What I have learnt from my Summer Project was an interest in internet art, and its relevancy to myself as an illustrator, the next inevitable step for me would be to look at GIF’s. They are known worldwide as an extremely popular, internet art based form of image making. I also found an interest in social media, and I think its important to recognise these two things working together. My lecture series have also taught me so far to firstly, pick a topic that interests me and can inform my own FMP work, and to explore fully the context of why the artwork exists, in whichever form or material.
We had a library session to help us find work relevant to our dissertation and Chris, our librarian, helped show us how to search terms like GIF, into the database to find all sorts of journals and articles that could inform our research, one of the few articles I found in the database that held an incredibly strong relevance to my ideas so far was ‘Avant-GIFs: turning online animations into high art’ by Jesse Walker.
The internet holds home to databases full of millions of GIF’s but some artists work are regarded more highly than others. Walker believes that the popularity of this online shared format is helped by the fact that it allows photographers and animators to craft a moment of time, as a continuum rather than make a story. (Walker 2014)
The noticeable thing about the GIF, is not only that it works as a continuing loop but Walker considers the fact that, “As a technology, these have existed since 1987, but they’ve only just recently exploded in popularity, as mass access to the Internet allowed them to travel rapidly and virally online.” This is really helpful to my research and allows me to understand that GIF’s are a critical part to learning to understand about GIF art. He recognises that the GIF is incredibly popular which suggests that almost everyone makes them or uses them, whether they are an artist or not. But what Walker does to continue to explore is the fact that artists are making them too – “photographers who want to introduce motion to their images, animators more interested in crafting a moment than telling an extended story, cartoonists who’d like to let some of their panels move, collagists delighted to have an extra dimension to play with” Walker, 2014. Again I can learn that just because it’s incredibly popular, and arguable, overdone, he reminds me that artists are still utilising it for important reasons whether its to simply add another dimension to play with or something else. By Walker presenting Milos Rajovik (AKA Sholim) in his article I can consider other important factors as to why artists consider using GIF’s in their work, and the context behind it, through the analysis of his work.
Man on the box (2014)
GIF art posted on the social network tumblr, an image being made available on social media using recognisable imagery of the famous chain Mc Donalds. Shown in a mocking manner reflecting the waste they produce. haven’t actually used the golden M logo, but shows how popular the brand colours, mascot and packaging is that it is not needed at all. The mascot has been made to look like patriarchal, and seems to have religious connotation showing the power and influence fo the company. however by using the animation of the flies reminds us and brings attention to the matter in hand, the waste produced by the company. A simple addition mad eo the piece of work, but could not have made the same impact if printed and hung in a galley, exists on a digital platform to use animation and released on a blogging platform to be able to be shared, a website which is in particular majoratively used by the younger generation, a generation that can make a difference about the issue addressed.
Career – 2013
the way the subject is dressed and style of hair suggests the man in the image is a typical business man. the image mocks this while collared worker by referring to them as empty shells and repeats of each other. it is done using an empty head to mock them again by saying they have no brains, they are all just a long line of ‘copycats’. nothing changes in their appearance. also reminds me of the fact everyone is replaceable, but perhaps in this case the business man is always replaceable. the fact that this is a moving gif adds to the artists’ point as it is a moving, on going thing, a constant cycle of the same people in business. if it were a static image it may not of shown how quickly;y they replace each other or allowed you to understand the points behind this piece of work, they need to spin purposefully forever.
Erdal Inci – The clones project.
Walker also presents to us a very different style of GIF art, a turkish artists called Erdal Inci, I found a statement by him summarising his work, but unfortunately with no original source, but is used widely in articles written about him, He states: “I realized that if you clone a recorded performance contiguously it will become perpetual. So that you can see all the time phases of the same performance in a small amount of time like 1 or 2 seconds. This gives you the chance of thinking like a choreographer with a mass crew or painter who fills its frame not in forms and colour but motion. At this point I could tell I am inspired by patterns in traditional arts & crafts , dance and repetition. Motion, performance and real environments are the outlines of the work.”
In an email written to the Huffington Post he also stated that his “main aim is to find and shoot an interesting motion and clone that motion several times to turn it into a pattern, so the viewer can watch all the time phases in a small amount of time — like 1 or 2 seconds. Repetition and loops amaze me, so I love GIFs.”
From both of these statements by the artists I can learn that, in contrast to Sholim’s work which is heavily designed on subject and context of the imagery used and the artwork shared, Inci’s work is far more focused on the aesthetic and understanding of the patterns that can be created. In addition to this the change of dimension, distorts what we typically think we expect to see in a photograph. It’s a series so rather thana singular art piece it becomes more of a dataset, a collection of experiments. They are all dressed in black, contrasts well with the background, focus remains on the people. A focus on motion can sometimes be difficult to portray in a still, but this captures it beautifully. The repetition means it starts to form a pattern rather than a documentation.
In conclusion by starting my research with Walker’s article I already feel I have a start in understanding why GIF’s are popularly used by artists and why the boom is recent and according to the new widespread availability of the internet. I also find it interesting that the only was I was able to view these artists work was through the medium of the internet, and the people who blog about their work or their websites. The subject of the GIF seems like a really weighty place to start my research and will continue to look into it and its association with the boom of the internet.
iGNANT. (2014). Clones Project by Erdal Inci. Available: http://www.ignant.de/2014/08/01/clones-project-by-erdal-inci/. Last accessed 4th November 2014.
Milos Rajovic . (unknown). n/a. Available: milosrajkovic.tumblr.com. Last accessed 4th November 2014.
J, Walker. (2014). Avant-GIFs: turning online animations into high art. Reason magazine . 46 (2), p 76.