A Symphony of Filth and Wanking, in Art Gifs [NSFW]

Lorna Mills, “Romantic Beauty PR” 2018
Gif: Courtesy Lorna Mills

Gizmodo is looking at a lot of net art these days, but you’ll have to scan further than Google Arts and Culture to find it, so we asked net artists for help. Today, Lorna Mills tells us about the gif that launched a thousand works.

Advertisement
Lorna Mills, “Freedom Fries”
Gif: Lorna Mills

“I just want to wallow in extremely marginalized peculiarity”

Lorna Mills is the person who got me into net art. Her gifs maintain the beautiful integrity of the original file format while also staying true to the internet’s sleaze. Just picking at random, a Mills gif mosaic might include a finger sluicing melted chocolate in a cannoli, a piglet with fries on its head eating fries, acrobatic porn, a monster truck pile-up, all bouncing around in sync. Some simply drift through the recesses of not-quite-placable video, like a pair of legs swimming (because this is Mills, I checked to see if they were excerpted from the doodie scene in Caddyshack. It is not.) We’re all horndogs who need baby animals injected into our eyeballs, right now, immediately, yes—but the subtle statement I take away from all of this humping and exploding and meandering is that the internet is not an art gallery. It’s its own trove of materials, and Mills isn’t springing for the factory-made reaction gifs that people have plastered all over Twitter—more like dumpster diving through the internet’s grubby imagination and presenting her treasures.

Advertisement
Lorna Mills, “Sea Monsters”
Gif: Courtesy Lorna Mills

Speaking of treasures, Mills has co-curated a group show of social distancing-timed moving images titled “Well Now WTF?” Between over 80 artists in its various galleries (“rooms”) like “Clusterfuck Closet” and “Pants Optional,” it’s the kind of net art mixtape that comes around only once every few years, and it’s all bangers.

That show warrants more coverage. For now, Mills shares her first gem:

Although I had been using digital tools for most of the 90's, I really wasn’t interested in gifs at first because the early ones were made in graphic programs which I hate working with. But then I saw what Sally McKay was doing with video footage and I glimpsed at the potential for what I could do with photo and video as a base, while ignoring the original narrative and focusing on oscillation, compression and vibration in the picture plane.

Advertisement

My obsession with found gifs came from this piece that looked like a truck-bride from a Jane Campion movie desperately fleeing an unhappy marriage. It showed me an inane universe that I wanted to inhabit. Initially people would ask why I wanted to work with such an outdated file format and my response was that it was a very successful file format. (The current number of start-ups hosting gifs has proven me right.)

I spend at least an hour daily looking at GIFs through Reddit, Google+, Porn Fail and a bunch of Russian sites. I’m attracted to gratuitous Internet filth, car crashes, masturbating penguins and people wanking with plastic dolphins. My interests are in subcultures rather than pop culture. Pop culture references are almost always about success (that’s why they’re popular) so celebrity memes hold little appeal. I just want to wallow in extremely marginalized peculiarity, and obviously, I think the art world should wallow in there with me.

Advertisement

Previous editions of Net Art of the Day:

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Staff reporter, Gizmodo. wkimball @ gizmodo

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with the hands rubbing the heart balloon in front of a mouth that’s swishing around.... spit? Water? Something suspiciously urine-tinted?

The hamster jam session, on the other hand, is sorta cute.