Penelope Umbrico
Suns from Sunsets from Flickr consists of images of suns that I have cropped from pictures of sunsets from the website Flickr. Shared via email and social networking, these images are ephemeral and immaterial, infinitely multiple, circulating in a context of global non-space and non-time. I have uploaded the cropped images to the Kodak website and printed 4" x 6" machine c-prints of them, giving them singular, specifically local, material form - as material objects, they can only be in one place at a time.

I started this project wanting to know what the most photographed subject was, and found that “sunsets” consistently displayed the most hits on photo-sharing web sites such as Flickr. The paradoxical absurdity of the ubiquitous presence of the sun - omnipotent provider of warmth, enlightenment, optimism and vitamin D – shared as visual currency on the cool electronic internet is made more apparent in the increasing numbers of sunset images shared on sites like Flickr. For example: in 2006 when I started this project, there were 541,795 sunset images on Flickr; on 9/25/07 there were 2,303,057, on 3/31/08 - 3,221,717; on 8/03/09 - 5,911,253, and so on. I have included in the titles of each incarnation of this project the accompanying number of sunsets found on Flickr on the day I print or install the project - the title itself becoming a comment on the ever increasing use of web-based photo communities and a reflection of the collective content there.

Aside from installations in museums and galleries, various other forms of the project address the disparity of the ephemeral internet image and its subject: For public installations or interventions the photographs are placed in sun-less contexts outside of the usual sanctioned art space (such as the box offices at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; the “S” trains of the NYC subway system - the “S” never goes above ground; the underground mall system of downtown Toronto. In most of these installations, the photographs just show up, unannounced, like a kind of unexplained phenomenon. For another project, (Over and Across), I ask that the left over suns photographs from an installation (or those found during an intervention) be mailed to me as postcards – the “sun” physically travels through the skies, crossing boarders, and registers on its surface a record of time and place, beginning and end, of its destination.
7,707,250 Suns from Sunsets from Flickr (Partial), 7/30/2010
for the exhibition “Carry On” by David Horvitz