What We Talk About When We Talk About GIFs: Visual Culture and Social Media


I will be part of a panel in NYU this coming Friday where I will be talking about my work and the GIF and showing my works with the GIF! Here is the link of the event, if anyone is interested in attending! http://nyuhumanities.org/events/event-registration/?ee=89
Here is a bit of what I'll be talking about:
I work using a utopia-dystopia ‘mythology’ as a platform. It is a world called the Theocratic Republic of Gaia and its rebel counterparts are the Catharas. A realm that exists in a parallel universe interconnected with our world. For me a GIF is a world inside a world. The internet is in itself a parallel universe, people get married, talk, buy, hire killers, buy weapons and have sex in this ‘parallel universe’. It is a mistake to think of it is an extension of our material world, the internet is a world by itself, with its own government regulated order, with its own insurgency and with its own currency.
In an increasing high technological society of disposable and insatiable thirst for the latest technological advancements, value is placed over glossy hyper-real Hollywoodesque aesthetics. The GIF is the destruction of that --it is the lumpen of high aesthetics-- but is also an immediate high, offering instant gratification.
The GIF is the desire for the immediate and easily accessible. It is a sub-product of ‘democratic’ capitalism, as Tocqueville said: “Humans in democracy have a taste for immediate pleasure and indolent ambition”.
The GIF it’s used both subversively and by corporations, it is truly populist. It is a new tool of communication; not only used by a means of marketing, but as a tool to express emotions, as a tool to spread censored pornography and as a tool for protest; where news that are also censored are spread across.
The GIF is exciting, it is creative and cheap, it is liked by everybody. The porn fan, the artist, the teenager your mom and my mom. It is a bit like tofu, it takes any flavor you put on it, it can taste like anything.



Image: GIF works from "The Accidental Pursuit of the Stateless II" show. On view at Gaia Gallery, Istanbul. 2016

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