Paris-based American artist Evan Roth (b. 1978) re-appropriates public space, popular culture, and digital techniques to create surprising and illuminating works both on and off the Internet. Museum of the Moving Image is currently presenting a new installation by Roth, entitled A Tribute to Heather, comprised of ten large-scale animated GIFs, commissioned by the Museum. Each work will be exhibited as a 50-foot long projection in the Museum's lobby for a full day on a two-week cycle. The installation, which opened on February 27, will be on view through June 30, 2013.
These works are part of Roth's ongoing series, One Gif Compositions. For each Composition, Roth embeds a single animated GIF in a website hundreds of times to produce a rich tapestry of color and motion. The URL of each one serves as its title, describing the repeated animation and the background color. Because file load times vary every time a One Gif Composition website is accessed, each viewing is unique.
The ten animations in A Tribute to Heather-including wilting flowers, spinning space shuttles, and galloping deer-were sourced from Heathers Animations, a sprawling hand-coded archive of 90s-era animated GIFs and background images operated by its elusive namesake, Heather. Founded in 1999, the site maintains the ethos of the early web, eschewing author attribution and copyright concerns to offer a wandering taxonomy of thousands of downloadable images.
"Evan Roth's delightful interventions and hacker's approach to art-making exemplify the innovative ingenuity that the Museum celebrates," says Associate Curator of Digital Media Jason Eppink, who organized the installation. "These stunning new works provide a perfect entry into the Museum's ever expanding approach to the moving image."
Museum of the Moving Image has been presenting a series of lobby installations that make use of animated GIFs in surprising and innovative ways. Recent installations include We Tripped El Hadji Diouf: The Story of a Photoshop Thread (April 17-May 22, and June 15-October 14, 2012), a curated selection of creative and humorous crowd-sourced GIFs that fill in a tale about what tripped a professional soccer player; and Under Construction (December 4, 2012-February 24, 2013), hundreds of animated GIFs sourced from personal websites hosted by GeoCities, the popular web service that shut down in 2009.