gif interrogation of the day



Started the day today with some comments over at ArtFCity.

First off, a reply to the assertion that a gallery using an animated GIF as a teaser for a video artist is an example of "galleries embracing animated GIFs." The subject matter is the vastly overrated Takeshi Murata -- curators seem to love him but what about the rest of us?

A gallery using a GIF to advertise isn't exactly "embracing the animated GIF." Salon 94 seems quite taken with Murata as a full-spectrum digital animation artist with "innovative and evolving processes rang[ing] from intricate hand-drawn animations to installations accenting the defects and broken codes of film, advertising and pop culture." (Always with the codes -- surely that stuff's been thoroughly decoded by now.) GIFs aren't mentioned in the press materials. The GIF you chose here falls more in the category of "clip from longer video" than anything inherently GIF-like. Murata got known in the new media world for his "datamoshing" style glitch art but by the time he appeared in the New Museum's "Free" show, he was doing bulbous Pixar style animation, which, it must [b]e said, was awkwardly paced and kind of terrible. A rubbery-looking werewolf riding a motorcycle through a wind farm isn't something we especially need to see in the gallery environment -- Disney and Dreamworks have this kind of material covered.


Next, some questions about an abstract animation that appears on a Smartphone -- essentially, is this phone art or GIF art and does it matter?

There might be some questions raised here about the relationship of the phone to the animation. Is the phone part of the GIF or is it an arbitrary static frame for the GIF? Is the "slow, methodical perspectival move back and forth in space" related to "swooping" or "swiping" movements on an Apple smartphone? Would it be possible to view this GIF fullscreen on an actual phone and have it look like this (with or without the viewer's hand movement interacting with it)? Or is this a purely fictional superimposing of an abstract GIF animation that could appear on a PC or other device into the familiar narrow, vertical rectangle of the phone? PC GIFs are often landscape because that's the screen orientation; this one is notably vertical -- is this indicative of a future shift in our animation-viewing habits or is it an arbitrary graft? That sort of thing.

top image: screenshot of animated GIF of video by Takeshi Murata
bottom image: screenshot of animated GIF by Kaja Cxzy Anderson/Fly Delta Tumblr