Final Project: Documentation

Decision, Trial, Plan: 2 hours

I was afraid I’d be blindsided by this project when the time came to buckle down and pick something to do. Halfway through the semester, I began to brainstorm while writing the artist blog posts and working on each project. I had briefly explored different databending techniques for a digital studies project this past spring, and since we were given the option to re-imagine a previous assignment as a more ambitious piece, I decided to take the GIF assignment and utilize the effects Audacity and Wordpad provide.

I first tested this idea with my non manmade gif. I applied Audacity’s “Echo” effect frame by frame and stitched them back together in Photoshop.


After a successful trial, I had to decide what the subject/theme of the GIF series would be. I initially planned on renting a camera from the HCC as I had for the selfie project, but I managed to find a dark and dreamy fantasy film called Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. I decided that I wanted to see what kind of effect my project would have on the film’s tone.

Gathering Frames: 3 hours

I downloaded the movie and set out to collect the frames. To accomplish this, I customized and enabled the scene filter settings in VLC media player. This was my first attempt at extracting video frames, so it took a bit of time for me to fully understand what I was supposed to do. I thought I could fast forward through the movie to only record the scenes I wanted, and it took me way too long to realize that this wasn’t possible. Eventually, I edited the film with Windows Movie Maker to create a compilation of the clips I wanted. Once I played my edited video from start to finish in VLC, I finally extracted my frames. I went back to this step a few times to create new compilations of clips that I had previously overlooked.

Convert, Databend, GIF: 10 hours +

I’m not sure if there was an easier alternative to this method…if there was, I spent a lot of time not using it lol

I opened all of my frames into Photoshop, removed the black border, and exported my cropped layers as new BMP files. I then organized my workspace by grouping each set of frames by scene. Once I selected a scene to work with, I imported a frame into Audacity and experimented with various audio effects, adjusting the settings of an effect until I liked it. If I was sold, I moved on, importing the remaining frames one by one and applying the same effect to each. Each scene had about 20-60 frames, so I ended up dedicating anywhere between 45 minutes to 2 hours per GIF.

The element of unpredictability is what I really love about making glitch art. Audacity’s flexible effects kept me on my toes and motivated me to keep creating different GIFs, but after a certain point I began to lose that sense of surprise. I wanted more variety, so I decided to throw a few scenes through Wordpad and see how they turned out. I also attempted to learn how to datamosh. I used VirtualDub to convert my GIFs to AVI, then Avidemux to delete I-frames between two scenes. I think I installed the wrong version tho, so my results weren’t as interesting as others I’ve seen. But hey, I tried!

After spending well over 15 hours preparing, learning, and experimenting with different techniques, I produced 9 GIFs that I am proud to showcase as my final project.

Artist: Marco Brambilla

Marco Brambilla is a visual and installation artist famous for his re-contextualizations of well-known and found imagery. He is best known for his Megaplex trilogy and photo-realistic computer simulations of an Apollo launch. Brambilla is considered a pioneer of 3D technology.

His video collages are really impressive. I can’t imagine how much time and thought went into them. I found the gradual ascension from hell to heaven in “Civilization” pretty cool. The beginning scene reminded me of Mordor from The Lord of the Rings.  I found Brambilla’s description of “Ghost” interesting and powerful, as it was a deconstruction of the effects the public eye has on those subjected to its gaze/judgement.

Artist: Evan Roth

Evan Roth is an American artist based in Paris. His work explores the relationship between misuse, empowerment, and the effect that philosophies from hacker communities can have when applied to digital and non-digital systems. He is best known for creating prints, sculptures, videos and websites.

I find his work to resemble that of Jason Salavon. Roth’s hacker-artist philosophy is interesting to me. I understood hacking to be a form of internet deviance, and comparing that to art alters the viewer’s (possibly) negative perception. The titles for his work often compare traditional artforms to digital concepts; phones that “dance”, cached images that are a “nude self portrait”,  etc. Roth’s work sheds light on the interaction between user and technology, reminding us that the relationship we have with the digital world is quite intimate.

Artist: Sara Ludy

Sara Ludy is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work encompasses a variety of formats including photography, 3D, video, animated gifs, sound, digital image making and live performance. She often integrates virtual and physical domestic spaces.  The primary tools she uses are her iPhone and computer.

Like several of the digital artists we’ve covered, this is a woman of many talents. I loved navigating through the images in Low Prim. Rather than sectioning each group of photos via navigation menu, image links led me deeper and deeper into her collection of photographs, which captured a variety of different moments/subjects. It felt like her work was endless. The shapes, settings and forms that she creates range from fluid abstractions to virtual/physical realism.

Sara Ludy, “Blue Cloud Glass,” 2016

I couldn’t add the image here, but I really liked this Garden Gif (2011) from her Pan Gifs collection (2011-2013)

Artist: Takeshi Murata

Takeshi Murata is best known for creating digital art using video and computer animation techniques. From abstract distortion to representational animation, his work explores the possibilities that digital tools provide through the manipulation of color and form.

I really enjoy Murata’s work. Melter 2 reminds me of the paint scene in the film, The Pagemaster. The evolving sounds and colors prevent the viewer from looking away. I find the fluid movement in a lot of the videos soothing to watch. Murata’s dynamic animations blend real with the unreal.

Takeshi Murata, Escape Spirit Videoslime, 2007

Takeshi Murata with Billy Grant, Night Moves, 2012

Artist: Jodie Mack

Jodie Mack is an experimental animator. Her handmade films consist of animated collages made from recycled materials like photo negatives, magazines, and fabrics.

I tend to associate animation with narrative, so I couldn’t help but be mystified by Jodie Mack’s work. She fills the frame with bright colors and patterns that quickly transform. Though fun to watch, the constant motion and flashy patterns were slightly overwhelming at times.

The combination of clippings with noise gives every video a unique, spunky vibe. I’m inspired by her choice of materials. Jodie Mack explores animation outside of a traditionally narrative format, bringing life and energy to conventional objects.

Artist: Pipilotti Rist

Pipilotti Rist is a Swiss visual artist. She studied graphic design, illustration, and photography and is best known for working with video, film and moving images displayed as projections. Her installations feature various textures, forms, and functions of the living universe around us.

Rist’s work is mesmerizing. The lights, floral patterns, highly saturated colors and kaleidoscopic designs are very beautiful to look at. I especially love her installations that encourage viewers to immerse themselves into a completely new setting. The blending of random scenes with recognizable objects captivates the imagination and serves as an enjoyable break from the mundane.