For Riccardo Uncut, MFA Photo/Video faculty and renown artists Eva and Franco Mattes posted a call on social media, offering to buy someone's phone for $1,000 in order to turn the photo and video contents into an art project—an uncut and uncensored portrait of someone's life. The project is currently on view at The Whitney Museum's online database.
Accessible to the public as a customized, chronological slideshow, Riccardo Uncut gives viewers a unique glimpse into the personal life of Riccardo, the chosen applicant. The archive consists of approximately 3,000 images taken between 2004–2017 that include documentation of travels and vacations, friends and family, partners and sexual desire, daily life at home, office dynamics, food, art, architecture, and artistic endeavors.
Riccardo Uncut was inspired by the questions, “How do we construct our digital memory?” and “Is there still such a thing as a ‘private photo?’” Social media create a perfect arena for re-creating the self as a lifestyle brand, performing a daily me, an idealized version of ourselves. With Riccardo Uncut the Mattes investigate where one might find authenticity in self-representation and an unedited version of the self.
Infamous Italian artist duo Eva and Franco Mattes are best known for their subversive and innovative new media work, which exposes various ethical and political ramifications of the Internet as both reality and theory. Often going by the pseudonym 0100101110101101.org, they are hackers, activists, and some of the originators of Net Art. Large scale projects include Stolen Pieces, in which the Mattes’ stole fragments from fifty famous artworks over the course of two years and displayed them in a glass cabinet, Darko Maver, a fictionalized radical Serbian artist with gruesome work, and Portraits, which took place within the virtual computer game Second Life. Deeply committed to the concept of audience experience and interaction, the Mattes’ continue to explore the dark quality of human nature in the realm of online media.
To hear the Mattes' speak about Riccardo Uncut and for a short preview of the work, please watch the video below: