Fail

The memories which lie within us are not carved in stone; not only do they tend to become erased as the years go by, but often they change, or even increase by incorporating extraneous features.

Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved - I sommersi e i salvati (1986)

The aesthetics of failure in archiving memories. Memories become stutterer, volatile, and uncertain. The profiles - evanescent per se - become confusing. Their meanings are scattered into an endless ocean of images. As if lost. Hence the title “Fail”, which can mean disappointment, omission, damage, failure.

According to Plato, “to know” is basically “to remember”. As a fact, without memories, we do not exist. Deprived of instinct, human beings find in memories the solution for their experience not to be excluded from the world, to create that mark that makes it unique. For this reason since ancient times, communities have strived to pass on, preserve, store memories. Oral tradition, writings, and arts were originally all different types of collective memory. On the contrary, individual memory storage is quite a recent conquest, that became endemic thanks to evolving means of duplication and spread of images.

Technology is substituting personal memories, since the present moment can be immediately shared, and efforts in remembering are no longer necessary. In the past, photographies were taken not to forget. Nowadays, we take them to look or track reality. The devices are increasing their memories capacity, to remember on our behalf. Everything seems more accessible, but also more prone to obsolescence and deterioration.

As it is more and more dematerialized and fragmented, memory is no longer the place for thoughts that tell who we are, or the source of our own intimate truth, but rather an open air storage for images that show the idea we made of ourselves through other people. It is an archived past which is not always recognizable and yet it is susceptible to disturbances driven by technique.

Parrini gives a name, a face, and a shape to a personal landscape, starting from its ruins. The fragments of memory. The result is a confusing panorama, with a shining asymmetric vision of the time that tips over and frustrates the memory dimension. A monotheist vision arises from it. Sometimes it is unintelligible, but it seems to delete and prevail on the strength of the actual imagination which is a function of an abstract and uniforming aesthetics glorifying a roaming, flat, binary language. “Fail” is an alert madness. It is an oxymoron meant to highlight the role of the prevailing brainless technocracy that disintegrates individual history. All this being in support of a virtual settlement secured into an eternal and precarious present which tends to look more like a dementia, a perceptual dysfunction.
Text by Steve Bisson
Translation by Marta Mainenti