PAOLA FRANCESCA BARONE
// Paola Francesca is of Apulian and Arbereshe origin, Neapolitan by adoption. She studied philosophy and has always been passionate about photography, which she taught herself. Her feelings about the digitalisation of the world are conflictive, and she translated them into a conceptual series called “Dwelling in the Infosphere”.
As a teenager Paola began taking analog photos with a Zeiss camera from the 1950s, then changed to digital format. Initially attracted by architectural photography, she moved on to minimalist, abstract and, during the pandemic, self-portraits and conceptual work. From around 2019, photography has been an emotional diary for her and so preserves the trait of discovery and extemporaneous quality. Her projects also follow her inner clock more than external time.
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
What draws you to the arts?
“It is a cure for the soul and the places of art are the places where emotions are amplified and then let yourself go to catharsis.”
What do you like best about creating this conceptual black and white series?
“Generally I prefer to study the effect of light on surfaces: in this case I used only an opal glass and natural light.”
Paola´s conceptual project is based on her understanding of the advent of digitalization, which has thrown the object paradigm into crisis, where pervasive computerization continues to transform things into “infomes”, volatile information. Her studies of the Greek and Latin languages and culture and therefore also ancient philosophy deeply influence the way she perceives the digitalized world, and she has explained it in philosophical terms:
The human being is no longer “Dasein”, but an “Inforg” who does not manipulate passive matter, but exchanges immaterial information and their human intelligence is replaced by artificial intelligence, which deals with facilitating life, gradually eliminating the supporting elements.
Such infomes, however, are additive and not narrative, because in fact they are numbers and not logoi. The result, Paola says, is the annulment of the historical perspective, because humans, once freed from the worry of the future, live in the eternal present without any sorrows or burdens. “Of course, along with the historical perspective, memory is also lost: the accumulation of information in fact obliterates the very foundation of the narrative process and fragments existence. The implications of a life in the infosphere, beyond the apparent facilitation of existence, on the ethical and gnoseological level are abnormal: freedom gained is flipped into coercive surveillance and knowledge of the world is obscured to such an extent that truth is indistinguishable from falsehood,” she adds.
“It is things and truth that stabilise human life, while digital order transforms things into non things and knowing into unknowing: we are beings without hands, without thought… without anything to hold on to. The opposable thumb that brought about the species jump and birth of human culture has been supplanted by the digitus that scrolls, touches, no longer indicates the moon, but now prevents us from seeing it,” Paola explains.
Click on the photos to see the full image with title, some images may be cropped for layout.
ALL PHOTOS © PAOLA FRANCESCA BARONE
To see more of her photography visit Nella´s Instagram page.