"gif. jpg. png. tif. (gjpt)," an exhibition currently on display at HEREart , explores the relationship between standardized digital image formats and visual representation. Curated by Jess Ramsay and featuring work by Jason Huff, Jordan Tate and Adam Tindale, Seyhan Musaoglu, and Giselle Zatonyl, the exhibition demonstrates how fully digital imaging has permeated visual culture. The works in the exhibition approach the pixel as a key structural component of visual representation, manipulating it to expose the formal characteristics of digital media.
It could be argued that template-style exploitable memes are the bread-and-butter of image board communities like those found on 4chan. Taking a popular, strange, or funny image and editing it down to the simplest components allows them to be photoshopped into a variety of contexts. It's easy and allows for a wide range of iterations, many of which gesture back to previous memes to construct intricate networks of reference that require elaborate explanations and complex genealogies to decipher. Some of the most popular template memes come from 4chan's Cartoons and Comics board /co/, and usually involve stripping a drawn image to it's most basic outlines so that it can be adapted to various popular cartoon or comic characters. Popular examples include Optimized Gif Dude (2006), Gentlemen (2006), fsjal (2008), and X Everywhere (2010).
[The Original Image]
Handsome Face is a image that first appeared in mid-September of 2010 on /co/ and was quickly made a template by 4chan user Shore Leave !!T2UdrWkLSWB. This original image is taken from a scene from the 2010 animated film Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. The face was generally regarded as "handsome" in a way that seemed comical and overly sincere, as though he were about to say something heartfelt to another character. Soon it was coupled with the text template "X, I . . ." where X is a character, concept, or object that could be humorously paired with the original. An iteration using the Joker might be captioned "Batman, I . . .", or one made to look like Shaggy from the group Insane Clown Posse might be captioned "Magnets, I . . ." in reference to the much-parodied ICP music video Miracles (2009).
The meme points to the complex network of reference that makes up the template format, as well as the call-and-response solicitation that helps to propagate ...
Video from 1987 depicting early digital image editing techniques in the Soviet Union using rotary scanners, magnetic tape, and trackballs.
The Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard wallpaper, Aurora, with white area added to the sides of the image and then put through content-aware fill
The default Windows XP wallpaper, Bliss with area added to the sides, then put through content-aware fill
The Windows 7 "Future is Yours" wallpaper, with white area added to the sides of the image and then put through content-aware fill
A series of images with white area added to the sides and then put through Content-Aware Fill (a Photoshop CS5 tool that automatically generates content based on the existing content of the image and fills in the surrounding blank space). The resulting image is an extended view as interpreted by the software.
Ceci Moss is Rhizome's Senior Editor.
For my top 5-10, I've decided to pull together my favorite online exhibitions of internet-based art from the past 12 months.
Each week or so, Computers Club introduce a new work by an artist. Many of the Computer Clubbers have helped to define the current crop of internet-based art influenced by Larry Cuba and Tron-style computer graphics, such as Laura Brothers, Nicholas Sassoon, and Elna Frederick.
Internet Archaeology is a site devoted to the recovery of graphic artifacts found within earlier internet culture. (Think Olia Lialina's A Vernacular Web.) Their Guest Galleries section features original work using images culled from the collection by Tabor Robak, Krist Wood, Jacob Broms Engblom, Daniel Leyva, Emma Balkind, and Nasdaq 5000. My favorite piece so far is Robak's Heaven, which I posted to Rhizome not too long ago.
Run by Bay Area-based artists Caitlin Denny and Parker Ito, JstChillin's "Serial Chillers in Paradise" series is quite ambitious -- for a full year, they're knocking out a new work, in the form of a solo site, by an artist every two weeks, with an accompanying essay by Denny and Ito.
Like software, the curatorial project NETMARES & NETDREAMS signal the progression of their exhibitions through versioning. The exhibition "2.2" went live last summer, and it is loosely based on beach iconography, with a gloss of dark surrealism. A sense of the ominous pervades throughout, from Harm van den Dorpel's dizzying montage of palm trees to Michael Guidetti's loop of a rippling, virtual ocean.
Now closed, Club Internet's fall exhibition "Dissociation" was ...
(RE)MAKE Tutorial is a multimedia piece entirely based on popular, free and available web found elements: a software for image retouching, an online music listening platform, and a picture found on internet.
Photography or video? This work appears as a “work in progress”, an accidental proposition, similar to a tutorial through its assembling process. (RE)MAKE Tutorial is a low tech adaptation which revisits one of the most traumatizing Hollywood’s cinema production: JAWS. The motionless sea is brought back to life thanks to the simple Photoshop selection tool.
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator