Monday, 20 December 2010

"Casual GIF Theory"

Been thinking about GIFs lately with all the recent articles (trying to get my thoughts in order before trying to express them). Seems to be happening to others as well. Namely, Tom Moody's discussion with John Michael Boling on the subtleties of the animated GIF, which has been missing in mainstream writing.

Is this the advent of GIF theory?

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Dreaming About Real Life

I had a weird dream this morning about dump.

I was visiting home in Toronto and heard of a dump gathering in New York and decided to come along as it was (relatively) close by. The meet was not so much a social gathering but an internet cafe (or more like a school computer lab) full of dumpers dumping. You could get up and chat, or use a headset to join in live voice chat.

For some reason, I made myself a wig and beard (including uni-brow) out of pine needles. I took the brow and beard off pretty early on, though (it was very uncomfortable), and kept the wig.

I did end up chatting to a couple dumpers, mostly idle chit chat, nothing particularly interesting, and I can't remember what it was about. I finally took my "wig" off towards the end of the conversation — I showed it off, it was nice and soft, like a fleece cap.

There doesn't seem to be any point to it, but it was very vivid and the image of the pine face wig really stuck with me.

With all the recent IRL manifestations of dump — recent exhibitions, projects by other dumpers, and even a Secret Santa — participation (or lack thereof) has been at the forefront of my mind.

The internet allows for (a level of) anonymity and, with that, a lack of responsibility. Bringing it into real life takes away that security.

Could this dream just be an expression of my social-media-anxiety?

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I thought I was being really clever, but then nobody faved it.

*edit* Sneaky Tripod place holders #imanoob


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Altar Definition Altar

Even better altar definition altar (Woah! Text altar!) by andrej which I faved ages ago on Dump and unfortunately fled my mind upon posting (thanks for the comment).

Also see Tom Moody's recent post which features this digital altar and also a physical altar (of altars) andrej made for the recent Dump IRL show in NYC.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Spiritual Internet: Dump Altars

Tom Moody, 2010

I think the above dump is the closest to a definition of what a dump altar is. Basically a triptych (or more-tych) which combines a central image propped up by peripheral pillars that will act to emphasise the central image as an object of worship (usually ironic) or will play with the central image to create a visual pun or joke (or at least, that's how I interpret it).

To give you an idea just how popular it is as a dump format, take a look at which is updated any time a combo is dumped that follows the format.

I haven't dumped many altars during my sporadic visits to the site, I tend to go for the single image posts or duos -

(post written after a reminder brought to you by Tom Moody's recent interview about animated gifs and dump)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Spiritual Internet: Cathedral 3

Cathedral 3, Duncan Alexander (2010)

Short aside, finally saw Gerhart Richter's stained glass window in Cologne Cathedral. Happened to have a short change-over at Koln HBF and wanted to take a look. It was as awesome as I'd hoped.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Best Use of Mortal Kombat GIFs

Chariots of Mortal Kombat Fire (seecoy, 2007)

Nightwolf Beach Party Vacay (noisia, 2010)

Introducing Nightwolf Again (noisia, 2010)

Rockin' Back in MK3 (Scott Mathews, 2010)

Cyrax Falling (Jasper Elings, 2010)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

New Age Default: Weekend


So I went to the weekend opening last night at New Gallery London in Camberwell. The exhibition is one part of the short series New Age Default curated by Ben Vickers.

I was curious to see how the exhibition was going to be laid out, because how do you exhibit a live chat stream slash image dump? I guess Ryder saved everybody that problem with dump fullscreen, and it was pretty nice to see a bunch of random supersized gifs projected on the wall, though you do miss out on the multi-image combos. In addition, there were two computers signed in as NuGallery1 and NuGallery2 for in-gallery anonymous dumping, an image dumping webcam known as DumpBooth and a hotdog under a pillow (part of a series called Adding to the Internet by Justin Kemp)

(left: folks enjoying dump, right: DumpBooth)

It was kind of interesting dumping in a different environment. I usually have a hard time keeping my concentration up while dumping because it usually happens at night after having worked all day. When you consider how low your attention span needs to be* to keep up with the incessant chat and imagery - not to mention the fact that I'm sitting on a lumpy couch with a slow laptop burning my legs while I do this - you might not be able to keep your energy levels up for very long, so brighter lights, louder music, cold beer and a bunch of hipsters leaping in front of a webcam behind you can made for some exciting (anonymous) dumping.

* [EDIT] This sounds really derogatory, but I mean it in the most positive way. TV and the internet are always accused of lowering people's attention spans, but I think that's what makes everybody capable of taking in so much information at once. I'm just saying that I'm not fast enough for dump.

(left: dump by jeeeelings, right: dump by noisia)

It was good to see dump being exhibited. Mostly because it's only exhibit-able as an interactive piece (art gallery as internet cafe) and so doesn't lose what makes dump so amazing, but also because, for some reason, internet based work and new media just isn't that popular in London. It's been going gangbusters in New York, Toronto, and even Berlin, but doesn't have the audience here. I briefly chatted with Ben, and he's got a bunch of plans in the works to help change that, so I'll try and keep in the loop to support any future projects (and by support, I mean go to).

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Oh god, yes!

From TheInternetArtist on Memegenerator, via loads of folks on the internet.

This one strikes a cord.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Another day sick, Another day browsing.

I came across this exhibition idea I had that I haven't thought about for a while. I shared it in the comments of the (now abandoned) group blog we set up for the MA collaborative project over a year ago now:
I’ve had this fantasy exhibition in mind for a little while now: a small gallery packed with ceramic objects on white plinths – so close together that when viewers come to maneuver through the gallery they can’t help but brush up against, and ultimately knock over, the unstable and highly breakable objects. There would be no security to “prevent” people from touching things, and big bags would be more than welcome within the space. The only problem I can see, though (beyond the fact that people would catch on to the “joke” if the exhibition went on for more than a day), would be with health and safety.
I'm sure there could be a really elaborate rational about boundaries, expectations and the preciousness of art, but I just thought it was funny.

Monday, 30 August 2010


Was going to dump this yesterday but got bored doing it. Finished it today. It was maybe worth the effort.

Dog tunnel gif dumped by AGT528, Sonja gif from the internet.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Revisiting the "sub-amateur"

Tom Moody made a few comments after my post on the sub-amateur where he gets a bit more into the actual nitty gritty of what it means to introduce and apply a term like "sub-amateur" (and doing so across disciplines, which doesn't always work). The term is indeed somewhat unnecessary — especially with net art where the internet acts not only as inspiration, medium and platform, but also as distributor and equalizer — and, as Moody pointed out, it does confuse (or at least needlessly complicate) the simplification brought about by Duncan Alexander's text.

I have to admit, as someone who floats along the surface, I'm often misinterpreting and getting confused on the topic, which isn't helped by my tendency to re-appropriate ideas and terms in ways that work for me. "Sub-amateur" got me excited because that's where I saw myself - as somebody who isn't an artist and who doesn't want to be taken seriously, but has a bit of a background and just wants to explore, discover and maybe even create.

Basically, net art is my hobby, and I get the impression that this is true for a lot of people (though I'm sure nobody would snub a gallery or group exhibition invite), and though we are not "serious" (chilling for the sake of chilling), we do still engage, develop interesting ideas and, in turn, produce quite a lot of stuff. It could be therefore reasonable to be considered as a "category" (maybe a sub-category of the amateur?) within the net art "scene." Because, although the work might not be produced as "serious work," it is still worth looking at and at times even contemplating seriously. However, because it was never really intended to be a "work of art" per se, you will find a different, perhaps more casual (I'm tempted to say disinterested, but the term is too loaded to throw around so, erm, casually), approach to subject matter. What that different "attitude" or approach is, I have no idea, and maybe I'm needlessly picking at the fly shit, but that's only because I'm in no way qualified to get into it.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Animated gif saved on delicious. Don't know where from.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Surf Camp: An Amateur-ish Essay on the Sub-Amateur


There's been a bit of discussion taking place recently about the two camps of net art, where the "insider" and "outsider" sit within these camps, and how chill time plays a role within this construct.

Duncan Alexander's categories are (briefly):
Camp 1 which is more caught up in the art historical context. "The net is their vehicle for dissemination, and they stand out from the online flow. Rarely do these works link outside of themselves; if hypertext is involved, it is internal to the site."

Camp 2 which bases itself more within the "net historical" context. "What matters in camp two's work - or what is emphasized by the artists - is not so much the individual artwork as the artist's oeuvre and net presence."
So camp 1's work tends to be a bit tighter, and can stand on its own as art when presented "outside" of the net. Whereas camp 2's work thrives in the net context, and often loses meaning or relevance once removed from it's place of inception, which tends to usually be the surf club, tumblr or (that's not to say these works won't be presented outside of their natural environment, though they'll usually be accompanied by a link back to let you "in" on the joke).

In the comments, Tom Moody likens Alexander's camp 2 to what others have termed as the "amateur and sub-amateur". The amateur is self taught, they create for the love of the craft or art and, motivated by this love, will develop their skills and technical know-how to better express their vision. The sub-amateur is also self taught, but to a point. They are more interested in the subject matter and therefore will often resort to (if not seek out)"defaults", or pre-determined settings found in the instrument or programme of choice.

Here is Gutherie Lonergan's handy table differentiating between the "Hacker" and "Default" approaches to net art to break up the text.

This all seems to suggest that the current string of net art all falls under the "amateur" tag, which I think is only because the "pro" group is still being groomed, if they aren't already emerging from the art school new media and computer art BFAs and MFAs that have been popping up over the last 5 or more years (my alma mater started a computer art course in 2006/7, before I even had a clue). In either case, we still have amateurs that are well entrenched in the art world, with many art school trained artists repeatedly popping up in gallery based animated gif exhibitions throughout the world. So, moving back to the beginning, the amateur is in no way the outsider when it comes to the artworld.

But what about the sub-amateur's relationship to the established artworld? What about those surfing dudes and dudettes that make shitty (not meant as a derogatory term) gifs and take part in the online chatter but don't exhibit, or plan to exhibit, beyond their own tumblr blogs? The actual "slackers of the art world"?

The jstchillin manifesto, to me, seems to imply the leisure aspect of net art. Both the amateur and sub-amateur take "chill time", but where one will draw from their chill time to produce work, the other chills for the sake of chilling. You could even go as far as saying that the sub-amateur are the ultimate decadents, consuming copious amounts of digital tat without giving any "thing" back beyond online in-jokes that are usually ugly and hard to look at; they are the virtual leisure class (this such a generalization and total contradiction, but I'm saying it anyway because it's dramatic and sounds cool).

The sub-amateur could be seen as the outsider for remaining outside of the gallery and focusing not on the product but on the act of chilling itself, and perhaps they are. As Moody put it:
[...] the term outsider sounds cruel and judgmental and snobby but all it means is "one who makes art heedless of a context larger than one's own computer (or studio, or computer/studio)."
But the sub-amateur is too self aware - of their activity as an aesthetic act and of their position in the history of (net) art - to be the outsider. In fact, the tendency to function as a collective also places them deep within an inside that is constructed by themselves: you had to have been there to understand why I put this seemingly random face on this other seemingly random body and captioned it with this bit of nonsensical text, but trust me it's terribly clever and funny as fuck.

The unique thing about chill time, though, is that, unlike most other leisure activities (I'm going to ignore the possible can of worms that is craft), there are plenty of byproducts and documentation that come out of it, which are the blog posts, collections, mash-ups, and even archived discussion. Even if the product isn't the point, it will still spread around the internet as people try to latch on to it by reblogging or further deconstructing the information to make something new. Authorship can definitely become an issue, and if you're that interested in the credit you can rest assured that infamy and an audience can still follow. Alternatively, you can also just sit back, chill and revel in the satisfaction of seeing something you didn't put that much effort into make the rounds across the net or, better yet, go viral.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Enlarged, simplified and slightly cropped broccoli gif.

Anigifs of Fruit and Veg MRI Scans

Some really nice gifs on this blog that I came across via Yay Hooray.

Some are eerie and very organic (in the sense that they look like organs) while others are really entertaining and surprising. I especially enjoy the corn and watermelon. Who knew that the seeds grew in spirals within the melon? I did not.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Mega Hoser Anigif

I don't know who made this, I came across it on the Animated GIFs from Delicious rss.

The stereotypes are kind of endearing when you've lived away from home for a while.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Greenman is Green


Recent dump, with some timing adjustment.