In addition to being an ideal vehicle for pet follies and YouTube pratfalls, animated GIFs have emerged as a versatile new medium for visual art in the Internet age. Art GIFs—as opposed to, I guess, "LOL GIFs?"—run the gamut from simple optical illusions and early Internet kitsch to the evocative Cinemagrams that set the Internet on fire for a few days last year. Alma Alloro’s GIFs fall somewhere in between, serving as a commentary on the relationship between analog and digital media—and also just giving you something cool looking to zone out to while you eat your lunch at your desk.
The collection, Further Abstracts, shows geometric doodles sliding and spinning with life on plain old graph paper. It’s basically what every day-dreaming trig student wishes would happen with his time-wasting sketches. In fact, that was more or less Alloro’s impulse for creating them.
"I made many still image drawings in the same style before," the Tel Aviv-born artist told Co.Design, "and was curious to see what it would look like in animation." But in addition to being relatively high quality and easy to disseminate, Alloro thinks GIFs represent a new kind of frontier in visual art—something related to but separate from its older sibling, video art. "Video art began as a comment on cinema, and I think it was never capable to become free from that role," Alloro explained. "Now, when videos occupy about 50% of any important biennial, it seems like GIFs are replacing video-art and becoming the new avant-garde ... It is also part of this new trend to bring the Internet to a gallery space and vice versa."
As if to prove her point, Alloro’s GIFs have been chosen for exhibition at the Caesura Gallery, an online-only collection that places some (relatively) traditional visual pieces, like a set of photographs of cleverly Photoshopped beer cans, alongside some more novel web-based works. Jesse Darling’s Menetekel (2012, Spray paint, animated GIF), another piece on the site, wins the award for collapsing the most media in the shortest amount of time: The work is a 7-second animated GIF of a hooded figure spray painting the Twitter hashtag #IRL on a brick wall, in real life. Basically, Alloro’s GIFs—a timeless analog time waster presented in the Internet’s freshest time wasting file format—are right at home.
Furthering their artistic bona fides, GIFs have even been accompanied by some jargon-heavy explicatory text. Alloro’s friend and fellow artist Gabriel S. Moses writes, "Alloro revives the Bauhaus movement’s celebrated core symbols (the triangle, square, and circle), only to subvert their refined ideology of functional beauty. Replacing iconic solid colors with a hyper-saturated radiance, the bare technical grid-aesthetics of these corrupted Bauhaus designs render the modern myth of functionality obsolete."
He’s not kidding, Alloro insists, but she does admit she didn’t have much of that in mind when she was making the GIFs. "It’s nice not to over-analyze your own works," she told Co.Design. "Let someone else do that."
[Hat tip The Creators Project]