Massive Links! Ice Monolith Carted Around the World | Gifs Cross Over to Third Dimension | Monkeys in Masks

by Whitney Kimball on July 7, 2011 · 7 comments Massive Links

Tauba Auerbach's Alphabetized Bible

  • San Francisco artist Brian Goggin is about to give Francis Alys a run for his money.  He plans to have huskies, manpower, and “potentially musk oxen” haul a ginormous chunk of 100,000 year-old ice from Greenland to Manhattan. We should all think of global warming when he does this so his plight to make people more aware of the problem will be achieved. Once the ice arrives in New York, it will be placed in a “custom-designed high-tech reliquary filled with sub-zero glycol solution to keep the ice chilled, weighing in at 4000 pounds altogether.”  And of course, no monolith ice block installation is complete unless it’s surrounded by laser beams. Seems not all of the details have been worked out yet (like how much it will weigh, how to ship it without fuel-burning motors, or how exactly he plans to preserve this thing for 488 years) but hey, it’s for the environment!
  • Graphological painter Cy Twombly passed away on Tuesday at age 83.  Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith give their appraisals.


    Not a bad idea, but it doesn’t offer much beyond the initial ha ha.
  • Greg Borenstein has launched a Kickstarter campaign to  “bring the magic of animated gifs into the physical world.” This means using a laser to cut through some unidentified material and mounting the cut-outs on a lazy-susan. The spinning frames create a perceived animation. A contraption like this is commonly known as a zoetrope, though for the purposes of this campaign, Borenstein has rebranded his zoetrope with the catchy title of “Physical GIF.”  Though their stock selection is weak, prominent gif artists Ryder RippsNullsleepSara Ludy (an AFC IMG MGMT artist), and Sterling Crispin have been commissioned to make editions.
  • Another version of the coffee table GIF worth consideration: framed, a monolithic, wi-fi flatscreen computer meant to display digital media works.  You can buy artworks from the framed store, and artists can upload work. I guess the commodification of digital media works is inevitable, but this reminds me of an exotic fish tank at a sushi restaurant.  Should the solution to displaying and selling digital media culminate in a replication of really bad painting?


Hypothete July 7, 2011 at 11:25 pm

framed looks interesting. The screen resolution, thickness and price point are going to tell us if this sinks or swims. Reminds me of the countless “case modding” hacks where broken laptops are mounted on walls behind acrylic sheets.

Re: the GIF zoetrope, I know I’ve been on my formal qualities high horse quite enough today, but I heard about this one a few days ago and have had some time to think. It’s great to play around with physical animation, and laser etching brings a new technique to the table. I myself tried the zoetrope approach last October for and ended scrapping the project due to problems with blurriness (you couldn’t see the pixels). I wish the ITP dudes and GIF artists best of luck with the project (looks like a good way to get past the blurriness problem), but the end result shouldn’t really be described as “physical GIFs” as the only GIF-like quality involved seems to be the looping animation. That’s like describing a laser-etched laptop as having a “physical jpeg” on it.

Lorna Mills July 8, 2011 at 2:36 am

I’m going to haul a ginormous GIF from Greenland to Manhattan.

mprice July 8, 2011 at 5:17 am

I have to agree to some extent about the GIF formalism.  While on one hand it seems like pure nerdy nitpicking to get so hung up over whether or not we can throw around names like ‘physical GIFS’, I think the GIF is a pretty important site of the investigation of something like a materiality of digital media.  That the GIF is sort of fondly remembered as an tangible artifact of yesterday’s net, that as a looping video it displays a strange sort of object-ness, that the format itself is so necessarily referenced, and that this project is all about bringing it into physical existence all speak to this phenomenon.  So yeah, there is definitely room to be exploring more deeply into the guts of the format (like, say, creating a physical analog for palette-based color indexing).  

That being said, apart from actual formal similarities that may or may not exist, the attempt in general to craft a physicality for GIFs is sort of laudable or at least fitting, seeing as they resonate as objects in their own right.  In that sense there’s something there that is more ‘gif like’ than an animated loop on a screen.

sally July 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I think the idea of physical GIFs as zoetropes is pretty hilarious, and
not a bad hook for a project, so long as everyone gets that it’s a joke. I do agree that GIFs “resonate as objects in their own right,” and I don’t think they have to be translated into 3-D objects in order for us to consider their material effects. We do use our bodies to look at computer screens, much as we’d like to forget it (typed from a chair with an obis form back support).

I did a gallery project with phenakistoscopes (kind of like zoetropes, but older tech and even less visually crisp) a few years ago. I digitally blocked out the animations as GIFs first, then transferred the images to the spinning disks. Turned out that they looked way better on the screen than they did on the mechanical machine. I could’ve reworked them into something better suited to the phenakistoscope, but why, I wondered, should I be trying to make animations I’m not interested in looking at just so I can use a 180-year-old technology? So I pretty much scrapped it – worked the GIF into a video projection for the gallery instead and put them online. I did show some of the mechanical phenakistoscopes as well, but more just to provide a context for the process and make reference to the art/science history of animation.

Samuel Walker July 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm

“as the only GIF-like quality involved seems to be the looping animation” I think it’s more the fact that a GIF is used as the source material for the zoetrope. I think Physical GIF just implies the physical materialization of an existing GIF.

FRAMED seems great but I’m sure it will have a stupid price. It’s hard to tell if they are trying to enable artists or capitalize on a nitche market.

Shamus Clisset July 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm

The Tauba Auerbach thing is funny – I did a fake group show in Berlin in 2000 where I made up a bunch of fake artist personalities and did the work for all of them. an alphabetized Bible was the joke piece by my “conceptual artist” pseudonym.  

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: