Sum of its Parts - Zeph Fishlyn

Sum of its Parts crowd-sources an unpredictable document of a specific time and place. In its first iteration, two disposable cameras were released into the crowd at San Francisco’s Dyke March in June 2019. Each camera was attached to a self-addressed stamped mailer with a pencil, instructions, and a series of prompts or “photo captions.” Each person picked a prompt, snapped a picture related to that prompt, wrote the shot number next to the prompt, and passed the camera on to someone else. Due to inconsistencies in the camera itself and in people’s interpretations of the directions, the final correlation of “photo captions” to images is a speculative endeavor, but the resulting image is an exuberant collection of queer portraiture made for an unknown audience.

For Gender Euphoria, we invite online contributions of words describing future genders, which we will remix into three-word photo prompts. Please contribute prompts by Monday, June 29 in order to have them included in the project.

We will create five porch-pickup locations around Portland, each with a disposable camera and set of prompts. Participants travel to a station, pick up the supplies, then choose one prompt as inspiration to snap a photographic fragment or glimpse of a future gender. This photo does not need to be of a human, or of anything literal. Then, they return the camera to its station for the next person’s use. Stations will be in action from July 9 through August 9. We will develop each camera and share the collaboratively-created contact sheet in the Gender Euphoria virtual exhibition.

By putting both visual responses and photo captions into the hands of strangers, Sum of its Parts exercises the collective imagination and a trust in irrational convergences to open up possibilities in trying times. 

Continue checking this page for more information on opportunities to participate in the Sum of its Parts project!