Images of the artifacts used by the main hand

Alberto Frigo (IT/SE)

Images of the artifacts used by the main hand

Lifetime activities, 2003

The work consists of an installation of photographic panels of the objects I have used with my right hand since the 24th of September 2003. Each panel represents a month, each line a day, and each individual photograph an object. Each of these objects is like the letter of an alphabet representing my activities as a kind of DNA code for other humans to interpret.

About Alberto
I was born in a small village in the Italian Alps but have spent most of my life abroad doing media research and living in Northern Europe, North America and China. I currently live in Sweden where I have been systematically tracking my life. I’ve embarked on a 36-year-long project, from 2004 to 2040, where I am collecting eighteen different aspects of reality, from objects my right hand has touched to remnants of dreams I remember while awake.

How did you get started lifelogging/analysing data?
I was fascinated about the possibility of recording different aspects of my life like my thoughts and my dreams but got frustrated doing so on paper. I then experimented on ways to do so with digital media. With this experiment I have been able to keep track of myself without having to look back at the material I was storing in order to, for example, make it available to others.

Why do you find lifelogging so interesting?
I do not find automated forms of lifelogging that interesting but I am fascinated with manual ways to log one's life as it provides the logger with a challenge in our otherwise dull everyday life. I see manual kinds of lifelogging as a discipline as much as the ones still conducted by old men in public gardens in China. In my opinion, it is more of a form of ‘caring for oneself’ rather than ‘knowing oneself’.

How do people in your life react when they discover the extent of your lifelogging?
I generally try not to speak too much about it and first let them talk about their lives. Obviously, once somebody gets to know me, he or she will become curious about all my procedures, but in the long run I think the general feeling is that my lifelogging practice is rather unobtrusive.

What's your favourite time of day and why?
The morning because I update my lifelogging project and I feel the same joy that a farmer would feel out in his small vegetable garden, taking care of the various rows of vegetables, flowers and plants.

Do you remember the first electronic device you owned?
It was probably a Game Boy on which I used to play Tetris.

What do you want done with your data after you die?
I am thinking of depositing it in the Alps where I was born. While a physical and very compact part will be buried, the data will be available as an augmented reality cathedral to mark it on top.

Is there anything about yourself that you would absolutely never like tracked?
Anything that might hurt the feelings of others.

What insights on your life has tracking your data revealed?
Firstly, I have a goal in life now, the realisation of my project which will end in 2040 when I will turn 60. Secondly, that I don’t record for myself, that I am actually stowing meaning for others, even only to let them be fascinated with the potential proliferation of our lives. Thirdly, I feel more prepared when facing a situation. I believe I have became more stoic, the love that I put into the curation of my lifelog makes me a happier and more helpful person to others.

What websites, magazines or other resources inspire, confound, amuse or irritate you?
I am generally inspired by marginal lifelogging practices that I have come across over the years on websites that have now ceased to exist. On these websites I read about Polish housewives tracking their lives for ages or other small heroes undertaking very interesting and demanding projects. I am currently writing a book on this subject.

What is your go-to piece of tech or software for lifelogging?
I don't use software but rather I act with my manual procedures as a software. I’m able to naturally embed these self-documenting procedures in my daily life. My left hand now naturally photographs my right hand using objects without me really thinking about it.

We're creating a speculative timeline of the possible future of lifelogging. We're asking everyone to make one prediction for a future date. What's yours? Feel free to think big!
I believe that people will learn to make a differentiation between the more casual and automated ways to lifelog and the more manual methods that require effort. While the former could be too compromising in the long run, a lifelogging practice that requires a more playful participation might be the key to solve the current debate regarding privacy infringement and governmental surveillance which automated forms of lifelogging might enhance.