THE FREGOLI DELUSIONS
February 16, 2016
The Fregoli Delusions - Chapter I, machinima, color & sound, 2016, 14' 30"
The Fregoli Delusions - Chapter II, machinima, color & sound, 2016, 18' 38"
The Fregoli Delusions - Chapter III, machinima, color & sound, 2016, 33' 05"
The Fregoli Delusions - Chapter IV, machinima, color & sound, 2016, 18' 34"
The Fregoli Delusions - Chapter V, machinima, color & sound, 2016, 37' 16''
Note: Chapter I was shot in Castelletto; Chapter II in San Giovanni; Chapter III in Nice; Chapter IV in Sisteron and Montellino; Chapter V is a medley of Castelletto, San Giovanni, Nice and Montellino.
The Fregoli Delusions is a series of machinima shot within the world of the popular racing game Forza Horizon 2 (Playground Games/Turn 10 Studios/Microsoft Game Studios, 2014) by COLL.EO. Set in the game’s various urban and seaside environments - the real and fictional Italian and French cities of Castelletto, San Giovanni, Nice, Sisteron, and Montellino - The Fregoli Delusions deliberately ignores the featured “protagonists” (300+ virtual cars from a variety of manufacturers), to focus instead at usually overlooked characters, i.e. the computer-controlled spectators observing the endless races from sidewalks, outdoors restaurants, homes, and bars. How do pedestrians behave in the car-dominated spaces of the game? What does it mean to be a non-playing character in that consensual hallucination otherwise known as “video game”?
Named after Leopoldo Fregoli, an Italian theatre actor famous for his ability to make quick changes of appearance during his stage act, the Fregoli Delusion is a rare disorder first identified in 1927. Those affected hold a delusional belief that different people are in fact a single person who changes appearance or is in disguise. Also known as the delusion of doubles, this syndrome - which may or may not be related to a brain lesion - is often of paranoid nature, with the delusional person believing that the person they believe is in disguise is stalking, following or persecuting them. An individual suffering from the Fregoli delusion can also inaccurately replicate places, objects, and events, recognizing the same situations, patterns, and behaviors as pervasive and persistent. This mental condition is often associated with paramnesia, a memory-based delusion whose sufferers are unable to distinguish between real and fictional memories. One of its symptoms is a persistent sense of déjà vu, i.e. the delusion that a current event has already been experienced before. A related misidentification is reduplicative paramnesia, that is, the delusion that a location exists in more than one place simultaneously.
Phenomenologically speaking, any videogame experience generates most, if not all, these symptoms.