WORK 22 / CONTEXT / TOOLS

TOOLS 01/12 This section of my on-going project presents the various tools I have used to more or less directly accomplish it. Differently from the first section of the project in which tools of any kind are shown while engaged by my right hand, this section presents the very tools utilized exclusively for one or more instances of the project. This tools can range from small utensils to large machineries, from digital equipment mostly used indoor to create the database linked to the project, to the analogue equipment I use to build and maintain the project museum (Fig. Screenshot of a small projector I used in the first show-room I set up to display my project. Being poor and broke for many years I awaited to get my first money as a researcher to buy the necessary tools to begin playing with how to present all the various works of my project, in this case the shapes seen in clouds. While effectively a lot of the tools were bought only to try them out and were later dismissed, the more I experimented the more I finally found an ultimate way to present my project. In this particular case the projector was part of a small show-room I had set up in my own bedroom after been dumped by my Swedish wife. She did not wished me to conduct such experiments in the limited environments provided by the socialist state but also out in the unlimited space offered by the Swedish countryside and her family farm).

TOOLS 02/12 Each tool is photographed using a smartphone. Originally I made an effort to photograph the tools in a more professional manner with a proper camera and a proper lighting set up. I even went as far as buying a blue screen to extract the background. Later however I realized that the quality of the result was given by the way I manually remove the background and not so much by the actual equipment I was using to capture the tool. This is the case also for the work I conduct daily removing the background of my friends head-shots. I therefore stuck to taking pictures with my smartphone. After the background has been fully removed the width of the tool is set to 60 centimeters and the result is centered in a 90 by 90 centimeters white canvas. If the orientation of the tool is unclear, I opt to orient it according to any of the written text I can find on the tool such as its logo (Fig. An early picture showing me taking a photo of the very first tool I have used, the very camera with which my right hand project began back in the fall of 2003. After been photographed, if no longer in use and if small enough the tools are placed in one of the 432 archival boxes I have collected as part of my project. A box is also visible on the desk in the screenshot. If what is archive is electronic, I make sure that the tool does not contain any material that could compromise the archive in the long run such as a battery).

TOOLS 03/12 The actual presentation of the very tools used to accomplish a specific artwork is not uncommon. It gets indeed quite common in more heroic enterprises such as that of outsider artists dedicating their entire lives to accomplish a project. The French postman Ferdinand Cheval for example placed within his Ideal Palace the very tools he used to make it. Beyond the artistic perspective, the preserving of tools is oftentimes what it is found among the burial grounds of ancient civilizations from the Egyptian to the Celtic. These tools were thought to be of use to the dead in the afterlife. Perhaps in a similar fashion I surround myself of the very tools I have utilized to accomplish my very project. This collection, if it will ever survive, might tell people about not only my practice but more generally about the life when this practice was conducted (Fig. Screenshot of the list of tools I compile after converting the edited picture of a tool into .pdf format. The type of tool I have finished to edit is then added to the list along with a small description. The latter is a memory linked to the tool such as the fact that I used to build a show room in my barn in the alps. This description could be broader describing how my friend Davide was with me, it was snowing outside and the only noise was that of the tool which eventually broke in the attempt to mix the white lime needed for the plastering).

TOOLS 04/12 At times an object requires many edits. This is the case for example of a bike in which the background has to be extracted also between the various rays of the wheels. In this case to avoid to compress the image too many times I switch to the .tiff format keeping the file much larger but avoiding the pixelation appearing in the white surface of the newly extracted background (Fig. Screenshot of a tool, in this case my touring bike while I am in the process of extracting the background. As for other examples it can take me weeks before the background is fully removed. Daily I spend about ten minuted removing the background of a tool. Generally I do so right at the end of my morning digital update of all the other works of my project. No matter the quality of the picture then it is in the slow manual removal of the background that some quality can be appreciated. In a way, right because I was able to photograph the tool and I was able to place it in my digital archive, I am no longer attach to it. I become in this respect far less materialistic and I do not suffer of the fact that for example I got a bike stolen or a friend took it never to return it. Either way I try to give some kind of protection to my tools. In order to do so I build sheds like the one in which I keep my small tractor in the alps, and the ones in my girlfriend's backyard in the Netherlands where the project museum was assembled).

TOOLS 05/12 Considering that most of the softwares I use are free, the digital execution of my project has been cheap. The actual physical realization of the project resulting into a large iron cube in my native mountains, is my main financial commitment. It got me to invest in pretty much all the tools I need to independently keep up such an enterprise in the middle of nature. In addition I had to provide a dwelling to my family when living there. In Italy then I have invested in a range of heavy machinery for the production and maintenance of this installation. In my winter base in Holland I keep the lighter machinery to produce the content of such container (Fig. Screenshot showing me with my friend Davide di Sarò setting up one of the pillars of the project museum. Building it we did many tasks for the first time without never being taught how to do so. In the first place then both of us have shown a great desire to learn and overcome our fears. In this case I had to subdue my fear for heights. We have learned all that was necessary just using our common sense and most importantly working safe. While the local Italian far right representatives kept on photographing us and sending us the police to try to block the construction, we kept our head down. Making an effort to keep most rational about the use of tools at our disposal, Davide and I managed to finish the work).

TOOLS 06/12 I generally use my tools as much as I can and this actual usage might in fact show up in how worn out they get. This work however shows the impossibility to build a professional toolbox; contemporary tools are in fact designed to break down after a certain time. No matter how professional the tool I use to accomplish my project, no matter whether it is not China made but Swiss made, it is nonetheless likely to break even though I do make the attempt to buy something of quality, especially when it comes to machineries. In this respect at times the more budget version of a tool, is actually far more reliable as it did happen to me on several occasions (Fig. Screenshot of an order I made via my girlfriend. Prior leaving for a tour of southern India where I was invited to exhibit, I purchased a “good” camera to take photos during my trip. At the beginning of the trip, while on a sandy beach some wind got a grain of sand in the optic and the camera was no longer able to operate. Back in the Netherlands the warranty did not apply. I was told that I caused the damage dropping the camera. Ever since I have bought much cheaper versions of the same camera and always recur in the same problem. Given that I so much use my tools especially for documenting, I have become the perfect testing subject for a perfect design the industry is anyway not interested in delivering).

TOOLS 07/12 The economic investments I make to purchase tools are actually what amounts to be by far the biggest expense of my life. Somehow I manage to survive overall with very little money always wearing the same old clothes and seldom going out for leisure. Keeping frugal I am able to save some money to repair or buy a certain new equipment in case it is needed. This particularly the case for a new laptop as without it I wouldn't be able to pursue my project. Most likely I already have a laptop to substitute the one I am using in case it malfunctions. Most likely this laptop was providently bought in advance especially if I find a second hand shop selling it refurbished (Fig. Picture of the gas tank I use to weld with while in Italy. I already brought one from the Netherlands to weld my project museum but when it was time to refill it the local welding shop keeping said it was impossible for them to do so. The only option they gave me was to buy a whole new tank with a whole new meter. I had no other choice but to use the last bit of my money to buy the tank and keep up the welding of my project. Only later I found out that I could have rented the tank at the same shop. In a way especially the barn in the mountains where I keep all the equipment and where this photo was taken, becomes almost like an encyclopedia of craftsmanship containing all the tools needed to do the most various works).

TOOLS 08/12 Since my early age I was never allowed to use any tools and develop my manual abilities especially with my mother marrying my stepfather and moving to the city. Only after escaping this bourgeois condition I was able to move to a farm in Sweden and there start learning to use all sorts of tools to enable my survival in nature. Initially I refused to use motor driven tools and preferred to just do things fully by hand. I was most rwadical and only used an ax to fall dead trees and a bow-saw to cut them. At last when I started preparing to build the project museum in my native alps, I began learning alone and from scratch how to use chainsaws, trimmers, welders and bigger kind of machinery. On one hand I believe that this is still a rather manual approach which enables me to use my hands and keep self-sufficient without relaying on companies coming with their huge caterpillars to do the work for me. Doing everything myself I also wish to confront a western culture that is relaying on others and can no longer be self-sufficient, with the new generation fully unable and unwilling and unmotivated to do anything in the landscape (Fig. Picture showing me with my former father-in-law in his Swedish farm. The latter found it absurd that I recovered so many abandoned traditions such as growing my own food. I kept doing things by hand refusing to do so with for example a tractor).

TOOLS 09/12 In this section I am missing out to display all the virtual tools I use for my project. These tools are very precious to me and are kept in a folder of my digital archive. If the project would have to start now, I would be completely unable to do so; most of these virtual tools are no longer free-ware as they used to be. Newer softwares have a higher level of sgraphic user interface and they are heavier. Most of them also cannot be bought any longer and can only be used on-line for a limited time. In this respect I become also the guardian of a more digital craftsmanship with a collection of easy but useful tools collected over the years, tools that like my physical tools could also one day become completely obsolete. A most tragic event can occur when an operating system automatically update itself and the previously installed softwares are no longer able to run. So far I have always been able to find a work around these new updates. However the new generations might not be so interested about using their own tools; they are so used to just press a button and let algorithms do the job. Just because of their lack of interest a drastic change might turn my digital toolbox completely unusable (Fig. Screenshot showing the folder in my digital archive where I keep all the outdated softwares I have been using to build my project. The most important softwares dates to my university years at the end of the 1990s).

TOOLS 10/12 Differently from the first work of my project where I photograph object interactions, in this work I am able to also photograph much bigger objects such as my car and my tractor and tools I would never photograph as they cannot be grasped by my right hand. While I pretty much own all the equipment I need for my digital archive and the resulting museum, I cannot afford to pay for any kind of insurance to make sure that nothing bad happens to it. If I am forced by law to so I generally opt for the cheaper option. In addition I also have to combine the transportation of the work I produce in the Netherlands to the alps with the transportation of my family and everything that comes with it, especially kids related appliances. In this respect I cannot just go for a van as I did in the past but have to figure out other kind of logistics (Fig. Picture of the small trailer I bought to transport from the Netherlands what I produce there during the winter. The trailer was bought with my girlfriend and also serve as a way to transport the many things that our kids require down in Italy where in the summer I work on my museum. To avoid too much transport the same tools I have in the Netherlands I also have in Italy. In Italy however I keep most of my tools particularly as they are needed to build the museum in the middle of nature where there is no electricity and barely a road to reach it).

TOOLS 11/12 While pretty much all the tools I have used in the making of my project have been photographed, I did not photograph more than once those tools that are identical, most importantly the many cameras I have used to photograph with my left hand the objects used by my right hand. Now these identical objects may in fact present slight variations such as the stickers I usually place on them and could have in fact become part of this work by adding more pages to the same month-file representing a tool. Overall however I consider this addition rather unnecessary (Fig. Picture of a tool I have taken to later be edited and included in this work. The tool is a battery recharger I bought after my old one broke while in the mountains leaving me with no possibility to recharge the batteries I use to power the camera of my right hand project. The charger was bought and right out of the shop I used my pocket knife to remove the package and photograph it on the instance so as not to forget to include the photo in the folder where all the tools await to be edited in chronological order. It could take years however before such a tool is going to be edited and published. While I was often on the move each object would be labeled with my contact information. Initially also I always got rid of any logo but later chose to keep it as a reminder of model ID in case I ought to buy an identical tool).

TOOLS 12/12 In an ideal exhibition context the tools should be presented in one of the side rooms to the main exhibition hall. Some of the physical tools could have indeed been presented but they have been already included in the archival boxes. A good option for this presentation would be to spatially cover the wall with the actual photos of the tools. The tools could be forming in this respect different clusters. This could give rise to a constellation of different galaxies such as the one that is more related to gardening, the one that is more related to office work, the one that is more related to on-the move documentation and the one that is related to the tools I used for the building of my iron cube museum. Within these families smaller families can be created such as in the case of the latter a subfamily with the tools related to my welding equipment like the welder, the iron file, the welding helmet and the generator to run it. This subfamily should be in proximity with the family of cutting machineries where also the metal cutting machine is presented (Fig. Rendering of the ideal museum where the wall where the tools used to accomplish the project should be presented is highlighted in red. The cosmology of tools should present a cut out of the tools without the actual white background. The longest side of each tool in this respect would be 60 centimeters and the challenge would be to fit them all together).