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Distance. Four gifs for Arts Coming - Alexandra Laudo

The idea of presenting a series of artists’ animated gifs for the Arts Coming platform came up spontaneously in an informal conversation with one of the founding members. I was asked if I knew any artists who might be interested in doing some art pieces in this format to be later published on the project’s website, and this general question led to an exchange of ideas which culminated in the presentation of the concept of “distance”. This project aims to preserve the spontaneity of this first series of themes that features four animated gifs, organised in the context that brought it about, and is thus presented as a light curatorial event, which far from offering an academic theorization on the chosen theme, shoots them at the artists so that it works like a catalyst.


A GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is an image format developed by CompuServe in the late 1980s, and used profusely on Internet. It accepts a chromatic palette of up to 8 bits per pixel (only 256 colours per image), and it is also a valid format form simple animations. These animated gifs are usually poor as far as colour resolution is concerned, and since they are composed of a few looped frames, they generate animations that are executed many times over a short period. Therefore an animated gif is, first and foremost, repetitive. At first we might think that one image alone must necessarily be more repetitive than a number of successive images, but it is not usually so: while an image does not impose its time upon us, an animated gif does, often imbuing us with a frenetic, almost hysterical rhythm that can easily become exhausting. Curiously, this repetitive character whose origins are limitation makes animated gifs, in their perpetual starting again and again, embraces the concept of infinity.


The theme chosen for this first series of gifs is, as we mentioned above, about “distance”. One strict definition of this expression would be the interval of space and time there is between two things. Yet we know that besides measurable distances, expressed numerically, there are some that are more subjective, more abstract, that cannot be reflected in centimetres or metres; and we also know that all distances, even those that can be calculated, are highly relative. Thus, for example, in the visible universe a tiny distance is the one that is smaller than two million light years. But in nanotechnology the distance that separates the longitude of the colour wave of purple from red is thought to be large, even though it is only 4,000 angstroms, equivalent to 0.0004 millimetres. Similarly, now in the context of subjective distances and in the lyrical realm, in the song “Are You the One I Have Been Waiting For”? Nick Cave states that the temporary distance that separated him from the person he was waiting for was equivalent the melting of an ice age, while Marvin Gaye sang in “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” that no distance was great enough to stop him from reaching the place where a certain person was. There are also objectively insignificant distances, but subjectively quite important. In the Spanish parliament, for example, some members sit side by side, but in fact represent totally different political views. And all politicians in the parliament, even though they are located just a few dozen metres from the citizens outside, are a million light years away from them. A distance of a million light years is perhaps tiny in the visible universe, but it is an infinite distance from here to earth.



Distance #1 

Bas Jan Ader

Newly Found Bas Jan Ader film



Distance #2

rrrrrrroll - Distancia #2






Distance #3



Warp Drive – Serafín Álvarez, 2013 




Distance #4


Marla Jacarilla 2013





Breve atlas de lugares imposibles Bárbara Sánchez Barroso



Breve atlas de lugares imposibles – Bárbara Sánchez Barroso, 2015


Cul-de-sac Sonia Fernández Pan


Cul-de-sac is a French expression which, although its literal meaning refers to a specific physical location thanks to the promiscuity of language, the meaning extends to those situations that are impossible –or almost impossible- to solve, and to those issues that produce a conflict that turns into an absurd circumstance in which someone ends up fighting just because they are fighting something that doesn’t give in so easily. Cul-de-sac, translated into Spanish as “callejón sin salida” or dead-end street, implies a deadlock, a tessitura into which one has entered but from which one cannot depart triumphantly. One normally finds oneself in a deadlock without exactly knowing how one got there, as part of a situation in which one entered voluntarily. In contrast, when proposing the idea of “cul-de-sac” for a series of gifs, this exercise functions in the opposite way: it is intentionally devised as a deadlock: a problem is posed without anyone seeking to find a solution.


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