WORK 23 / CONTEXT / THESIS

THESIS 01/12 I have been often in doubt as to whether provide an explanation to my project. To keep the artwork more dominant than the actual description at last I incorporated the latter in the former. In order to do so I have subdivided the description of my 36 works of my 36 years life project into 12 subsections for a total of 432 one-page descriptions of various aspects of my practice. In some ways then I have followed the Socratic definition of science, that is describe each and every component of an object such as the description of all the components making up a chariot. Each page is 21 by 14.8 centimeters and have 2 centimeters margins all around it. The font I use is Palatino Linotype size 10.5 with 1.5 line spacing and the text editor is the free Open Office Writer. Moreover each of these pages is accompanied by an image resized and cropped in the same size and with a 300 dpi resolution. (Fig. Screenshot of one of the 432 outcomes of the thesis. Notice that at the beginning of each paragraph a text in bold indicates the name of the work described. It also indicates the description number out of a total of twelve. After the actual description a caption in parenthesis describe the actual image on the following page also providing further and more specific insights on the work as it is the case of this very caption. As it can be noticed I initially used the third person but then switched to the first person).

THESIS 02/12 Since the beginning of my project I started writing about it. Initially I did so trying to follow academic frameworks but later I conceived that these frameworks are too limiting and anyway requires me to justify the fact that I am both the maker of my project as well as the observer, something that academic folk cannot accept. In this respect I understood that I belong to a different kind of humanities, one that is all southern European and it is based on building memory palaces and generative systems for knowledge production. Each page of this work is in fact a drawer that I was able to fully fill. The structure is preconceived and the result is generative. Methods of the kind were scorned since the 17th century by the Anglo-Saxons whose approached eventually became the dominant way of doing humanities and producing knowledge according to their own “scientific” frameworks. (Fig. Screenshot of my former research colleagues in Sweden. I soon discovered how highly politicized and conventional this academic environment was. They were unable to deal with my overarching practice and total life-commitment. I immediately made an effort to depart from this intellectual aristocracy , folk with a good salary and a good career ahead, armed of a lot of notions but with no cultural substance whatsoever, a substance I understood one can only be dealt with unofficially).

THESIS 03/12 My main theoretical development comes forward in opposition to the notions and conventions and dogmas of the academic humanities. While the latter are fully engaged in accusing any sort of data producer, I understood that my manual effort of both working and examining myself strongly differentiates from life-logging and social media, or self-tracking. The main difference is that I do not automate the process of capturing, organizing and retrieving my life, but I accomplish this process manually. By "becoming both the sensor and the algorithm", programming my own behavior, I avoid the privacy implications related to sousveillance turning my operation into what I define as ''Tebahism'', the manual stowing of life within predefined containers in view of a technology driven crisis threatening human life (Fig. Screenshot showing me in my Swedish university spending my time reviewing all the corrections of all the many professors pretty much censoring through my thesis. While very prolific in my writing the only successful way for the Swedish professors to get my work academic enough was to cut and copy and paste my writings. Only later I understood that I was treated as an artist but I am in fact more like an ancient philosopher concerned with how to live rather than wasting time with unnecessary debates and sophisticated trivialities).

THESIS 04/12 In my short lived academic career I used the term "Tebahism" to identify archival practices that are more precarious than the dictatorial archival practices advocated by academic humanists such as Jacques Derrida. I used the Egyptian word "tebah", used in the Masoretic bible to signify both Noah's Ark and Moses' basket as life-savers. Beyond the biblical reference I pointed at the flood myth as a narrative spread in all cultures worldwide. In line with Jacques Ellul, I saw the work of "tebahists" as shamans developing techniques which could enable society to avoid the consequences of new technological changes. My historical examples were: Jacopo Pontormo's diary, Ferdinand Cheval's ideal palace, Dziga Vertov's film, Janina Turek's diaries, Vivian Maier's boxes and George Perec's novels but also relatively unknown tebahists such as John Mallon Waterman and Danielle Roberts. To avoid any religious association, after my thesis I replaced “tebah” with “larnax”, the ark of the Greek deluge myth (Fig. Screenshot of the cover of my doctoral thesis. At last what I managed to get out of academia was a tiny publication and mostly a provocation for scholars so anti-religious but so priest-like. I not only used Moses as an example but in fact made the publication as a Moses infiltrated in an empire , something that might at last liberate humanity from its enslavement).

THESIS 05/12 While fully abandoning any attempt to dwell with the narrow-minded academic environment, I undertook my own research. To begin with I gave up my initial plan to fully investigate the subject of what I came to define as life-stowing. Originally this plan was laid out to investigate what I then called life-logging from all possible perspectives but right from the beginning the plan was opposed. I had to content myself with a sterile and normalized and diminished PhD dissertation. I let professors telling me how to go about it while pursuing this very thesis unofficially and on the side (Fig. The scheme of questions and methods I proposed to my media studies department in Sweden. While I had the energy and expertise to conduct such scheme the plan was hijacked by the most pedant and conservative scholars. Already on banal comments such as what do you mean with analogue and cannot digital be analogue I understood that the lack the common sense to research what I was so devoted about. Only through my reading of Stoic ethics I understood that such academic sophistications are a waste of time and indeed the square scheme I had proposed was a key method to pursue my research has suggested by the Roman philosopher Quintus Sestius who used the metaphor of the army square formation as a way to keep virtuous).

THESIS 06/12 In my attempts to describe this work in a scientific context, I repeatedly explained my point of view and that is that contemporary life is filled with unnecessary procedures, often only meant for the sake of social security and surveillance. I therefore claimed that my documenting activity is only an additional procedure to enforce the self. Wasting my time trying to position my work within academia in the end I had to relay on Michel Foucault's notion of the "Technology of the Self" only to be able to claim that indeed my practice is not a technology of power but a form of stoicism enabling me to live according to nature. Additionally I also attempted to use the stoic practices of Franklin Benjamin and Mahatma Gandhi to claim that indeed there is nothing selfish about it; right because one lives according to his or her nature he or she is better at governing not only his or herself but also others who need guidance (Fig. Screenshot showing me and my friend Davide taking shelter from an Indian monsoon and ending up in a religious celebration. While I have always being skeptical of any form of superstition, it was in my trip across souther India that I more strongly related my practice to that of shamans adhering to certain magic formulas also as a way to hinder the traumas of social progress as advocated by Jacques Ellul in his seminal work “Technology and Society”).

THESIS 07/12 Initially I felt most uncertain about using images as a way to accompany the 12 paragraphs describing each of the 36 works. In most of my works I have never combined media together. However as I decided that it was necessary to do so, I found the images very useful not only to illustrate my works but also as a way to visually allocate certain thoughts. In this respect when I have a new insight on a particular instance of the work I can scroll through the thesis and find exactly where to place it thanks to the accompanying images. Once again this method is in line with classic methods of knowledge productions turned obsolete by the enlightenment as emphasized in Paolo Rossi's book “Clavis Universalis” (Fig. Screenshot of the folder where I have placed the images in use as part of this thesis. I am the author of most of the images while only a few may have been taken from other sources. Some of the images comes straight from the resulting digital archive of month productions of each of the 36 works while others shows the making of such work. In the latter case the images can be still taken from one of the 2.592 documentaries I shot to film my practice. Often they are screenshots of my desktop computer showing a file being edited. Lastly each set of pictures present a rendering of the ideal exhibition I have realized in a 3D modeling environment).

THESIS 08/12 When writing this thesis I am often on holiday or have some days off from my daily life, taking care of my family and children. As in the summer my extra time is dedicated to the project museum in the alps, the thesis is mostly written in the extra time I have during the winter period such as when my girlfriend has short holidays. While the getting into the writing mode can be stressful, I find great joy in writing especially when it comes to philosophizing and finding a new meaning for one of my works. In this respect this thesis is generative as it allocates a set number of pages and text to be written. The very fact that I have to fill a page forces me at times to come up with very unique concepts I would have otherwise never thought of. Nonetheless the number of pages can be a bit too little for few of the works such as the photographing of my right hand and my drawings of ideas. Generally however the predefined layout offers me a lot of blank pages to be filled with extra content (Fig. Selfies showing me taking my time to go through my thesis while at my son farm in Sweden. In this case I am seating in the comfortable living room to avoid the back pain I can get seating too long in a small desk setting. Generally however I seat in my dark and tiny attic in the Netherlands where I have my ergonomic high table with a saddle type of chair I bought from a dentist to keep my back straight).

THESIS 09/12 Over time I found it most important not to rush in the writing of this thesis. Some parts of my project had to still be defined such as the construction of the museum consisting of an iron cube with the outside textures and the inside mosaic tags. Also I needed to gather more empirical insights in order to make each set of description more comprehensive with my overall experience of each part of the project. As all the descriptions and the various parts of the thesis were drafted, I kept on revising them and making sure that I really wrote what I meant. In a way then my thesis become the only testament of a life work that is likely to disappear and leave no trace but perhaps the publication of this 432 pages writing forgotten in some attic of some distant friend (Fig. Screenshot illustrating how a picture is edited using a freeware software. Aware of my duty to write my thesis I keep in the back of my head the task to find good ways to illustrate all the various passages without missing relevant visual information. Perhaps one aspect the I miss out in presenting my thesis in a book are more dynamic elements such as video and audio files. On the other hand the reader might get in fact distracted from these elements which should be rather presented individually after the reader has taken the trouble to go through the resulting book).

THESIS 10/12 I am aware that some of the language I have used in my thesis is not appropriate. The most conformist of people such as the very politicians and professors who have been obstructing the publication of my project, will certainly find it offensive. The passages that are most insulting in this thesis are in some ways a form of cynicism against those figures fighting for power or in power. I am as cynic as a Diogenes or other ancient philosophers when confronting people very much inclined to waste their lives to achieve a worldly carrier or to obtain worldly goods. Rather than maintaining a strict political correctness and try to silence or moderate my tone towards these form of social authorities I have ultimately decided to be open about it. While philosophers like Seneca suggests not to declare any enemies it was Montaigne to suggest that the doings of authorities should be brought forward. I take an in between position, without literally incriminating anyone I highlight the vanity of individuals fight for other people causes while in fact been so hyped about their own selves (Fig. Picture showing a notebook I kept to constantly annotate reflections I had about particular works of my project. Rather then keeping side notes and then try to embed them in the text I lastly preferred to refrain from doing so and only regularly improve my thesis by reviewing it entirely).

THESIS 11/12 I never wanted to take part in the profiling of myself as requested by social media and the social media affected institutions. I often presented my work as much as possible without any introduction nor any show-off of how great I am and how great my career has been. Only after been exposed to a lot of newspapers writing about my right hand project as some kind of a maniac obsession, I decided to set out my profile in Wikipedia. I soon however regretted it and asked for the profile to be eliminated but this was refused. Later in time I decided to include this very thesis in my profile page but this arose the indignation of Wikipedia volunteers which at last consented to have my profile eliminated, enabling me to go deeper in the description of my practice and of my works. Later in I considered posting this thesis on the web. I thought of both posting it on a separate website or trying to overlay it on the project website. I wanted to set an example on how one should in fact write a biography without any summarization nor politically motivated purposes especially in the age in which white men are pushed off any sort of pedestal (Fig. Screenshot of one of many website reproducing the Wikipedia page I demanded to cancel in order not to comply with the aggressive trend of personal profiling of literally anyone with a bit of credential).

THESIS 12/12 In an ideal exhibition setting the thesis should be presented on a wall of one of the side rooms. All the pages and pictures should be presented in a book standing on a pedestal facing the wall. Many publications of the same book could be actually on sight so that visitors can actually buy a hard-copy to take home as some sort of museum catalogue. Ultimately in fact I might also distribute this book to those visiting the project museum although a translated version might be necessary (Fig. Rendering of the ideal exhibition where the wall in which the thesis should be presented is highlighted in red. I am aware that of all of my life work perhaps only a publication of this thesis might remain, or at least might be the last trace about me also given the fact that I am not included in any kind of other social framework such as within a university department or a cultural institution. In fact while most people are likely to be indifferent about my work, some will certainly want it to disappear completely. As this work and my project might speak the truth about a certain time and a certain environment, people who retain power and have only been able to hinder my work by muting it, will certainly want to turn it to ashes. In this respect a copy of the book could be in fact dug as some kind of a time-capsule for the future when the rise of ideologies will settle and a search for common sense might recover).