Range: Of Swiss Fort Knox (50 Generative Photographs)

Assembly presents "Range: Of Swiss Fort Knox" by Penelope Umbrico. Building on her Range series, this collection was made specifically for the blockchain and focuses on Swiss Fort Knox, an underground data center in the Swiss Alps that provides "long-term access to our digital cultural and scientific assets." After sourcing internet images tagged “Swiss Fort Knox,” she photographs the images on the screen with her iPhone, processing them through the camera app filters that simulate “mistakes” of analogue photography. Hallucinogenic colors blend with disorienting effects of the device’s gravity sensor to dislodge any perception of stability in the mountain, the data center, and the photographic medium. The data center (a contemporary cultural repository) melds with the supposed stability of the mountain range (one of the oldest sites of spiritual contemplation) and is destabilized through the generative changes of each iteration, yet now remains fixed in time through the blockchain.


Penelope Umbrico’s work utilizes the internet as an expansive archive to explore the production and consumption of images. Her work navigates between producer and consumer, local and global, the individual and the collective, with attention to the technologies that are produced by (and produce) these forces. Umbrico’s work has been exhibited at MoMA PS1, NY; Museum of Modern Art, NY; MassMoCA, MA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Milwaukee Art Museum, WI; Art Museum Gosta, Finland; Foto Colectania, Barcelona, Spain; The Photographers’ Gallery, London; Daegu Photography Biennale, Korea; Pingyao International Photography Festival, China; Kunstverein Ludwigshafen, Germany; Rencontres d’Arles, France; and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane Australia among many others. Umbrico is represented in museum collections around the world. She has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship; Sharpe-Walentas Studio Grant; Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship; New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship; Anonymous Was a Woman Award. Her monographs have been published by Aperture NYC and RVB Books Paris.