Confession: for two years of my time at art school, I was a fibers major and I never learned exactly how sewing machines work. Now that I’m seeing this, it totally explains things like incorrect thread tension fucking up your bobbin. H/T BoingBoing for sharing this Wikimedia Commons entry by Russian contributor NikolayS. Nikolay, you’ve made at least one person much less ignorant of the world’s arcane machinations.
Does anyone else ever feel like Ryan Trecartin presaged the actual editing style and level of ridiculousness that has come to characterize all mainstream media? I stumbled across this GIF last week and I think I have watched it roughly one thousand times since. It is so good. Someone told me it was from some reality TV show about the Real-People-Who-Married-Other-People-and-Do-Nothing-But-Get-Botox-and-Drink-All-Day-Of-Somewhere or something and I really don’t care.
I like this so much better with no context. As one brief GIF, the scene says everything it needs to.
No joke, I’ve been using these two stills as emojis:
Sometimes there’s a work of cinema that’s so compelling, entertaining, and satisfying that it begs to be watched over and over again. When that work of cinema is only 123 frames long, that re-watchability can be indulged ceaselessly.
The narrative arc of this story functions brilliantly both linearly and as an endless loop. Its exposition consists of a young woman on a hoverboard entering the frame, about to whiz by a suburban backyard pool. Immediately, we know disaster will beset her—the accident-prone hoverboard has become the “Chekhov’s gun” of 2016’s homemade media. It’s no surprise, really that she looses her balance. But when the board goes in the pool, there’s a climactic moment of suspense and even mystery—what makes her turn her head and looking pleadingly off-camera? Is a family member or lover encouraging her to grab the electronic device before its casing fills with chlorinated water? We suspect it’s already too late: the thing is dead. Why then, does she attempt to resolve the situation by sliding into the pool, clothes, shoes and all? Was there a smartphone in her pocket?
Perhaps she knew the hoverboard’s fate was already sealed, and decided that a world without precarious amplification of walking speeds wasn’t one she wished to remain in. The dénouement of the video is the oddly-satisfying visual of our tragicomic protagonist disappearing slowly, from head to toe, into the water. Again, we’re left with an empty patio. She has descended fully from this plane like Persephone to the underworld—only to return to the scene mere frames after her departure in her own GIF-loop-miracle of vernal resurrection.
This is a GIF masterpiece for the ages, and yet so specifically appropriate to the month immediately following Christmas 2015. Go, hoverboard girl, go forth and break the internet.
Is there anything more satisfying and/or uncanny than watching this clever machine simultaneously fondle a cube of hay with tenderness while violently swaddling it in packaging? So many parts moving in impressive, carefully choreographed synchronicity to accomplish an end product that is pretty underwhelming: a rubbery, pink, rectilinear hot-dog of grass. Oh, the synthesis of an ordinary mound of plant matter and dozens of yards of plastic wrap into something utterly alien… the process is terrifyingly efficient and horrifyingly wasteful at the same time.
Some day, our generation’s grandchildren will look back on this era in awe from their toxic world and wonder at how a civilization advanced enough to produce such a mechanical marvel was also idiotic enough to fill the Pacific Ocean with petroleum products. Conversely, Jean-Marc Côté and the other illustrators who predicted France in the Year 2000 over a century ago would probably be pretty thrilled without reservation:
This week’s NSFW GIF of the Hump Day comes to us from Zak Krevitt. In addition to a kinda-NSFW photo practice that occasionally features more-or-less SFW GIFs, the artist has an active kink-centric Twitter profile. His work often documents or exists within queer/fetish subcultures, such as the phenomenon of pup play, where humans role play as either dogs or their masters.
For an idea of how one might achieve the illusion of a wagging tail on a human body, check out the gorgeously-rendered “Butt Plug for Technic”
Bay Area queers take on the techie-led gentrification of San Francisco in the above music video “Google Google Apps Apps”. Can someone on the East Coast please write us an equally amazing anthem? [Youtube]
After much speculation, it turns out Banksy is behind the subversive amusement park “Dismaland” in a small British town after all. The temporary attraction offers sculptures by other artists including Damien Hirst, a performance by Pussy Riot, and typical theme-park tourist traps tweaked to offer a bleak look at late capitalism. [Colossal]
An office building renovation near Bryant Park has revealed a mid-century modern tesserae mural by Max Spivak. It’s being restored and will be on display and accessible to the public soon. [The New York Times]
The privately-owned Academy of Art University has translated millions of dollars of federally-subsidized student loans into a real estate empire for one San Francisco family. Beyond the cost to taxpayers, the school has an abysmal dropout rate and the few students who do graduate are faced with mountains of debt and few job prospects. Its abysmal graduation rates—32%—have put its accreditation in jeopardy. This sounds like a very, very good thing. [Forbes]
Hedge fund manager Bruce Berkowitz has been trying to build a private art museum with offices for his firm in Miami. Earlier this year, it looked like the city had rejected plans for the bunker-like building, which would house massive Richard Serra sculptures, a Basquiat, and other works from Berkowitz’s collection. Now, the project seems to be moving forward. [The Art Newspaper]
“Going to a sports art gallery is a lot cooler than it sounds” Sports Illustrated gets into the art criticism game. [Sports Illustrated]
How can you spot a fake painting? A breakdown of tricks and anecdotes. [Salon]
Kingston, in the Hudson River Valley, has converted an old mill into 55 units of affordable artist housing and exhibition space—one more potential lure in the exodus of city artists seeking more space for less money upstate. [Mid Hudson News]
Here’s a GIF of a Delta aircraft getting hit by lightning in Houston. It’s oddly satisfying to watch. [Gawker]
In architecture, postmodernism’s aesthetic triumphs and failures aren’t unique—to some extent, almost all buildings are victims or successes of fickle fashion. What’s truly the defining, problematic legacy of the movement is its impact on public housing. As the Thatcher/Reagan years eviscerated the English-speaking world’s social services, postmodern architectural thinking used modernist architecture as a scapegoat for the resulting problems. It was a diversion that somehow is still accepted widely. [Dezeen]
Life lessons from the older and wiser to the younger. A little cutesy, but fun nonetheless. [CBC]
Artist Daniel Buren is considering legal action against the city of Lyon, France over lack of maintenance of his 1994 Place des Terreaux public artwork. [artnet News]
Argentine artist Gustavo Torres, known as Tumblr user Kidmograph, provides a bittersweet nostalgia for the past’s future that never happened. “In H_M_” (above), we see a figure wistfully staring at a virtual sunset from the mundane world of the real. Why was the past’s depiction of the digital age so much more glamorous than the one we’ve inherited?
From Tron to the work of William Gibson, the children of the twentieth century’s twilight decades were promised a future with a virtual playground to rival the neon cityscapes of Blade Runner. Gibson envisioned cyberspace as a “consensual hallucination” where “A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer” offered an out-of-body, mutable alternative to the physical world. It’s a vision not so different from the holodeck of Star Trek or the eerie sublime of Kidmograph’s tongue-in cheek “TGIF,” in which a smiley face bounces blissfully along an endless grid of nothingness.
In reality, the internet isn’t an out-of-body fantasy we can enter as a place-less place—technology instead penetrates the real world in often ominous ways, and there’s certainly no consent for those who live under its surveillance or suffer as a result of the increasingly abstract global economy. In the 21st century, the prefix “cyber” is most often associated with anxiety and attached to threatening concepts. It denotes a brand of terrorism, crime, bullying, or sexual predation that lies at the fringe of our collective imagination.
Kidmograph’s GIFs return us to that innocent sense of wonder. “∑NT∑R” beckons the viewer to indulge in a surrealist vacation. “[I]” (below) suggests a self portrait as a digital avatar who lives out a consequence-free CGI life.
But Kidmograph’s cityscapes seem to resolve that frustrating dissonance between cyberspace and urban space in the most strangely satisfying way. In “RFLCTN_TRNL” (top) and “TMBLR_CTY” (below) we see the blissful Grid from Tron married to the morphology of the megacity so accurately predicted in the cyberpunk genre. At times, doesn’t Tumblr feel like an impossibly circuitous, dystopian metropolis? One we all find ourselves lost in from time to time. If you’re up for a cyber-dérive, wander the alleys of cyberspace’s psychogeography in Kidmograph’s work, with tags such as #trip, #cyberpunk, and #retrofuture.
She-Ra: Princess of Power, along with Jem and the Holograms, were forerunners of the Saturday morning girl-power cartoon block. The lead heroines frequently flipped between two seemingly diametrically opposing personas: She-Ra was the goddess-bitch alter-ego of Princess Adora, and Jem allowed Jerrica Benton, record label owner, to prototype upon herself holographic technology for pop music domination. At a time when women wore the power suit to navigate the still rocky 9-to-5 corporate terrain of the 1980s, these were heady, proto-feminist messages for millennial women: the Dressing for Success drag show, if it were, of understanding the difference between private and public personas that arguably continues today via our SnapChat or Instagram accounts.
Adrienne Crossman, a Toronto-based visual artist, has been riding on this kaleidoscopic nostalgic trip, re-contextualizing scenes from She-Ra as well as My Little Pony and Power Puff Girls in a series of GIFs and video installations as a critical exploration into the media products of these trademarked girl-power cartoon franchises. “I feel like pop culture’s really rich and has such an influence over the way we think about the world in a way that you can just brush it off as fluff but it’s actually such a symptom—such a representation— of the current mentality,” she explains in an interview.
And this GIF — curated earlier this year in Whippersnapper Gallery’s Sidewalk Screening programme — is a rapid cut focusing on the unicorn of her faithful steed, Swift Wind (née Spirit), and a mandala into that universe. It’s a journey into commercial breaks, Made-In-Taiwan plastic dolls, read-along book and cassette tapes — the merchandise artifacts that became the IRL extensions of the fantasies we were bought and sold.