social life & social media
A little over 10 years ago Alberto Frigo embarked on an ambitious project, 2004-2040, to understand himself. Starting with tracking everything his right (dominant) hand has used, he’s slowly added on different tracking and documentation projects. Keeping the focus on himself and his surrounding has helped him connect to himself and the world around him.
camera | pen and paper
I clearly remember that day. It was a very sunny Stockholm, but I felt very frustrated since I was about to start a residency the following day, and the wearable computer I had two years design to record my life was not working.
I was walking through the city with my frustration, when I passed by a tiny store selling dusty photographic equipment. In the middle of it was a brand-new, and tiny digital camera. I immediately gave up on my frustration with the clumsy wearable I had so far been constructing, and I just got the very camera to start photographing that very day, every object my right hand and use this.
It has been more than 10 years since I started that project. To be precise, today 11 May 2014 is my 3882day I have been photographing every object my right hand uses. With this project, my idea is to track all my daily activities that I do through the very objects that are utilize to a complex them. In total, I have been photographing 295,000 activities, an average of 76 objects a day, and one picture every 50 minutes according to how busy that day has been creating or making things.
I’ve also discovered that if I keep up the project until I turned 60 in 2040, I would have photographed 1 million objects and could thus claim to have some kind of DNA code of a lifetime, or at least the core of my life as a mature individual.
I’d like to see this called as a continual continuous sequence of repeating elements, the objects I use as the letters of an alphabet, which can give rise to different patterns and understandings. It is respect that I’ve embarked on a 36 year long project from 2004 when it started to 2040 may be when it will end.
A new kind of self-tracking project of life codes have naturally come about, mostly in order to compensate the photographic of tracking activities. After a few years in 2005, I’ve also started to consider keep track of myself looking at other perspectives and using different other media, such as the recording my dreams through writings, and recording the songs I listen to from musical notations.
Additionally, I also started to keep track of my social surrounds and the weather for example filming every public space which I sit in and keeping track of the wind when I’m outdoors. At this point in time I’m conducting 36 different projects to record my life, as many as the years I’m to undertake the project.
18 of this project is actual tracking of either myself, or the surroundings or the weather, and 18 of them are elaborations like books, gadgets, exhibitions, or this actual very presentation but also a memory Cathedral that I’m building that we will demonstrate after lunch during the office hours, so you are welcome to come by.
To give you an idea of what I’m up to these days, I can tell you what I have accomplished so far. As I recall 200,085 of my activities, by photographing the imaging and by using this camera I’ve been tracking 12,360 dreams, 5440 songs that I’ve heard and recognised and using this phone to keep track of them. 620 portraits of new acquaintances using this camera. 285 square meters of discarded objects picked up from the sidewalk using this pouch to collect them. 1512 user casualties, 15,663 film of public spaces using this video camera. 7560 drawing of ideas, 2760 recordings of thoughts while walking alone using this recorder, 1704 shapes of cloud. And by the way, this is where all my stored data is which I carry with me on this USB drive.
It was not immediate, so I am like a little cowboy – it was not immediate to be able to track so many things at once. I’ve learned that one has to start with something basic and simple, and then add up new perspectives and tracking technologies, preferably crafting is our framework.
From one thing come another then, but I’m also interested to keep up with the project, more as some sort of a challenge in addition to simply as a tool to later make sense of my life. I feel it is in fact like a character in a computer game with a mission to accomplish and this is really my driving life conducting 36 tracking projects until I’m 60 in 2040. So more than 26 years ahead of me, and 26 years of which new challenges that will arise, such as the fact that the technology that I’ve been deploying like my camera, is already out of production. Well to act providentially myself, I got a box full of these refurbished cameras, so let’s just hope that the operating systems will change too much.
Besides the more technical challenges, I’ve learned how much we can engage in tracking and quantifying ourselves. I’ve learned that I am what I track, it is in fact what I track shapes my life. I believe that every individual can activate him or herself to record his or her live and create a playful engagement with another wise dull surrounding.
In my opinion then it is a very healthy commitment as to make us more aware and decisive, as well as more engaged with our everyday life. However, I have to warn you that it is important to give priorities also in what we track. I mostly give priorities to the tracking related to myself, and giving less priority to other forms of tracking, particularly to those forms that are more dependent to the social surroundings that I cannot control.
With this priority in mind, I’m rather positive that I consider myself exploration, and the exploration of the reward for myself, sharing my experience as time passes by any insights gained. I really hope my 10 years of experience and commitment can be an inspiration for you, and please be free to approach me and be my 621st new acquaintance. Thank you.