the Cimbri minority group. His mother side of the family were landowners in Santa Rita do Passa Quatro in Brazil, but lost their properties while in Europe during World War I. During World War II Frigo's paternal grandfather was part of the Operation Barbarossa in Russia and was one of the few survivals along with his cousin, the Italian neo-realist writer Mario Rigoni Stern.[19] In 1943 Frigo's grandfather was put in Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany while his great grandfather died in Tatura concentration camp in Australia.

From an early age Frigo lived in Montreal and later in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. A student at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, at the age of 20 Frigo undertook a 9.000 miles road trip. After months of travel he reached Malpais, Costa Rica wearing a poncho filled of his journals. It was trying to revise these journals that Frigo conceived the need for a digital system to document his dreams, thoughts and ideas without the need for post-editing.[8]

While working part-time as a media art teacher in Sweden, between 2004 and 2008 Frigo tried living as a farmer, planning the building of a shrine to host his project in a forest near Uppsala. After a dispute with the locals, 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 the 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 shrine.[8]

Thought[edit | hide | edit source]

Frigo theoretical point of departure is based on a distinction between effortless and effortful. Beyond discussions on power, gender, colonialism and human rights, Frigo attributes to automation the crisis that contemporary society is experiencing.[8] According to Frigo, it is the automation of social, political, economical, religious and intellectual frameworks to reduce the human effort and, in turn, annihilate its nature. In this respect, Frigo main proposal is to act as automation and, in this effort, reconnect to human nature.[20]

In his manual effort of keeping laborious and examining himself, Frigo differentiates from common lifeloggers or social media users. He does not automate the process of capturing, organizing and retrieving his life, but he accomplishes this process manually. By "becoming both the sensor and the algorithm", programming his own behavior, Frigo avoids the privacy implications related to lifelogging turning his operation into what he defines lifestowing.[21]

After conducting reception studies in a barn in the alps, Frigo concluded that tebahism is a form of syncretism and, in line with Marshal McLuhan's thinking, it is an ark stowed by marginal individuals to overcome the crisis characteristic of every new technological paradigm.[15]

On-going Work[edit | hide | edit source]

Since 2003, Alberto Frigo has embarked on a project 2004-2040 to compile a record of his experiences.[22][23] Frigo intends to spend at least one month of his 36 years long project in every subcontinent of the earth.[24] Starting with tracking everything his right (dominant) hand has used,[25] he’s slowly added on different tracking and documentation projects. By now he conducts a total of 36 different works, 18 of which are defined as Inputs and 18 of which are defined as Outputs.[15]

The 18 Inputs of Frigo's projects can be divided in 3 sextets. The first sextet is called "The Inner Self" and comprises of a record of his activities, his dreams, the songs he recognizes etc., the second sextet is called "The Other Self" and comprises a record of the public places where he seats, the trash he finds on the side-walk, the people he meets etc., the last sextet is called "The Utter Self" and comprises a record of intensity of the wind, the temperature, the shapes he recognizes in clouds etc.[26]

Exhibitions[edit | hide | edit source]

Regarded as today's On Kawara,[27] since the beginning of the project in 2003 Frigo has exhibited his work in various venues.


References[edit | hide | edit source]

  1. Alex Preston (3 August 2014). "The death of privacy". The Guardian.
  2. Alberto Frigo, Jacek Smolicki (11 July 2016). "Towards a 'minor data' manifesto". Necsus, European Journal of Media Studies.
  3. "How safe is your quantified self?" (PDF). 2014.
  4. ^
  5. Christopher Pramstaller (4 March 2015). "Life-Logging: 998 640 Fotos einer rechten Hand". Süddeutsche.
  6. Dmitry Belyaev (9 March 2015). "PHOTOS: Alberto Frigo photographs everything his right hand touches". Metro World News.
  7. ^
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Wolthers, Louise (2015). Watched! Surveillance, Art and Photography. Walther König. ISBN 978-3863359591.
  9. Moulon, Dominique (2013). Contemporary new media art. Nouvelles éditions Scala.
  10. Lupton, Deborah (2016). The Quantified Self. Polity. ISBN 978-1509500604.
  11. Houston, David (2016). Installation Art and the Practices of Archivalism. Routledge.
  12. Turkle, Sherry (2011). Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Basic books. ISBN 978-0465031467.
  13. Skelton, Pam; Remes, Outi (2010). Conspiracy Dwellings: Surveillance in Contemporary Art. Cambridge Scholars.
  14. Kitchin, Rob; Dodge, Martin (2011). Code/space: Software and Everyday Life. The MIT Press.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Frigo, Alberto (2017). Life-stowing from a Digital Media Perspective: Past, Present and Future. Sodertorn University Press.
  16. Kubitschko, Sebastian; Kaun, Anne (2016). Innovative Methods in Media and Communication Research. Palgrave Macmillan.
  17. ^
  18. Sharon T, Zandbergen D (2016). "From data fetishism to quantifying selves: Self-tracking practices and the other values of data". New Media & Society.
  19. Rigoni Stern, Mario (2010). The Sergeant in the Snow. Marlboro Press. ISBN 978-0810160552.
  20. Template:Cite magazine
  21. ^
  22. Mark Wilson (3 March 2015). "For 11 Years, This Man Has Taken Photos Of Everything His Right Hand Touches". Fast Company.
  23. Cianan Brennan (12 February 2015). "This man has been taking a photo of everything he touches… for the last 11 years". The Journal.
  24. ^
  25. Bruce Sterling (9 April 2006). "Alberto Frigo". Wired Magazine.
  26. Frigo, Alberto (2015). "My Digital Life: 2003 Onward". IEEE Internet Computing. 19 (6): 12–16.
  27. Tilma Baumgärtel (2015). "Die polymorph-perverse Maschine". Die Tageszeitung.