In July 2018, I started collecting information about the situationist movement in Italy. I found myself reading an article about art without artworks which cited Aleksandr Savorsky -a Russian artist- as founding member. However, little was known about this mysterious artist. My research took me to Vietri, a small village in the suburban area of Salerno in Southern Italy, where Savorsky worked as ceramist. There I only managed to collect limited information while getting in contact with Valerio Valentini, novelist and Savorsky’s only descendant. Valerio experienced sporadic contacts with his grandfather and his accounts of facts and places presented several omissions.
This book aims to investigate the limits of memory and its loss. Our mind allocates memories in a chaotic manner; since the beginning of the century, Surrealist artists dig in between the plies of human memories to bring back stories from an unconscious mind. Indeed, the Freudian so-called Faux Souvenir (fake memory) is often altered by external inputs and new experiences.With this in mind, I interviewed Valerio Valentini, trying to gather information about his last encounters with his grandfather Aleksandr Savorsky. Valentini replied to my questions elaborating a narrative in which he assembled different bits from his memories in spite of carefully describing the artworks Savorsky produced.
Fragments deepens the concept of Faux Souvenir in the age of machine processing, using an A.I. to suture and connect memories from Valerio’s various experiences to reconstruct new images as a scar tissue replaces a wound.
The final output is a distortion of the memories revealing an attempt of the machine to fill the gaps between the fictitious and the real. Specifically, the A.I. fed summary information through the only piece of writing Savorsky left behind, eventually agglutinating errors and loss of the original memory/object and resulting into unpredictable artefacts.
A project by Emidio Battipaglia and written by Valerio Valentini. Preface by Emmanuele J. Pilia
Images made with the support of Cristobal Valenzuela and Runaway App (https://runwayapp.ai/). Based on the paper “AttnGAN: Fine-Grained Text to Image Generation with Attentional Generative Adversarial Networks” by Tao Xu, Pengchuan Zhang, Qiuyuan Huang, Han Zhang, Zhe Gan, Xiaolei Huang, Xiaodong He