Solastalgia is an historical image-based research project being conducted by Ecco Tecchi, well known in the field of early 21st century elemental digital archaeology and reconstruction (AEDR). She has been working for five years at a site in the Civita di Bagnoregio archaeological sector (SACB) of central Italia in the region known at that time as Lazio.
The project is comprised of approximately one hour of recovered image data. Each reconstructed data segment is introduced by two identical identification tags on the outer panels, and a single frame of visual data interpolation in the center. The linear order corresponds to the data modification dates retrieved from two aluminum data discs unearthed at the site.
The originating group behind the image genesis is unknown. It is possible that the imagery might have had some sort of speculative documentary relevance in its day, but the reconstructed files reveal little if anything. Tecchi is fairly certain that the images are from disparate parts of the world: the metal, glass and cement buildings in one of the image data reconstructions, for instance, have been positively identified as belonging to the lost city of Seattle on what once was the west coast of North America. Most of the data reconstructions portray the architectural features of human civilization in and around the SACB (as noted in the archives of noted 20th-century architect Astra Zarina, a long-time inhabitant of Civita di Bagnoregio) before it was destroyed by a series of powerful earthquakes three centuries ago. Though not included here, Tecchi has also identified incomplete bits of written materials discovered at the site as connected to the originating group, repeatedly referencing topics such as markers, empire, the singularity, and solastalgia, a term describing forms of existential distress caused by environmental change, such as mining or climate change.
A note on sound: many of the reconstructions had damaged sound data embedded in them. Wherever possible, that data has been activated for the viewer to hear.
Ecco Tecchi’s Solastalgia project has been curated for Currents by media artist Robert Campbell and choreographer/costume designer Babette DeLafayette Pendleton. Tecchi usually presents the reconstruction in a live context, acting as presenter and interpreter of the data. She was, however, unable to attend this year’s festival.