It's no secret that the Rhizome staff loves animated gifs. The best to roll through our feed readers are often reblogged to our front page, and in 2005 we presented The GIF Show, an exhibition of 12 artists using animated gifs to make new work. When we heard about the upcoming "Graphics Interchange Format" exhibition, we knew we had to share the news. Curated by Laurel Ptak, keeper of the popular I Heart Photograph blog, the show at emerging Brooklyn art space Bond Street Gallery features 67 animated gifs made by 26 artists, including Rhizome's own staff writer Tyler Coburn, Petra Cortright, C. Coy, Ilia Ovechkin, M. River, Trevor Shimizu, Jo-ey Tang, Anne De Vries, and Damon Zucconi. Some of the artists are among the net's gif stars and others made their first gifs for the show--they were all commissioned on three days' notice by Ptak and are being sold in unlimited editions (accompanied by a personalized note from the artist) for $20, instigating "gif shop" puns across the net art blogosphere. The curator promises a show that will demonstrate the diversity of what this beloved file format has come to prove capable of since its inception by CompuServe in 1987. Nonetheless, as a show nestled within a group show of group photo shows, called "Young Curators, New Ideas," the artists were encouraged to use photographic media and the resultant works are poised to trigger references to the history of lens-based practices and proto-filmic experimental cell animation. Either that or they will just flicker their way into your hearts as they clearly have ours. - Marisa Olson
Image: M. River, Safarirafas, 2008
Aleksandra Domanovic is a Berlin-based artist who works primarily on the internet. Much of her art contrasts and recontextualizes content derived online, such as found videos and Google Maps, in an effort to establish a dialogue between these different materials. I interviewed her via email. - Ceci Moss
You were born in Serbia, grew up in Slovenia and now reside in Berlin. Has this transnationalism inflected your work? How so?
I was born in Serbia, but in a Slovakian minority in Vojvodina. Hmm, I can't say how this expresses in my work...most of the artists I know are global nomads. I have a blurred sense of nationality and have no real feeling of belonging anywhere, which may explain my obsession with maps. I also lived in Vienna for six years and spend some time in Tokyo before moving to Berlin, and for now I still enjoy not having a permanent residence.
As a blogger for VVORK, you obviously spend a lot of time surfing the web. How does this daily routine influence your practice as an artist?
I became an artist through and with VVORK. Studying graphic design, but always making video on the side, I joined VVORK about one week after it was founded by Oliver, Georg and Christoph. Surfing the web extensively, seeing so much good work and discovering it for myself, motivated me.
You completed two projects which paired online mapping and video: Srbija Do Tokia and Tesla. Could you explain the concept behind these two works?
There are 3 pages: Srbija Do Tokia, Tesla and Holivud, all written as they are pronounced in Serbian language, which is the grammatically correct way of writing foreign words in Serbia. All reflect Serbian nationalism and the recent independence of Kosovo. The day after the declaration, there were videos ...
In the days of DIY online publishing, what we once knew as agitprop has increasingly taken the form of parasitic media. In such projects, activists leech qualities from the web presence of the host they intend to critique and use these visual resemblances (logos, site maps, page layouts, even URLs) to mimic their opponent in parallel sites that shoot off rather rhizomatically. Like a scientific parasite, the activist lives off the host, but what really thrives is the self-referential critique enabled by this form of parody. The Italian collective, Les Liens Invisibles, excels at initiatives such as these. In their open source project, Fake is a Fake, they make it easy for internet users with access to free Word Press blogging software to mimic high profile sites like news and government agencies, while inserting their own statements. "If at one time or another in your life you wanted to speak with 'the master's voice,'" they say, "then you are ready for our brand new fake-publishing services!" Constantly updated and refined by a group of devoted developers, the list of available spoofs continues to grow. Their most recent (ironically credited to Luther Blissett, the open source nom de plume--taken from the given name of a Jamaican footballer--originated in Italy for hundreds of worldwide activists) uses the upcoming games in Beijing as a backdrop for discussing China's attitude towards human rights. In the announcement of the Peking 2008 site, they declared, "While the Olympic curtain softly falls on the Chinese repression in Tibet, the imaginary art-group Les Liens Invisibles celebrates the upcoming Olympic Games with a new fake-based hybridation between art, activism, and advertising strategies." The ubiquity and recognizability of branded messages make them particularly vulnerable to such forms of plagiarism. The artists' disclaimer for Fake is a ...
Brand new work by artist Rafael Rozendaal. Be sure to also check out Rozendaal's JELLOTIME.COM, which was a Rhizome Commission in 2008.