WORK 33 / CONTEXT / WEBSITE

WEBSITE 01/12 One of my 36 works consists in presenting on a website the digital archive resulting from the project. The archive comprises of 432 month files for each of the 36 works for a grand total of 15.552 possible .pdf or .mp4 or .mp3 files that a visitor to the site can download. Through the years I have been experimenting with different types of interfaces to enable viewers to retrieve month files and get a sense of my work. Generally speaking the website had to change its appearance along with the hi-tech market; the introduction of new devices such as smartphone and tablets forced me to rethink from scratch. In this respect I began playing with more responsive interfaces which became more important as the very website interface began to be conceived as the actual interface visitors to the project museum need to use to decrypt it (Fig Screenshot showing a recent version of the project website published at http://2004-2040.com. The website is like the date on a grave indicating the beginning and the end of the project. Interestingly as it can be seen in the screenshot it is identified as non-secured website so full of data it is and also with only my statement acting as an explanation. Several times I had to migrate my website with domain providers unwilling to put up with all the thousands of .htm and .html pages I have manually written to retrieve each month file in different modalities).

WEBSITE 02/12 The very first website of the project was public at http://id.gu.se/~afrigo . Then I made use of the server of the Gothenburg University where I was a student and later a teacher. Upon winning an award at Ars Electronica in 2006, at that time the festival showcasing experimental art in Austria, I purchased the site http://albertofrigo.net . After just a few years I was obliged by my Swedish wife to shut down the site as she did not want our private life to be public. More specifically she was furious about a newspaper article commenting on the fact that I wrote down many erotic dreams. For several years then I kept off-line and without any website mostly focusing on teaching around the world. Upon separating from my wife, my new girlfriend convinced me to go back on-line. I then purchased http://2004-2040.com . From that moment on I kept my identity hidden (Fig. An early screenshot of my website showing my right hand project. An image from a daily sequence could be pressed and all other images showing my hand interacting with that object would be loaded. From here visitors could have pressed other images to load new daily sequences. Everyone of my works had a unique interface until I decided to unify them under one interface. In the screenshot one can see much of my hand but also my oldest son being taken care of. Principally then I pioneered early forms of demanding Internet art).

WEBSITE 03/12 My project and in general my experimenting with possible interfaces where to contain it, preceded the rise of social media and later the trend to collect mostly body related personal data. In my mind I wanted to reproduce within a single interface the idea of a Rosetta Stone of time, a website that could bring forth many different media languages of the same media. I imagined the actual viewer to actively try to interpret across all these coherent and continuous flows of time in contrast with the very fragmented and syntactically broken languages generated by for instance social media frameworks. In a way it can be said that what I have achieved manually and with an extraordinary persistent effort, the social media user and the user of wearable gadget does effortlessly. Sensors and algorithms automatically frame and organize the user data. In addition this effortless data gets infected with adds and comments. I am then literally a fridge sampling and preserving different elements of reality at the time these form of automation are putting reality at risk, increasingly polarizing users views (Fig. Screenshot of the first website I conceived to view all the works together. Once selected the works could have been viewed by time interacting with the bottom right corner of the interface. Additionally they could have been navigated using a stylized map of the world in the bottom left).

WEBSITE 04/12 As I began building the project museum in the alps, it became clear that the website should have worked as a way to decode the textures surrounding its outer walls. In this respect I created a simple and responsive interface where users can explore all the 432 textures covering the museum and retrieve 1 of the 15.552 mosaics patterns placed in the inside of these textures. Interacting with the mosaic pattern users can open an overlay screen where the account of the associated month-file is presented. From here they can view the actual file that is set to open in a new window. Also the homepage of the website presents an overlay with a performance art-like statement explaining what I have planned to document from 2004 until 2040. Average users find this website to be to cryptic and have troubles navigating the site even after a detailed explanation. I am then aware that my project is in itself a new language that ought to be learned to read (Fig. Screenshot captured from a smartphone showing how the responsive design I created scales up to the width of any device. By pressing the white pixel of the texture the mosaic pattern corresponding to a month file opens and by pressing one of the twelve pixels, one of the twelve textures belonging to each work loads. 12 textures are an encryption of the full title of each work where each line corresponds to a letter).

WEBSITE 05/12 A main dilemma in the policy I have set up to communicate the project to the public has always being that of how much of an introduction I should give about not so much myself but on the very works. On one hand I wished not to reveal much about them and simply present a art project that only if properly explored would have provided viewers with hints, as if in a puzzle to be solved. I then have for a long time adhere to a policy of not revealing myself nor promoting in any way my project. I did not want to contribute to any form of data capitalism nor to create an obsessive cult of identity as that various public figures on social media. This approach however has had the consequences of fully marginalize me. I did not even share a way to contact me. Either way the design kept the majority of viewers from going any further (Fig. Screenshot of a website I conceived to provide the whole of the data in one view. Zooming in the textures month files could be retrieved and the patterns of the museum explored. The square format itself provides a drive to finish off the project and fill all the white pixels that ought to be filled. In an attempt to be more of a guidance to viewers coming to the site I tried to superimposed written explanations of the various patterns and at last found a way to introduce overlays to introduce the various sections of the website).

WEBSITE 06/12 Trying to work out my dilemma on how to present my website as a work of art without so much interferences but also being informative about it, I have adopted a two ways strategy. On one hand I created Larnax, a foundation which not only hosts my project in a physical format in the alps but also presents it on-line at http://larnax.org. The idea with the foundation is that with time it can open up to other artistic practices dealing with a systematic and manual archiving of reality. The other strategic way I embarked is that of using the very content of this book in a web version that could have been accessed at http://frigo.wiki . The official project website http://2004-2040.com then becomes not only a way to retrieve the project month files but also a way to go into a higher level, that of the foundation as well as into a lower level, that explaining my practice. Through the years while other artists dealing with self-tracking have been proposing to collaborate with me and start a collective together, I have always opposed to the idea perhaps on the ground that I do not wish to generate yet another framework such as that created by the Quantified Self movement. My wish is that of bringing reality back to reality and act locally (Fig. Screenshot of the Larnax Foundation website. With it I wanted to bring more focus on a local project rather than profiling myself as a ''relevant” artist).

WEBSITE 07/12 Importantly the many versions of my website have involved a great deal of manual labor. Originally I was ridiculed for not using ways to automate the editing of my work as well as the Internet based presentation. My artist friends like Brian House insisted I should be using scripts to generate my pages and but in the end I always opted to do all the .html coding by hand, being the .html language the only programming language I have ever learned. Therefore without cheating, and without any “for loops” doing the job for me I have compiled thousands of pages of code. Even the slightest change has required me days or even weeks to implement. Thanks to this approach, keeping my code simple and accessible, my website never became obsolete with time or anyway out of fashion. It was certainly not designed to attract a lot of traffic; it does not profit from any advertisement and it's ranking is very low. To some respect I see the World Wide Web as the western frontier. I was among the first to build a settlement but never wished it to grow into a metropolis. Likewise I never want to be incorporated in one (Fig. Picture of my notebook. Here a glimpse of the effort I undertook in creating my website can be seen. A small shuffling of things around always meant hours and hours of editing and re-editing each and every of the 432 .html pages with which my project website is partitioned).

WEBSITE 08/12 I have been using my website as my actual presentation format. Rather than using purposely tailored and conventional presentations such as with Microsoft PowerPoint, every time I ought to introduce my project to an audience or simply to a friend I use the website as some sort of support to visualize the concept behind it. In this respect the website becomes somewhat as a tool for storytelling, by clicking around I also have to improvise a certain discussion according to whatever pop-ups on the screen. While navigating the website I have realized that I frequently always end up in the same textures almost as if it is some sort of a destiny for me to view certain month productions rather than others. As my friend Davide once suggested perhaps the retrieving of month-files through the website is some kind of divination machines giving particular viewers a certain oracle rather than being a conventional database. Although the project is partially inspired by Lev Manovich's essay on Database Aesthetics, the website as such is not a searchable collection of items, as Guardian journalists Alex Preston once wrote about it, it is more of a maze where to get lost (Fig. Screenshot of one of the 432 .html files allowing the retrieval of month files. Once viewed the corresponding white pixel is marked with a numerical mosaic revealing a further level of detail into the work).

WEBSITE 09/12 The rethinking of my website over the years have been for me not only a challenge in terms of the days spent editing manually thousands of pages of code. I found it often mentally draining to only decide to go for a certain approach rather than other. New sketches of potential website improvements have been for me almost a reconsidering of a scheme already settled in my brain, a scheme I already gave a lot of thought to, trying to keep it most balanced and fine-tuned as a musical composition or a classic painting. Under these circumstances, as soon as a new sketch was executed a period followed in which I began doubting the necessity of the new improvement, eventually resolving to go ahead. Aesthetically I have focused on a geometry to adhere to as a way to keep determined about it. The main dilemma still remained however as to whether or not provide an introduction of the project as well as a way for others to contact me within this geometry. I have categorically refused to use the website as a show off of my curriculum and at last I opted for a rather discreet introduction (Fig. Photograph of a sketch I executed to examine the zooming of my square interface and end in a rectangular interface with four smaller squares in the bottom enabling the user to step back to other texture of the same work, other works of the same category and other categories of the project).

WEBSITE 10/12 Beside for my museum and some rare exhibition, the website is the only interface I have with the world. Even so I have no idea whether anyone is visiting it. I have always been far from creating a pretentious website designed to trap the attention of a user. There has been certainly periods in which thousands of people visited my website after some viral articles mostly created by journalists to be distributed on social media. While these articles may summarize just the work of a crazy artist, there are never in depth reviews of my encyclopedic and holistic project. Rather seldom people might have really made an effort to fully explore the website. Possibly these people might be folk who have been previously attached to me. They try to get an understanding of my doings such as my ex Swedish wife or my former Polish friend Jacek Smolicki. Yet I made it a point not to share my artistic progress and outcomes outside my website. By trying to conduct an Internet search of my name very little can be found and the only option is to truly make an effort and dive one self in the actual website (Fig. Screenshot of an article gone viral about my work. While I later became quite unreachable discouraging any journalist to contact me, such kind of articles already claim the impenetrability of my website. In this case if I wanted to be successful I should have just adhere to one work, mainly my right hand one).

WEBSITE 11/12 Not using my website to increase my reputation but with a genuine sense of sharing my project, I have been often tempted to abandon the World Wide Web for good. The tensions within it seems to escalate and it is becoming increasingly a web flies get entangled only to be crawled through by automated spiders attempting to suck whatever information. Either way I do not believe that any of these automated ways to learn from the content I publish on the Internet could actually make any sense. The active participation of humans is required to interpret the life content I so carefully curate. There will anyway come the day in which all of my generated archive will be pulled out of the Internet for good and on the Internet pretty much little or no trace will be left from it. In this respect the very site of the museum in the alps could act as the only site where visitors could connect to an Intranet with which data can be retrieved. I went as far as to think that the museum itself should hand out devices in which the actual data is stored locally and these devices could act as some sort of time-capsule (Fig. Picture of a sketch I made to establish which combination representing a number the mosaic retrieval interface jumps to when a white square is pressed. Variations have been made for the first and third line as the numbers here should be up to 3 and 4 respectively.).

WEBSITE 12/12 In an ideal exhibition the website should be presented in one of the side room to the main exhibition hall. This presentation could actually comprise of the several websites I have created along the way yet the focus should be on the most recent one. The website should be run locally on a computer and the computer should be itself somewhat of a time-capsule, storing the actual digital data. The set up should resemble the set up I use when I update my project in my study. Perhaps even my very laptops could be used for the purpose. As I always keep the data stored in each laptop, users could then experience the various stages of the website through the years. The space should be then arranged with desks placed against the wall. Each desk should allow a viewer to also wear headphones and take notes. The laptops should also have a computer mouse as a computer mouse was used throughout the duration of the project (Fig. The ideal exhibition with the wall where the website should be presented highlighted in red. It could be likely that not only the kind of laptop device I used to update the project and edit my website could be no longer functional by the time of the exhibition. Also the actual .html programming language could be fully deprecated. In this case a way to emulate this experience with more contemporary devices should be found).