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Fortress America Light Recordings (2007)

Edition of 20 (signed and numbered)


When I was a kid, I would save my paper route money to buy retail boxes of packs of basketball cards. This always bothered my dad, who insisted that that I instead buy a complete set of the cards. The set was usually around the same price, and in his thinking, would in one fell swoop remove the need to purchase another pack of cards that year. Buy the set, have them all, be done with it.


More than mere archival possession, I was always more interested in the anticipation of opening each pack of cards. The exciting chance that a rare rookie might be inside, or a coveted chase card, or a rare error card The ritualistic ceremony of anticipation, hope, and acceptance of fate is much like a lottery scratch game for kids. You spend 5 dollars knowing that you could very well end up with a handful of Mark Eatons or Pooh Richardsons. But every once in a while you get a Billy Ripken error and everything is magic. I also loved keeping pristine, unopened packs in store for a rainy day. Just knowing there was that potential golden ticket possibly waiting in there was better than anything that could have been inside.


I was looking to find a way to share a collection of photographs in way that was fun, encouraged interaction, and was both unique and reproducible. The photos in question were not really thematically or compositionally unified, so I wanted to make a way that they were all officially part of a set. That said, I wanted the allocation of the cards to feel somehow random and unique. Finally, I wanted to find a way to force people to interact with the collection. To see the content of the piece, people would have damage or destroy parts of it, and in doing so alter it permanently.


The boxes, packs, certificates, and letters were printed at a copy shop and I cut and scored and folded and glued them all. The photos were ordered online and hand cut to size. The gum was purchased and rebranded with custom wrappers.


Each set included:

A hand-cut-and-assembled presentation box (initialed and numbered)

6 packs each containing 13 photographs (78 total) a stick of custom gum, and a segment of a photo puzzle

6 pack wrappers, each with a different, genuine offer for additional FALR merchandise, such as coffee mugs, enlargements, t-shirts, and companion albums

A Letter from the Editor

A Certificate of Authenticity (signed and numbered)

A checklist to manage the collection (This checklist simply read Untitled 78 times, which I thought was funny)

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