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New Alumni ‘19

New Alumni ‘19 is the first exhibition I’ve curated with Greenwich University Galleries.

Great works, lovely graphic design (love giving myself the best compliments💁), bright lights, neat showreels, and a seating area at the front (kindly donated by IKEA).

It is difficult for me to accept that I’ve actually designed a space at my University where people will spend time and enjoy themselves. Everyone I’ve shown the space to has been very generous and that is always great to hear, especially for something I’ve only just started doing. ❤

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A look at the first test print

This is the first test print of Three Years. I used a traditional inkjet printer for this because I was mainly looking to get a feel of the finished product. The book is currently being added onto the print on demand system Lulu.com, which also provided me with an ISBN for this book.

A proof copy of the bound edition is on its way. After checking the proof copy I will put the work up for sale on online platforms so that it should be available in time for the exhibition (held in late March). Lulu will act as my publisher. However, they retain 80% of the sales, which is not the most convenient and fair way to distribute your work. For this reason, I am currently looking at other providers and how the service and quality of printing they offer will compare to Lulu’s.

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Three Years: An Introduction

20th February 2019

During the past few weeks, I’ve been working on putting together a book: an automatically-created biographical archive. I say putting together and not writing because the book was already written. Between 2016 and 2019 I’ve written this book 140 (and later 280—don’t worry, I will explain!) characters at a time. You have probably written something similar too.

While I was busy adding entries on my analogue (paper) journal, which I started less than a year ago, I realised I had already been writing my thoughts and “sharing” my views on a public platform.

If you visit my Twitter account you can look and interact with my writings, like them, share them, repost them on your account, or leave a nasty comment underneath them.

I started my current account—@frn_imola—in April 2016. I had just left the UK and moved to Italy waiting to come back a few months later to live in the North-West of England. Since then my life has changed completely.

I left home, moved house three times, worked at least 10 jobs (over the period of these three years, not simultaneously!), have been in relationships, met plenty of people, made a few friends, came out publicly, had a couple of family traumas, my depression and anxiety intensified, got better at cooking and writing, started University, made music and several artworks. And the list goes on for much longer.

Considering I have been constantly tweeting during the course of these three years, what do these tweets say about me and my story? What do they tell about my persona, my identity, and my mental health—with its frequent ups and downs?

Can an archive be a tool to learn more about oneself?

I am interested in working with such tools because they allow me to bring my data to life in a physical form. I believe personal data paints a peculiar picture on oneself: a picture which is not entirely different from that which we display outside the web, but one which adds up to who we are. Your online self is just another face of the prism that it is you.

Three years is a collection of all that I’ve tweeted during the past three years. The first picture below shows the current cover of the book, which will be soon sent to out for test-printing. The second image is a mockup, or experiment, of an installation of the book as part of a pop-up exhibition that will be held in the Heritage Gallery in Greenwich, London at the end of March 2019.

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Dating apps meet GDPR

On Saturday 9 February I asked Chappy, a gay dating app I have been using for the past couple of weeks, to send me all my data, which should include a log of every conversation I have had through the platform. I am planning to make poetry out of these messages.

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Failed ideas

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This was taken last week while working on one of my current projects.

I was trying to build the layout for a book by intersecting data representing all the videos I’ve played on Youtube with images taken roughly during the same time. I have later decided to put this idea on hold and started to delve further into the type of data (textual information) that could be interesting to use in the context of a book.

Struggling to develop ideas

I am currently working a project that will be featured in a short exhibition happening later this year. While I do not seem to lack ideas and creative thinking I am struggling in developing my ideas into something that resembles a finished project.

I am currently working with personal data gathered from the internet from services such as Google and Twitter. I plan to use this large amount of text-based information in a way that is both conceptually in line with my thinking, aesthetically (in visual and auditory terms) engaging, and easy to digest (I want people to connect with the work).

I would like to engage the audience in looking at one’s data—information, documentation, figures and notes that online services & platforms gather from and about us—as something which can be owned and can be re-worked as material for the making of further, possibly more meaningful, documents.

Until now I have thought about:

  • Selling my data on eBay in the form of a book—following the steps of Oli Frost and a couple of others who have attempted it;

  • Putting my data on sale during a live performance & online streaming;

  • Re-working audio recordings from my Google Assistant (= data) into a sound piece;

  • Creating an Artist using bits of my data (as text), photographs, sketches, and bits of text from my journals.

I believe that to find out exactly what I would like to make I need to start experimenting with making and see where my gut feelings take me.

Last week I have tried to create a music piece using the collection of recordings (mentioned above) from my Google Assistant—about 3.4hrs—into a sound piece. However, I struggle to visualise how this would look & sound as part of the exhibition: finding ways to exhibit sound works as part of very visual-based shows is a difficult task. 

I have also tried to create a template (or more like a draft page) for the artist book featuring text and photographs. I used text from a document I downloaded (via Google itself) containing all my Youtube searches. I used film photographs I have taken last year. I plan to use language cues to connect text and images in an expressive way. Below is an example I worked on based on this idea. 

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