The once wildly famous blog Hipster Runoff is FOR SALE.
Robots do not sweat. Computers do not sweat. Iphones also do not sweat. Until we become cyborgs, humans will not be both digital and sweat. Until that day in time, we have only the online gallery Digital Sweat, “a platform for digital artists to explore sexual and erotic themes.” For the gallery’s first exhibition, also titled Digital Sweat, over 30 digital artists have created GIFs and JPEGs for the standalone site. We’re going to be looking at these GIFs over the next week, and like the critics that we are, we’re taking the critical GIF to the next level of critique.
With Digital Sweat, we’re curious: Does the vertical scroll format benefit the exhibition? Why a standalone website? Why are many of these GIFs the same size? Can you make sexy, erotic work without pulling out a dick? These are just a few questions we’re asking.
What drew me to Kim Asendorf’s “UNTITLED (KORG ELECTRIBE GIF REPLICA),” 2014 is a detail: a tiny nude woman tugging at the vagina of one of the two girls in bed with each other. Microphilia, a fantasy of a miniature human, usually in submission to a fully grown adult, is one of those lesser-known fetishes you might think only exist in far-flung corners of the web.
Evaluating this GIF is tricky. It gets a couple extra points for incorporating a bringing up a an obscure subculture, thereby separating it from the animated smiley faces, rainbows, and weed leaves that fill my Tumblr. The Internet does not run dry for lack of subject matter. A+
But I’m taking some points off because this scene comes too close to another overused digital art trope: anime girls in the nude. Enough already! For this, I give it a B.
Then again, I’ll add some points for going against the grain: Most of the GIFs in this exhibition, like many non-art GIFs in the world, are two-dimensional. Asendorf’s GIF rotates around an invisible axis; though a small effect, it makes this one of the more sculptural GIFs in Digital Sweat.
What up, Internet?
Jayson Musson is back on YouTube, but not with his well-known “Art Thoughtz” web-series featuring Hennessy Youngman. Instead, we get “The Adventures of Jamel: The Time Traveling B-Boy,” created and written by the artist and directed and edited by Scott Ross. It’s flashy, and has more in common with Chappelle’s Show than Hennessy’s old show. Straight up, it’s a hip-hop comedy with sci-fi and social commentary thrown in the mix. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a pilot in the works for any premium cable channel.
Without giving away any spoilers, in the first episode, we’re introduced to:
- An Iraqi baby skull filled with Merlot
- The Illuminati
- A time-traveling janitor
- Mention of anal sex with goats
- Breaking the bonds of slavery with the power of hip-hop
Are we playing Cards Against Humanity? No. This is just Jayson Musson’s new web-world, a world without art. So very populist of you, Musson.
What the hell is Nicolas Sassoon doing in his studio all day? Getting high, if his latest GIF is at all autobiographical. It is the second in his Pandora series, which renders his studio in different states. Sized to fit the full screen of the browser, each shows a straight on view of the same space.
A bit of background: For Sassoon’s first installment of his residency at Opening Times, an online arts organization based in the UK, he created an idealized representation of his studio space. That was back in July, and I interviewed him about the GIF and residency over at artnet News.
My studio is a very dark space inside a basement located in a city that is pretty dark for eight months of the year. A lot of my work emerges from extended periods of time immersed in that environment. This lifestyle allows me to project myself into a virtual world, but it also lacks the physical interactions of the real world. A lot of my work tries to give a physical quality to my drawings and animations. The bleakness of my aesthetic is also what I use to give a physical quality to my art.
In an email to me last week, he described the second iteration, (detail pictured above), as even darker. Literally speaking that seems unlikely given all that pot—if he wants that stuff to grow, the actual studio space has to be brightly lit.
I’m on the fence about this piece. Its size and detail is impressive, but the message doesn’t seem all that different than the pot leaves that get printed on T-shirts. If drug use is really so critical/destructive to the artistic process, there’s probably more to say about it.
Social capital is the fuel of the art world. Attending art openings, dance performances, and biennials is seen as glamorous and sexy. Studio visits feel like exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the artist. Actually financing the lifestyle, though, requires a lot of soul-killing administration: constant emailing, negotiation, and usually a bit of flattery.
Most of us hate it. A lot of us try to avoid it. And then there’s Ivo Dimchev, who uses his distaste for administration as inspiration for his disturbing three-person performance, Fest, at the Abrons Arts Center. The piece tells the story of Ivo Dimchev’s negotiations with a festival director and staff in Copenhagen, all of which devolve into power plays driven by sexual desire. It is an absurd and abject comedy that sits somewhere between total chronophobia and complete brilliance.