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.