The internet is for surfing, not printing.
      ___           ___
     /\__\         /\  \
    /::|  |       /::\  \
   /:|:|  |      /:/\:\  \
  /:/|:|  |__   /:/  \:\  \
 /:/ |:| /\__\ /:/__/ \:\__\
 \/__|:|/:/  / \:\  \ /:/  /
     |:/:/  /   \:\  /:/  /
     |::/  /     \:\/:/  /
     /:/  /       \::/  /
     \/__/         \/__/
      ___           ___                       ___           ___
     /\  \         /\  \          ___        /\__\         /\  \
    /::\  \       /::\  \        /\  \      /::|  |        \:\  \
   /:/\:\  \     /:/\:\  \       \:\  \    /:|:|  |         \:\  \
  /::\~\:\  \   /::\~\:\  \      /::\__\  /:/|:|  |__       /::\  \
 /:/\:\ \:\__\ /:/\:\ \:\__\  __/:/\/__/ /:/ |:| /\__\     /:/\:\__\
 \/__\:\/:/  / \/_|::\/:/  / /\/:/  /    \/__|:|/:/  /    /:/  \/__/
      \::/  /     |:|::/  /  \::/__/         |:/:/  /    /:/  /
       \/__/      |:|\/__/    \:\__\         |::/  /     \/__/
                  |:|  |       \/__/         /:/  /
                   \|__|                     \/__/
      ___           ___       ___
     /\  \         /\__\     /\__\
    /::\  \       /:/  /    /:/  /
   /:/\:\  \     /:/  /    /:/  /
  /::\~\:\  \   /:/  /    /:/  /
 /:/\:\ \:\__\ /:/__/    /:/__/
 \/__\:\/:/  / \:\  \    \:\  \
      \::/  /   \:\  \    \:\  \
      /:/  /     \:\  \    \:\  \
     /:/  /       \:\__\    \:\__\
     \/__/         \/__/     \/__/
      ___           ___           ___
     /\__\         /\  \         /\  \
    /::|  |       /::\  \        \:\  \
   /:|:|  |      /:/\:\  \        \:\  \
  /:/|:|  |__   /::\~\:\  \       /::\  \
 /:/ |:| /\__\ /:/\:\ \:\__\     /:/\:\__\
 \/__|:|/:/  / \:\~\:\ \/__/    /:/  \/__/
     |:/:/  /   \:\ \:\__\     /:/  /
     |::/  /     \:\ \/__/     \/__/
     /:/  /       \:\__\
     \/__/         \/__/                                            
NET ART
ANTHOLOGY

Sister Unn’s

Bunny Rogers & Filip Olszewski

2011 - 2012

In autumn 2011, an enigmatic flower shop appeared without prior announcement on a well-to-do shopping street in Queens. It never opened to the public, but passersby would peer through the window at the lines of drying flowers that lined its shelves, and the single rose encased in a block of ice in an illuminated freezer; occasionally, they would leave flowers. Curious about the store, they might seek it out online, where they would find an equally mysterious website that dedicated an animated rose to each visitor.

Drawing its title from characters in The Ice Palace, a 1963 Norwegian novel that explores a community’s process of mourning, the work offered parallel, linked sites for the processing and sublimation of trauma and grief, online and off.


Screenshot, 2018, Firefox 63 on Linux.

Visit sister-unns.com

Visit installation at the New Museum as part of “The Art Happens Here: Net Art’s Archival Poetics

“We hope that our roses/ribbons/advice/conversations/etc. helped you cope during the saddest times of your life such as funerals and illness and we hope that we made you happy during the best times of your life such as weddings, newborn babies and proms.” — Sister Unn’s

Read an interview with the artists

Sister Unn’s was a mysterious abandoned flower shop with handcrafted vases of wilted, brittle roses trimmed with black ribbon, scattered across white shelves.

The storefront awning read “Sister Unn’s,” and the interior was lit only by a glowing freezer, emptied of everything but a lavender rose preserved in a block of ice.


Hook rug by Karen Maddox.

Passersby who—perhaps struck by the store’s elegiac quality—searched for it online found an equally enigmatic website, which is still online.

At sister-unns.com, each visitor is presented with their own pixel-art flower icon in a “Rose Gallery,” a gridded display that counts over four thousand blooms to date.

Referencing anonymous gifts left at a graveside or vigil, the site is also curiously game-like: the existence of more and less common flowers (most common is light purple, whfilripile glittering transparent roses are rare) makes each visit feel like rolling a die.

“The fact that people couldn’t enter made it a diorama, it flattened it. In a way, it was like a real life Neopets gallery.” —Bunny Rogers

The installation generated interest in the community, prompting people to post inquiries about the store on blogs and social media.


From Edge of the City: A Forest Hills, NYC Blog. Screenshot (detail), 2019, Google Chrome v71 on Mac OS 10.12.


From Edge of the City: A Forest Hills, NYC Blog. Screenshot (detail), 2019, Google Chrome v71 on Mac OS 10.12.

As winter came to a close, so did the project. A farewell letter was posted on Sister-Unns.com, and a For Rent sign appeared outside the store; an online clothing boutique moved in, then a vape shop, and then another. The city’s churn had reclaimed the shop that was frozen in time.

“In many ways it’s the end of an era. This store is all we’ve ever known.” — Sister Unn’s


Ice sculpture by Okamoto Studio.