The society of images is both that of entertainment and, also and above all, that of surveillance. Where the invisible becomes visible this takes on a value deriving from preconstructs intrinsic to mechanisms, which are unknown to most people. Between digital revolutions and an economy based on an increasingly exacerbated capitalistic system, we find ourselves entangled in a world that, following the digital revolution, is overpopulated by images of all kinds, with which anyone can be monitored twenty-four hours a day and because of this no privacy seems to exist any longer.
Through the daily actions we carry out on social media, such as posting an image on Instagram, we do nothing but hand over valuable data to control companies about who we are, what our tastes are, what we like, and what we don't like. Becoming both victims and executioners at the same time. We are the ones who share our images, our data, and part of our private lives online. In this environment worthy of the most imaginative dystopias, what could represent a solution? Can digital tools become, as well as a control tool, a pathway for freedom?
We decide what to spread on the Internet and this is the starting point from which we must start again to make ourselves less vulnerable. By exploiting the internet in the right way we could be able to learn to manage our visibility, to confuse the environment and ourselves, using the uncontrolled proliferation of images to our advantage. In this sense, Jacopo Ernesto Gasparrini's work moves along a line that directly contrasts the concept of artistic authorship by using the help of new media for the creation of his works. Inspired by marketing tools, in particular the automation of digital devices, he imitates the conditioning mechanism. Agents who know our names, tastes, and preferences better than ourselves can attract our attention and convince us of the conscience and originality of our positions.
In this sense, it is nothing more than marketing techniques, certainly refined and cutting-edge but nothing more than that. Our tastes are dictated by nothing more than extrinsic motivations aimed at pleasing the other. The search for gratification and acceptance pushes us, however, to self-convince the genuineness of our interests. The series of projects regarding trophies originates directly from this thought: victory, in the social sphere, is nothing more than a mere deception.
The series dedicated to trophies was initially created through the creation of canvases using tin and artworks depicting cups made with breadcrumbs and Play-Doh. Poor materials that subtract value from the meaning of the representation: the trophy is a symbol of victory but it is an object compromised from the beginning, being destined for imminent decline. However, these were objects with an artisanal value. Persisting in his research, Gasparrini decided to oust the role of the artist as a creator to further subtract value from the significance. Through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques, the artist is no longer the practical creator of the work of art, thus eliminating the authorial value of the artistic gesture.
AI can generate works of art that are completely different from each other but at the same time equivalent and replaceable. In this sense, the form, whatever it is, loses its original meaning as the work is created by an entity that is not aware of what the concept of victory means. Trophies exist only as a function of personal gratification, dictated by our thirst for affirmation and self-satisfaction, which with the proliferation of new social media is increasingly unstoppable as we are increasingly placed under the spotlight. The continuous exposure to judgments and the ease with which we access information about others through social media make us vulnerable and in constant conflict with the image we have of ourselves, heightening the need for comparison and superiority, even if fictitious. In the same way, the trophies created by Gasparrini with the help of AI and printed in 3D become a simulacrum of an apparent victory and affirmation.