Moo Cards as Found Art
27 Feb 2008
About a year ago, I was introduced to Moo cards on Flickr. It was love at first sight when I received my first free trial pack, a mere 10 cards displaying my images. I needed more. My first full order was simple enough, 100 images with my photo website and Flickr page listed on the back. The Moo cards were perfect as hip business cards that showcased my work but I knew the little cards could do more. My second order was for another 100 cards each displaying a different image from my Flickr photostream with this new message on the back, "You've found a special card. Lucky you. Find my other photos at: www.notaskedback.com and www.flickr.com/photos/epmd." And my project was born. I would leave the cards in random spots throughout my wanderings in DC and wherever else I may travel and document all 100 'drops.'
As a longtime admirer of street art, I saw the Moo cards as my way of adding a 28mm x 70mm piece of art to the world one card at a time. I liked the idea of people finding the cards as they went about the business of their daily lives. I hoped the tiny card could spark a smile as someone waited for the metro, pumped their gas, stood in line, or even just at the idea of having found something as though it were left just for them. I have returned to spots to find cards still unfound and this delights me in another way altogether because I know that my photos, albeit in a very tiny form, are out there living in the world.
I document each card when I leave it and post the photo of the 'dropped' card on my Flickr page. The project has spurred many comments over the past year. A very common response is something along the lines of 'I wish I'd found that or can you leave a card in Tulsa.' Others comment on how apropos an image is in its new surroundings, i.e. a photo of a bike at a gas pump. Some people ask for clues to the next drop spot or whether it's ok if they duplicate the idea. This last question is always met with an enthusiastic YES because I would love to be the one to find someone else's work. Yet, the most oft repeated inquiry is whether I have ever heard from someone who found a card.
I know of only two people who have actually found my cards. Friends found one of the most obvious I've 'dropped'- a photo of a NYC street scene left with the abominable snowman figure living in their freezer. The other was much more surprising. As I was speaking with a friend and another random Flickr'er at the 24 Hours of Flickr book release in NYC, the person I didn't know pulled out one of my cards and asked if we knew anything about it. We all had a good chuckle over the incredible coincidence and I explained my project. I am certain others have been found because they are no longer where I left them - were they simply pocketed with a grin or has the finder actually ventured to my website or Flickr page to see more? There is no way of knowing what's become of the 97 cards I've 'dropped' in DC, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Georgia, and North Carolina. Keep your eyes peeled for the art that is all around you and if it happens to be in the form of a little Moo card- it just might be mine because I've got three cards to go.