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.