tom moody

Highbrow Kitsch

Atlantic blogger Rebecca Greenfield has just discovered "highbrow" animated GIFs - of a supermodel with hair blowing in the breeze!

Thanks for the shoutout from pdsc in the comments:

Haha, this article is such a joke. Head to Dump.fm, computersclub.org, Tommoody.us, or Rhizome.org to see what is actually happening with the animated gif as an 'artistic' file format. As @Wakest mentioned, the animated gif has been used for many years now in netart, and before being recognized as 'high brow' was a form of folk art. Jamie Beck's work is way too close to limited motion video loops to really be 'groundbreaking' in the art world.

"Animated photography" using GIF loops has the smell of novelty, a la the "solid photography" of yesteryear (sculptures based on photos taken from multiple angles), holograms, or even stereograms that aspire to classical (that is, ordinary) beauty. The point of freezing the fleeting perfection of the human form is rather blown when a part of the icon wiggles.

Not to say a good artist couldn't make something of this, but Jamie Beck's work is unintentionally funny, like a lenticular Jesus nodding at his Last Supper compatriots as you move a postcard back and forth.

Update: DS notes that the tumblr post of fashion model Coca Rocha announcing these "artistic" GIFs has over 10,000 "notes." Let's add that and the Atlantic post to the list of recent mass media "discoveries" of GIFs. We seem to be at a tipping point now where people who are concerned with "art" or "net art" have to deal with the fact that GIFs have broken through, despite never actually having gone away. What has been for the last few years an uphill battle to educate will change tack to a slightly apologetic, "yeah, well, heh, I use them in a slightly different way."

- tom moody

April 17th, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Posted in general