Thoughts on a lifelong project

1 October, 2007 - 18:21

Alberto Frigo has now spent four years on his *LifeLongLog* project. He will live with it for the rest of his life. – It is a challenge to endure.On September 24 it was four years since Alberto Frigo started his project. How much time do you spend on it everyday?– I am constantly engaged with the project. The fact is that it is always inmy mind and as a day flows I flow with it ready to depict those instants that are relevant for the various parts. This is to say that I am not a rat working in his studio but I enjoy my life and have created means to register it. Those means can be the pen-camera I always wear on my belt, the worn out notebook in my pocket… things that are always available in the private and public sphere.Alberto Frigo describes himself as quite methodical.– I wake up and write my dreams, I brush my teeth and photograph, I catch the metro and analyze the situation around me…every little moment is used for the sake of the project. And of course there are times when I have to properly seat down and fix things but generally I would say that such a life-recording is embedded with life itself.A LifeLong project seems like a very ambitious project. Why have you chosen a lifelong span instead of making it for example a 5- or 10-year long project?– It is a challenge to endure. There have been many examples of demandingprojects that lasted 1 year or 2 and then with no particular motivation other then 1 or 2 is a good number, they ended. Generally today society pullulates of projects that starts and ends at a higher and higher tempo… and not only projects but looking at the scenario where we live things are very vulnerable. There is no static reference nor nothing fixed to hold on to. Religion and tradition probably had those purposes but now they became obsolete. It is probably due to this existential demand that I decided to engage myself in a long lasting project.Has anyone else done this before? Who? Where did you get the inspiration?– I can instantly think of one person that beside his openness and inventiveness to the world has thoroughly engaged himself in such a task. His name is BuckMinster Fuller mostly known for his geodesic domes but not for his Dymaxion Chronofiles (1895–1983), a record of his daily data every 15 minutes of his awaken life and this from when he was 20 years old. Unfortunately such record is not publicly available.There are several other examples from those people called *factologists* to those that through technology are developing system to augment autobiographical memory, yet my inspiration has been purely growing from within. From my teens I have developed a strong fascination for life and its discoveries particularly while travelling or living in nature (I live in the woods at times).It is to say also that a fascination for the classics have contributed a lot. I grew up in an environment, an old town in the very North of Italy, where every little sign is a trace from antiquity and the folk talks more of the past then the future. My education is actually classical studying Greek and Latin Philosophy and art history. There it came a strong willing to "emulate" the classics.It is rather relevant to say that particularly in today scenario where wedepend more and more to a fragmented periphery then a united centre,classical philosophy comes to help teaching us to know yourself first beforelooking and depending to the outside (I am thinking of Socrates, Epicurusbut also of Henry D. Thoreau).*LifeLongLog* consists of sub-projects. You will add more projects. Will you work actively with all projects or will some "die" at the cost of others?– It is not casual that I thought of those sub-parts. In thinking of those Ipondered the kind of aspects that they would render. If one part describesmore of my physical activities another is more psychological and anothermore emotional and another more philosophical and another more creative. In doing this I have also considered a variety of outputs: photography, text,music, video and sketches. In addition I also thought of how to structurethe different presentations: chronological, combinatorial, linear, alphabetical and spatial.I then think I have quite some work to do. And this is as far as for myweb-site but when it comes to show such works in an actual context like forinstance a gallery, then I have to elaborate ways to present them within theconstrains of the context. This is much of a slower project. In April I willhave my first solo-exhibition in Shanghai at DDM_Warehouse and for this one I have been working already a year.Could someone pay you for doing this artistic work full-time, as a job? What do you think about that?– Good question! It is actually a job and it probably has its interestingsides to investigate. There are several options; it could be that someresearch institute might be interested, it could be a gallery or an artcollector wanting an authentic work… the problem is that not much of my work is so exclusive since it is already available for the mass and it goes against today trend of participatory projects. I would certainly love to be able to fully concentrate yet I don't complain of a certain poverty that keeps the work poetic and genuine. Beside I think it would degrade the work to have to constantly apply for its sustenance. I rather keep it self-sustainable and have other works to finance my living. As for collaboration I would also like to add that I am a slave of my own rules and in this respect I go for them but I wouldn't probably give as much effort for rules that I have to compromise or be told of by others. Nonetheless it is definitely a nourishing experience worth to be told!Do you have any other comment?– I always feel in people's mind a certain accusation for egoism in hearingabout the project. I am actually in a completely different mood. I pick theberries because I am willing to share them and willing to have others too to follow me in the long abandoned and forgotten woods that are only thought of for our industrial consumption.

Interview: Carina Ruotsalainen

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