Joe Milutis Eulogizes Dump.fm

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On Hyperallergic, Joe Milutis discusses the recently-deceased website Dump.fm, in an essay titled In Memory of Dump.fm: An Endlessly Collaborative Image Poem.

Neither an art-world-ish “internet surf club” nor a monetized zeitgeist sump pump, dump seemed to harken back to a pre-1997 internet era, when it was possible to imagine that the users you met online were a small enough cohort to seem communitarian, but not large enough to merely replicate the social structures and hierarchies of the world at large.

Milutis' treatment of the site as a poetic language is appreciated:

Weird fragments, heavy dithering, pieces of images or text floating without context. Inaction gifs as opposed to reaction gifs. The quasi-syntactical combinations of these crappy objects were only possible if participants were more interested in treating the combinations like a language — one for which they would both have to amass the vocabulary and then be willing to speak with it. The rapidity of these combinations allowed for the unexpected, as if Breton’s automatic writing had finally found its imagistic counterpart.

Milutis avoids the political in discussing the Rene Abythe GIF below, except in the sense of dump-vs-tumblr politics and dump's intriguing disconnections with the rest of the world ("real" or online). For the record, it depicts Hillary Clinton's "pointing to the right and the red" logo crudely morphing into the Outback Steakhouse logo. (Electors asked Where's the Beef and gave us Trump.) The geek joke is that that the red arrow, when compressed, becomes a jagged outline resembling that familiar outdoors-y mountain range, helpfully rotated so we can see it.

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GIF Rescue - Angelo Plessas

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Above is the final GIF we'll be rescuing from this GIF-off ladder competition: the humanitarian impulse has flagged along with pageviews, RSS subscribers, and twitter followers as this series has progressed.
Angelo Plessas' Op Art clouds with blinking rainbow "lost" horrifically in the first round after his opponent rallied friends and grandparents to ramp up the vote (OK, likely not true, but we'll never actually know what happened - no hanging chads will be counted). Such an elegant, happy little GIF did not deserve the obscurity. What a lift if this underdog had made it to the final four.

GIF Rescue - Anna Thompson

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Another undeserving also-ran in an ill-considered GIF-off competition.
In his book Untwisting the Serpent, critic Daniel Albright wrote at length on a theory of "gestus," particularly in reference to Brecht/Weill musicals: "A gestus... might be defined as an entity intermediate between a gesture and a narrative; a sort of schematic of a human figure that defines or epitomizes a whole discursive context in which such a contortion might come into play," he ventured.
If we had a theory of GIFs (and we barely do) that would be an important aspect of them to consider: the extent to which they are suited to iconic moments symbolizing a larger story. In the case of Anna Thompson's GIF above, of the three-frame cinema variety, one might well ask what the larger story is. A tale of Brooklyn hipster failed romance set against a background of gentrification. The man is a primal spirit, beating out a tattoo on building sides wherever he goes, but such an airhead. The woman is smarter than that and waves him off, but somehow keeps his nervous energy bottled in a magical hand movement that she can take wherever she goes.
Or whatever. One noteworthy point about this GIF is that while it mimics the pompous style of a cinemagraph, the whole thing is in jerky, spastic motion, adding to the comedy of the arrested romantic development.

GIF Rescue - Tony Luciana

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You have to admire an artist who goes into arena full of noisy chest-thumpers and does something quietly stupid. Possibly Luciana didn't think this thimble-sized animated Mondrian with an illegible signature in the corner was dumb and that's just a critic projecting an ironic view. On its merits, even given that Mondrian parodies are an entry-level fine art joke, there is appeal to watching this one draw itself. Where will this line go? How many more lines? Which squares will be filled in with color? Will balance be preserved? Surely Piet himself, sitting in his studio of austere rigor, asked much the same questions as he was working.

Saved from competitive environment by GIF Rescue Service.