Out of Order: Broken Sets and Bad Display, 2007 - ongoing
 

The photographs in Broken Sets and Bad Display are cropped from images of broken LCD-TVs I found for sale on eBay and other consumer-to-consumer market sites, where the televisions are sold for parts. The sellers turn the sets on while photographing them so that potential buyers can see that the electronics behind the screens still work. I became interested in the incidental beauty of the screens because they are derived from the failure of their own promising technology. By presenting these inadvertent abstract arrangements as formal compositions in their own right, I am collapsing the obsolescence and breakdown of new technology with the visionary aesthetic of Modernism.

Out of Order: Bad Display consists of photographic prints (enlarged so that the highly saturated enlarged pixels create gridded color fields that further evoke Modernist abstractions) and, depending on the installation, various other elements such as repurposed plexi-glass, plastic lenses from deconstructed lcd screens, CRT TVs, white house paint (white paint being a representation of light, yet being the most opaque paint there most effectively blocks out image and light), and cardboard TV boxes. For these installations, I’ve propped or sandwiched c-prints of cropped from images of broken LCD-TVs between rectangles of repurposed plexi-glass as though the deflated objects need support. The plexi-glass functions as a surrogate for the screen by creating a transparent framework from which the still images of the flawed screen seems to be slipping. As physical objects, they present themselves as precarious obstacles the viewer must navigate.

In all these works the medium that serves up the image (the screen) functions not only as a site of projection and reception, but also as a sifting mechanism, or a censor, letting some information through and keeping some out. As the substrate on which one sees images, the screen is invisible until something goes wrong. By focusing on the failed screen, I draw attention to its physical materiality. I make photographic prints of these transient images in order to draw attention to the materiality of the objects from which they come. The photographic print fixes them - makes the transient image still, and serves to emphasize their stubborn physical presence.

Descended from (Modernist) order, now out of order, I present a negotiation of the screen: before and after, in front of and behind, inside and out, as a threshold, or a point of implosion, where these spaces collapse and break down. The work presents a trajectory moving from light toward darkness: screens reflecting light with ghostly apparitions of floating bodies fixed forever within screen-space (TVs from Craigslist ); screens with imageless signals emitting an eerie light that seem to hum or hiss but have no voice (Signals Still ); broken lcds were internal light is emitted through its unruly liquid chemical flow; screens from computer monitors with arrows drawn in-screen articulating where the surface flaw is, the seller’s the hand embedded - a cipher of its former floating ghost; screens so compromised that no light is emitted at all, dark, cracked or peeling, the light that illuminates these screens is the flash from the seller’s camera.

I title all the work in this project with the name of the original file, for example: “axedamage.jpg”, “left-side-works.jpg”, “image_0-03.jpg”, “$_57-2.jpg”, “somepartswork.jpg”, “walmart_cave_in.jpg”, “z$(KGrHqJ,!o4FDOHHfh6qBRGm!ILOuw~~60_57-1.jpg”
 
 

Broken Sets (eBay), 2011
Chromogenic print on metallic paper
Each 20 x 30 in
Installation, Les Recontres d'Arles, Discovery Award Nominee Exhibition, 2011
 
 


 
 


Installation at MoMA PS1, 2009
 
 


 
 


 
 


Installation of Penelope Umbrico: Future Perfect, Milwaukee Art Museum, 2016
 
 


Installation of Penelope Umbrico: Future Perfect, Milwaukee Art Museum, 2016
 
 


Installation of Penelope Umbrico: Future Perfect, Milwaukee Art Museum, 2016
 
 

 


Bad Display, 2009-ongoing
Chromogenic print
Each 20 x 30 in
 
 


Installation, Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles, 2016
 
 


Installation, Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles, 2016
 
 


Installation, Photoforum Pasquart, Biel Bienne, Switzerland, 2016
 
 


Installation, Photoforum Pasquart, Biel Bienne, Switzerland, 2016
 
 


Installation, former Pfizer factory in Bushwick Brooklyn, 2016
 
 

Out of Order: Bad Display, published by RV Books and Photoforum Pasquart, 2016

The book, Out of Order: Bad Display uses an offset printing press to reproduce these ephemeral images of the broken LCD screens from the web in a final presentation. The book is printed at 150% ink density throughout, making the ink impossible to control. Some signatures are messy and fluid, others ghostly and dry. Though the books use the same image plates, all the color and composition of the original images are compromised. Undermining of the precision of the press and the slick-ness of the screen, I call attention to the material messiness of both. The intervention expresses the particularity of these objects judged useless and renders each copy of the book unique.

The unbound form of book further subverts the idea of a clean readable screen, as well as the typically accepted structure of a book. The images are laid out as full spreads on single pages and then folded into the book - if you want to see the entire image of a screen you need to take the book apart; if you keep the book together then the images of the screens are broken up. Here the organizational logics of the book and the screen are destabilized, requiring incompatible maneuvers to view one or the other.

Click here for more information
 
 


  

 


Same spread in four different books