So often, when reading blogs via RSS feeds, the visual character of the site gets lost. This isn't the case with 'Frozen Niki,' a new project by veteran internet artists Dragan Espenchied and Olia Lialina. 'Nikolaj's Personal Blog' contains the visual diary of the cosmonaut Nikolaj Osinin, who is fated to spend 20 years cryogenically frozen in order to stay in shape during the Russian Federation Zvezdostella Mission to the Magellanic Clouds. Niki's brainwaves are being monitored and transmitted in images. While each blog post has tags and other text associated with it, Niki's RSS feeds are simply horizontal bands of ASCII images, sweet gifs, and wallpaper-style bits of patterns. Looking back over a few feeds, one can see roots that stretch for days before blossoming, and cosmic snowflakes that fall upon an infinite, starry background. Each piece fits together to form an alternative model of the 'branching narrative.' Indeed, the space traversed by Niki's rocket ship seems to have exponentially more layers than Dante's Inferno--and it certainly looks chillier. Fortunately, there are a few fancy gif fires flickering along the Zvezdostella crew's path. - Marisa Olson
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by Dorothy Howard on Jul 22nd, 2015