title unknown ("b")


animated GIF by 82times

82times has some programming chops and makes many of his GIFs with command line software, from what I've observed/overheard on dump. Not sure how this one was done but it looks like someone else's image(s) were significantly reduced. The suggestion of a photo-negative plate and badly-scrubbed data intrigues; at the same time there is a fair amount of information and movement here for a mere 41 KB GIF. And that greyed down mauve is to die for, as they say. Unlike many artists with tech savvy, 82times does not put out a press release with every image announcing his mad skillz. His understatement and willingness to play around, try things out, and change tone and style is much appreciated.

"Data for Trinkets"

"Data for Trinkets" [2.9 MB .mp3]

Am finally starting to write my own patches for the Sidstation synth, a piece of gear based on the Commodore PC sound chip from the '80s. The rhythm is an analog kick coming into the Sid's external audio port, treated by a filter with two or three LFOs working on it, pulling it slightly in and out of tune (and step). The main melody is three oscillators tuned to make a chord, also with filtering and LFOs (I don't remember if the latter are working independently or on all three OSCs--in any case they are synced to the beat and not individual notes, producing a kind of wonky warble on sustained notes). The percussion is also all Sid--one factory patch and two of mine. Very noisy background, that's what one of the "charms" of the chip, as the manufacturers say.

"Modular Medley (Part 1 Only)"

"Modular Medley (Part 1 Only)" [4.5 MB .mp3]

Decided to post this two minute song as a stand-alone piece. Repeating what I wrote about it earlier:

Am continuing to explore using MIDI to control the Mutator filter (my one piece of vintage '90s gear).
About forty seconds into [this] you can hear mirror image patterns written in the pitchbend controller grids of Cubase--one pattern for the left channel and one for the right, so there is an antiphonal effect. The sequences are "carving" pitch information out of a sustained synth note played into the filter's external audio input (and split by the filter into stereo channels). Pitched down an octave it reminds me of the eerie tuned drum bass note Goblin uses on the Suspiria soundtrack--it's instantly recognizable if you know the movie.

The intro and ending are done with the Modular-Mini 2 Reaktor instrument.

interactivity online and off

This is a snippet from a longer comment by Sally McKay, hopefully it's OK to take out of context:

Something I like about so-called remix culture is that participants are artists & viewers at the same time, so the artworld hierarchies and power structures carry way less weight. Unlike relational aesthetics projects in art galleries — where the participants basically just provide the anonymous person-power to manifest the famous artist's idea — GIFs exist in a culture with different stakes, where authorship is not always an important contextual feature. Sometimes authorship is important, especially when GIF artists build up an oeuvre, and that's cool too. Because the same GIF can live in multiple online contexts (forums, blogs, artists' archival pages, etc), the whole practice is nice and fluid.

m.river, responding to another aspect of McKay's comment (that his work was "techno-utopian"--read the whole thread), says that, in making a particular artwork in the late '90s, he had an "...interest in the ability for people to exchange/ share/ modify/ delete an artwork within a network environment. It was a way to say that an internet, or any digital artwork for that matter, could be an active rather than passive object. It was, and is, about a relation of active viewers and active artist."

In an email, Michael Manning says that he doesn't necessarily agree with

the argument that in 1997 networked art really worked in a remix culture fashion. Perhaps images were transferred and could be modified, however most classic net.art is pretty passive in the sense [that] although you may be interacting with the site or work (say Shulgin's 'Form Art'), the user isn't really creating anything as they experience it and if they are, the terms of that creation are dictated by the original artist instead of you posting a GIF to dump then me saving it and doing whatever I want with it. I guess some of the BBSs and some of Bunting's stuff had participation, but it was still under the guise of some type of pre-decided control put in place by the artist, again not really collapsing producer/viewer all that much. Almost like web based version of gallery relational aesthetics.

GIF appeal hashed out

After much shouting and name-calling (mostly with me on the receiving end, sorry to say), Will Brand has revised this statement:

The preference for GIF as a medium, it seems to me, has nothing to do whatsoever with its compression algorithms, a teensy bit to do with the retro appeal of a limited color palette, and a whole lot to do with the fact that - as the very existence of your remix culture indicates - it's so easily interchanged.

He now understands that many artists prefer GIFs for their funky compression algorithms (what John Michael Boling called "the elegance in an appropriately used dither"), the minimal, de stijl-like appeal of a limited color palette (whether or not it is retro), and somewhere further down the list, ease of remixing (since, after all, the first attempts at "art" GIFs existed long before a SocMed "remix culture").

It was rough, but I finally got him to publicly agree with me.

Update, July 2011:
This is an ironic post. I don't think I would ever say that someone "publicly agrees with me"--it has a bit too much of a "smell the glove" ring to it. Nor does WB actually agree with me--he still maintains that interchange trumps graphics in the GIF acronym. Was just inverting his words out of annoyance with the linked-to post.