New Museum Theater, 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
This panel discussion considers Tumblr as a diverse site of collective cultural production, where individual artistic practices merge into broader communities that formed around practices like poetry and self-portraiture or aesthetics such as vaporwave and glitch.
Organized to mark the accession of 22 artist-made Tumblrs into Rhizome’s archive of born-digital artwork, the ArtBase, the event gathers artists Christopher Clary, Cat Frazier (Animated Text), Molly Soda, and writer Larissa Pham to offer perspectives on the site’s history and its importance to artists as it embarks on a new phase, under the ownership of Automattic. Michael Connor, Rhizome Co-director will moderate the panel discussion.
The archived Tumblrs were selected by Rhizome staff and outside jurors that were submitted in response to an open call. Rhizome is using dynamic web archiving tools to create stable copies of each Tumblr for long-term preservation. Some of the Tumblrs included in ArtBase have taken several days to scrape in their entirety, and each must be checked manually for errors as part of the archiving process. This conversation will help to contextualize these selected, newly archived works within the larger story of Tumblr.
Content warning: This panel includes images of nudity and sexual content.
Cat Frazier is a digital artist based in Los Angeles. In 2012, she started Animated Text to share 3D text gifs inspired by Geocities net art. Since then, she's created thousands of GIFs based on follower requests. Her work is a playful blend of 90s web nostalgia and contemporary internet language.
Molly Soda is a visual artist working in video, installation, interactive art, performance and print media. Her work is often hosted online, specifically on social media platforms, allowing the work to evolve and interact with the platforms themselves. Soda engages with questions of revisiting one's own virtual legacy, how we present ourselves and perform for imagined others online and how the ever shifting nature of our digital space affects our memories and self concept.
Larissa Pham is an artist and writer in Brooklyn. She is the author of the essay collection Pop Song, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard prize, as well as the novella Fantasian, published by Badlands Unlimited in 2016. She writes essays and criticism on topics including gender, race, sex, visual culture, communication theory, identity formation, art history, and any intersection of the above. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, the New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Art in America, Granta, and elsewhere.
This event is supported by Tumblr, an Automattic company.