Broken memories / archival mess
DISK_recovered files 277,91 GB All files are broken.
Here I am.
Facing this broken disk again. Physically holding it in my hands with a sens of despair.
I spent so much money and lost so much time trying to recover the files. Files are oddly divided in numbered folders and subfolders by kind: aif, mp’, mp”, wav; ai, bmp, icns, jpg, orf, png, ps, psd, tiff…. Thousands of broken files more or less non/accessible.
This is my archive, my memory, the trace of my life as a photographer and as a human being. An archive started in 2006. I am giving up the useless efforts I made to recover them on a June night in 2020 after moths of experts at work, an Odyssey in itself.
Files are damaged, there is no way to have them back as they were originally. They had a name and an order. They were divided by years into different folders. I had professional projects, personal souvenirs, funny things, some brain-storming stuff and a huge family archive I scanned and organised in several months of work including documents, ancient photographs, interviews… It is all lost, gone.
More than so, the funniest thing is that this huge digital mass of information became something else. The software for recovering files delivered those odd images: pictures, sounds, texts and video files turned into something new, something that has its own beauty and a mysterious unit. I wonder how this can eventually happen. But yes, it did happen…
I took the first big part tof the images in Harlem, New York, where I used to live. There are photos from New Orleans, Paris, Chiavenna (my hometown in the north of Italy), Milan and many other places I visited for work or personal life.
Being a photographer, I often take more than a picture of the same scene, situation or person: this action creates in the new life of my destroyed photos series. I included a few of them in the selection here posted. It is interesting to see the evolution in 4 portraits of the same figure (originally one or more photos - mysteriously cut or repeated) that we can’t recognise: the corrupted images show us different details or colours. They bring to our attention details, the corner of a photos, one hand…
FROM DESPAIR TO A NEW OBSERVATION
After being completely overwhelmed by the lost of all those memories and even more by the disappearance of a conspicuous part of my work on going and finished, I started to look at this experience differently.
I live in a digital era and this can happen. Actually, the obsolescence of the media is a huge issue of contemporary life. Moreover, the absence of any proof of the work I accomplished doesn’t erase the experience of making it and the knowledge I acquired. Aren’t them the essence of life? The path and not the place we reach…. Why did I feel so frustrated, lost, angry, sad? So much work lost forever… So many souvenirs destroyed… Ideas, and ongoing projects that nobody will see…
The destroyed and fragmented memories characterised by chaos and uncontrollable visual associations question the power of photography and the need we feel to document things that often we will not look at. Those images also question my desire to create an order, to organise and comprehend life through my art practice, giving a chosen point of view.
Thanks to this experience, I now know that digital images don’t last forever and this consciousness completely changed my approach to digital images and to the process of making and storing them.
I would love to make a book including the largest amount of images I can still open. They will allow the reader to enter into a kind of mysterious diary in which nothing is clear. The missing parts and damaged information seem to me a very interesting aspects, a quality of the digital files that I can still open, which are not the photographs and video I took. I actually lost my control. I am not the author, I am observing this uninterrupted flow of consciousness.
Faces, places, art works, seasons, years... all is mixed up but there is somehow a unit and a vision in this chaos.
The book I imagine should express this feeling of “unity” that I still perceive when I see this material, which I don’t rule any longer: It became an intriguing digital object with a bizarre visual appearance.