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Contemporary GIF Art: Nicolas Sassoon and 'Loop Dreams'

Now exhibited on rhizome.org’s front page, Nicolas Sassoon’s INDEX is a large GIF depicting a Vancouver, BC project space, also called Index, that existed from 2012 to 2015. For this work, Sassoon made a drawing of the space as he remembered it on the night of an electronic music event called Rain Dance which he co-organized with music producers LNS and Scott W.

INDEX will be shown as a two-channel video in Loop Dreams: Contemporary GIF Art IRL, a one-day exhibition in New York City organized by GIPHY with additional curation from Rhizome on October 2. For this exhibition, Rhizome commissioned gifs and lenticulars by Sassoon and four other artists: Laura Brothers, Jacob Ciocci, Ann Hirsch, and Yung Jake. These newly commissioned works will be shown alongside more than twenty other artists from the GIPHY community. A panel discussion featuring Rhizome Artistic Director Michael Connor along with artist Laura Brothers, curator Jason Eppink, and GIPHY founder Alex Chung, will explore the GIF's usage as vernacular communication and artistic medium as parallel trajectories in the history of the file format.

Sassoon's GIF is larger than most browser viewports, inviting viewers to explore it by scrolling from section to section, inspecting the space’s kitchen, bathroom, tool shop, and DJ booth. The space is uninhabited, but there is evidence that people were recently present, setting up for the show--a tape measure, a utility knife, a roll of gaff tape. Even the houseplants are finely rendered in pixel-perfect black and white, with bitmapped textures that are constant, subtle motion, charging the scene with a pent-up psychic energy.

Nicolas Sassoon makes use of early computer imaging processes to render fantastical visions of architectures, landscapes and domestic environments. While most of his work is published online, Sassoon also materializes his web-based practice into a wide range of media, as well as through collaborations with artists, architects, music producers and fashion designers.Sassoon’s work often explores the contemplative dimensions of screen-based space and how this space can be inscribed within the physical realm. He has previously exhibited at Eyebeam (US), Vancouver Art Gallery (CA), MU Eindhoven (NL), and the Victoria & Albert Museum (UK). He is a founder of the collective W-A-L-L-P-A-P-E-R-S.

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