Books To Be Desired: Penelope Umbrico’s Private Residence

How many unsolicited home improvement magazines arrive in your mailbox?

I would guess these companies have figured out how many one home should receive to maintain the cultural desire needed for them to succeed; just enough to keep you thinking that your lacking something or in need of something.

In Private Residence Umbirico re-photographs selected details of the images contained in these magazines to explore the “fictional narratives found in the images of idealized rooms,” she is interested in “how corporations construct publicly accessible “private” spaces in media – and how this works to produce desire, and the illusion of control, agency and individuality.”

Her preferred image detail is the book. She extracts the book detail from these idealized rooms and transforms them into a collage of vacancy. There are no readers in this world, there is no transmission of knowledge. Our beloved books are merely props and pedestals. They are all dressed up yet utterly alone, no one to engage, no one to play with.

Now that should kill your desire.

When you visit her website Umbrico has another related piece worth a look. All Catalogs (A-Z) is “a text piece that is comprised of the names of all the available mail-order catalogs listed on the internet.” There were over 15,000 of them in 2002 when the piece was done.

Also, in the same vain as Private Residence is her Suns From Flickr piece which resulted from the 541,795 pictures of sunsets that came back when searching for the word “sunset” on Flickr.

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