Thursday, 15 May 2008

Anigifs as Art

I haven't done much reading about it, but there are a growing number (I'm sure this isn't a new phenomena, I'm usually last in line to learn about these inter-tube thingies) of anigifs as art. One artist who's blog I've subscribed to on good ol' Google Reader is Tom Moody. He works primarily in the digital medium, producing (printed) digital drawings, digital music or sound art, and animated gifs. He also likes to share the work of others that he finds on the internet (among them a goose-stepping cheerleader from a site that made me laugh). A lot of the samples he takes from other sites are usually used for online advertising or just as extra junk for personal websites, but when viewed in this context they start to really take on a surreal character. As such an aesthetic begins to emerge and inform a lot of the more artistic-minded animations.

His own work seems to go for that bitmap and pixel-glitch aesthetic, while the imagery comes from those old representation of the atom or atomic power. His artist statement says it all:

I'm amused by the lingering rhetoric of futurism--the Buck Rogers, 'machines-will-change-our-lives' spieling--that continues to surround digital production in our society. The computer is a tool, not magic, and possesses its own tragicomic limitations as well as offering new means of expression and communication. I am intrigued by the idea of making some kind of advanced art with this apparatus--objects, images, and installations that hold up to prolonged scrutiny in real space. At the same time, I am drawn to 'cyber-kitsch' in all its forms, whether in old programs such as MSPaintbrush, the amateur imagery that abounds on the Web, or the unintended poetry of technical glitches. My work proudly inhabits the 'lo-fi' or 'abject' end of the digital spectrum.

Other bits of animation are for more humorous purposes. Such as this Ironmandalablast which is a rehashing of an anigif of Iron Man he found somewhere out there.

This perspective on anigifs has forced me to look at them a bit differently and with a lot more interest, to the point that I (sort of) seek them out. These fine examples are all from a Japanese site that I unfortunately can't read what it's called. But there are many MANY more where these came from.

Another artist I've found that works in the digital medium is Bill Murphy. Now, I haven't had much of a chance to read up on him yet, because I'm really not sure what his story is (his site isn't the easiest to navigate). There's a certain kitchy-ness to his work but I don't know if it's intended or not. Either way, it makes for some good anigif goodness, and for someone to look into for a later post.

My interest in animation isn't new, although my knowledge of it isn't very good. A few years ago for one of my integrated drawing classes at uni we had a flash animation project. I did a few small animations (and a flip book, which was fun), but I unfortunately can't share them because they still live in their flash format and I can't prep them for publication online since I haven't got flash (my cs3 demo died a week ago). I'll see what I can do about, and maybe post them at a later date. In the meantime, I will also share new animations or artists that I come across along the way.

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