We see an endless stream of animated GIFs cascading through a void, occasionally leaving a contrail of digital artifacts. At first, it’s an apocalyptic image of planes falling from the sky. But that soon becomes a random assortment of office supplies, household objects, and other miscellaneous renderings—all presented totally out of scale. It’s somewhat hypnotic and somewhat boring—an apt metaphor for the sheer weight of detritus we’ve inherited as users of an aging internet.
From Mark Brown:
“Originally created in 2007 as a video for Dan Deacon, ‘Gif Dump’ has been recently revived and retooled under the curatorial advice of Kari Altmann for the online exhibition Netmares Netdreams 2.1“
Appropriately, like a spectre of internet past, nearly all links [including our own] that reference Netmares Netdreams 2.1 now lead to dead ends. Rhizome’s suggestion to see “More work by Mark Brown” directs us to http://www.mcbrown.info, what appears to be a junk site aggregating advice on personal injury litigation and finance (the artist’s current website is markcharlesbrown.com) The domain http://www.netmaresnetdreams.net now appears to be owned by the Japanese entity GMO Internet, Inc. Thankfully, the exhibition still has a MySpace profile.
Watching these GIFs fall into the great digital abyss, it’s hard not to speculate about the fate of digital culture—what will be preserved, what will degrade over time, and what will simply be lost. Here, a rendering of a molecule and a phonograph player are treated with the same weight—the images utterly divorced from context and their original file type. Sometimes a video really is the GIF of the Day.