The images selection hereby proposed is part of a wider project by Stefano Parrini which investigates the aesthetics of memory storage’s failure during the era of technique. A series of transfiguring images recovered from broken drivers, scanning mistakes, incomplete digital transmission, and other faulty technical collections show us a new memory view. The language of memories is stutterer and unintelligible. Their limits are vague, blurred, shattered, segmented. Maybe scattered. Kind of lost. Here it comes the title FAIL which may mean disappointment, omission, damage, failure.
According to Plato, “knowing” is basically “remembering”. Without memories we do not exist. Memory is what helps us not to exclude our experience from the world or from everything we have gained that give shape to our biography and defines our unique and unmistakable mark. If you lose your memories you get lost. Therefore since ancient times, the communities made great efforts to hand down, preserve, store memories. Oral tradition, writings, arts, originally they were all different types of collective memory. On the contrary, individual memory storage is quite a recent conquest. Its current widespread and endemic diffusion is mainly due to photography rather than literacy and transmission of memories through letters and diaries. All this is making us reflect on the fact that nowadays technology is substituting personal memories, since the present moment can be immediately shared through external or virtual devices, and efforts in remembering are no longer necessary. Now the device is the one which has to remember on our behalf and therefore to increase its memory capacity. Everything seems more accessible, but also more prone to obsolescence and deterioration. Nonetheless, more and more dematerialized and fragmented, memory is no longer the place for thoughts that explain who we are, the source of our own secret and inner truth, but rather an open air storage for images that show the idea we made of ourselves through other people. It is the archive of a past which is not always recognizable and yet susceptible to the disturbance and uncertainty of a future guided by technique.
Text by Steve Bisson
Translation by Marta Mainenti
When I decided to create a project on parks and protected areas, certain aspects that I had never before taken into consideration came immediately to mind. While it occurred to me on many occasions to venture into some of these areas, the way i viewed such a venture had always been from a tourist's point of view. The first question i posed to myself was possibly the most important: Why is it that we need to create these protected areas? Is it because the natural environment tends to be destroyed? In this case, shouldn't the borders be clearly discernible given that what remains outside is visibly evident and shows the difference between those areas that are protected and those that are not? This leads to other questions regarding what constitutes the actual borders of a park and what one can and can not do within them. As a result of these uncertainties, in deciding which park to investigate, I chose one in which certain critical aspects that were related to my questions were clearly evident. Without traveling far, in Tuscany, the Parco Regionale delle Alpi Apuane (Apuan Alps Regional Park) offered a vast selection of arguable themes that need answers; that would encourage debate deserving of a response. Certainly these mountains exhibit, perhaps more so than other areas, the need for territorial protection and the consequent institution of a protected area, but to an equal degree, they exhibit the clear need on the part of man to intervene by way of commercial activity and hence the necessity to violate a zone that is formally declared as protected. This ambiguity serves as an interesting example for what is the current relationship between man, territory, and the natural environment, an ambiguity which is present not only in the protected areas but which could even be considered intensified there. A study carried out by the University of Siena on the Appuan Territory found that there are over seven hundred quarries there, including active and non-active ones. It is enough to look at a satellite view of the territory to see the extent to which this area is in need of protection. Can the creation of a park suffice to protect a given territory or is this, too, subject to the influence of politics and the carving up of the territory in the service of economic interests, void of consideration as to what is in the interest of the public good; to protect the environment? Can the designation of an area as protected be considered an attempt to reclaim territory for the social and common good? This is part of what i seek to put in evidence in my photographic work. Landscapes from a protected area that seem otherwise; an ambiguity, taken for granted, in order to better understand what these parks and natural reserves serve in relation to human activity, the environment, the territory, and the way in which this relationship has changed over time.
Home is a project consisting of a series of prints placed into the context of the deepest recesses of space, like portholes of a ship or telescope lenses which cast light onto another universe – my personal, domestic universe. They are planets, nebulas, constellations meticulously codified by everyday coordinates. I used old rolls of film, taking fragments of images selected accordingly, for example the end of the rolls or the first images - the ones taken in order to reel the film into the right position. But they are also images of an LED lamp I have at home; they are all images which are placed to overlap the locations which I then marked on a map, each one with an initial. After about three months, I scanned this material onto a digital file which I then post-produced by tracing the lines of my constellations. The tangible result is a connection of points in a luminous and pulsating firmament, all of it personal, which I have chosen to unveil in front of everyone’s eyes.
A concentrated cosmos, a microcosm reflected in the macro in which we stand, home to everyone.
Not just skies, but moonscapes, terrestrial panoramas accompany this universe. They are deserts, mountains, rocky expanses made with graph paper or scrunched-up nylon envelopes, photographed in digital and once again post-produced by overlapping various dusty images, also used as the constellations; they are views, landscapes of, once again, homemade planetary surfaces.
Seen from above, by way of a modern tool such as Google Earth, our planet clearly shows the face of man's activity and of climatic changes which will force future generations to adapt to a different way of life. A disaster, the death of the forests and of animals; the pain and the danger are transformed into a network of lines and abstract shapes.
These pieces render the reality stilled; magically transformed into microchips with the click of a mouse.
In a sense, this series of photographs is a chronicle direct from the territories, where reality is interwoven with virtuality thereby losing its power to excite acute, profound emotion. Progress is synthesized into a miniature version of itself, its most important task, to free us from our natural sense of unease. Progress anesthetizes the souls that would otherwise take pains to protect life. In Progress is a project comprising 80 Polaroid images, divided into four chapters; Deforestation, Desertification, Melting of the Glaciers, and Rising Sea Levels.
Land Market is a project that analyzes the twisted relationship between globalization and exploitation of natural resources through a series of tragic-ironic photos inspired to the land art. Fil rouge of the subtle criticism is a shopping cart in a natural setting as an installation symbol of the cold and constant intervention of the humanity. This is in order to leave a trace of a reflection on our consumer system and on the impact that it has on our planet.
"Le Tracce" is a Saharan journey into deep southern Algeria; a tale of absence; of the lack of familiar references, and of spaces resistant to signs of human presence. Fleeting traces, fragile and incidental, but also prehistoric; traces of the force of nature and of the passage of time. Paved roads, dirt tracks, oil wells, shacks, street signs, automobile and animal carcasses, graffiti and imprints are artifacts which acquire meaning projected onto the depth of the infinity of the desert and are assessed before being swallowed by time. Traces which reaffirm themselves indelibly in the soul when one travels at these latitudes, toward a distant horizon.
Time measurement and impermanence are not just ideological issues: nature follows its own laws and entropy is necessary to understand and express an essential part of them.
When abandoned to themselves, every system tend to become disorganized, scattered, and corrupted in direct correlation with time flow. Every living and not living thing is consumed, degrades, declines.
The orderly evolution which assembles the complex systems of life and the spontaneous aesthetics of nature which tends to auto-organize itself… are they maybe opposing the chaos action of entropy?
While order and life are born within a leaf, a car decays in the soil and increases chaos, leading the overall balance toward the latter. This represents the effort and victory that enlightens the exceptional and precious nature of life on this planet and its delicate balance, demanding the need for a sympathetic position in its defense.
There is still the issue of sustainability and the impossibility to leave the same resources that we have had to our future generations.
Each commodities cycle is depleting nature and produces slags that are only partially recyclable; this is warning us that this economical system and its culture - presented as the only possible - is not providing a sustainable future for our planet.
Translation by Marta Mainenti