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Where does this memory of freedom come from? In what void is the human utopia of ascendingto the skies revealed?

 
Between Icarus and Elon Musk, Santos Dumont as a child announced: "Man flies!". And so also believed Helene Alberti, an American opera singer, who in 1931 put on her wings and left for a flight demonstration, inspired by the Greek cosmic laws of movement.

It did not succeed. Nor did it go wrong. It was an experiment, an artistic disform, the same theory-practice exercised by modern avant-garde artists who sought access to the new, the non-rational, the suprareal.


“Please, do not make me out a fanatic. I have proved to my own satisfaction that these old Greek laws of motion, once understood, can be made to work today. I believe they can be made to hold practical value for us. That is what I am trying to demonstrate. If they have no practical value they are no good.”, said in an interview to journalist Carl Warton from The Boston Herald on October 27th, 1929.


Since then, I have not heard from Helene anymore. Apparently, there is no institutionalized history in a house museum, for example. But the place where she lived at age 55 can be seen today on Google Maps: 175 Hemenway Street, Boston. For at least 15 years, since the building began to be tracked by satellite, the façade color has remained the same.

 

Just as a data snippet inserts this trace into the postdigital cultural landscape, in what other dimensions could memories be reinvented, based on the curation of Helene's data which have not yet had the “right to be forgotten”?

 

In “Searching for Helene Alberti”, research is the aesthetic work itself, an appropriation not only of the language of those wanted posters, dead or alive, but also of time and space - real and virtual. An artist's lie, since I am looking for someone who died in the last century.


The poster, by itself, is already an aesthetic experiment, conceptualized by the power of the image associated with the word. But anyone curious to enter the site will be able to contribute any information about Helene Alberti or her research, access the data already collected and navigate through experiments that push the boundaries between fiction and reality.


If stories are layers of memory and “memory is invention”, as the schizoanalyst Pedro Paulo Rocha said, there is no linear history to be reconstituted. Data is fragmented, networked, decentralized. A proposal to gather them for research and, from that, invent new realities.


Artificial Memories


In this sense, “Artificial Memories” is another experiment, also available on the website, where it is possible to access the photo album of the pataphysical encounter between Santos Dumont and Helene Alberti, in France, at the beginning of the 20th century.

Those memories were created by artificial intelligence, performing stock images: it is possible to see them having dinner at the two-meter-high table created by Dumont, visiting the surrealist laboratory of a rubber doll maker, riding an electric car in Bagatelle and, of course, flyingthrough the Parisian sky.

In “Searching for Helene Alberti”, dream, reality and fiction hybridize and relate to this non-place pursued by them. An open research, a point of convergence of information and an aesthetic production based on data, available for the multiplication of possibilities. A theory-practice of reflections about new utopias in the field of art.

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