25.02.15 by Prosthetic Knowledge

How Canada pioneered the GIF event, bringing net art away from the desktop and into a show

sheroes sheroes sheroes

If there was one digital medium that caught the attention of the online public in the past five years or so, it is obviously the Graphical Interchange Format, commonly referred to as the GIF. Initially employed as a file format for simple animations, over time it became the medium of choice for many artists and creatives to present their work thanks to improved bandwidths and easier storage on social media platforms.

Over the past year or so we have seen GIF art implemented in mainstream gallery spaces such as The Museum of Moving Image or Tate Britain’s 1840s GIF Party, or by way of Augmented Reality, presenting works at physical spaces through a smartphone device via barcodes, such as Rua Red’s Glitch Festival or GIF Art blog 15 Folds exhibition at the Lyst Gallery.

Back in 2012 the Photographers Gallery, London, was smart enough put together a major show about the format ‘Born In 1987‘, but before this all became fashionable in the art world, an organizer and artist from Toronto saw the potential of integrating this format into real-world events and collaborated with another artist whose medium of choice is the GIF itself, curating a collection of works created on a computer by artists from around the world, and projected on walls to accompany the surroundings.

The show was called ‘Sheroes’, a monthly event started in 2011 to 2012 that each month focused on female pop-icons ranging from Nina Simone, Erykah Badu, Yoko Ono, Madonna, Dusty Springfield or Dolly Parton, a range of artists whose distinct talents enriched pop culture, a “League of Legendary Ladies”. Here I will talk to Rea McNamara and Lorna Mills about the origins of this emerging scene and how it all started.

Sheroes - Rea McNamara

Rich Oglesby: What was the spark of inspiration that started this idea of GIF art into real world events?

Rea McNamara: The spark of inspiration was creating a public context for internet-based ideas and art, which is continuing in some of the cultural programming I do as the assistant curator at the Drake Hotel.

Lorna Mills: Totally Rea’s idea, she was already organizing the first Sheroes events and she approached me asking if I thought it was a good idea to invite gif artists we were seeing on Google+.

RO: Could this be considered a modern implementation of the DIY punk spirit, that it came from groundroots necessity?

RM: Yes, it could be compared to that.

LM: Sheroes ran on a shoestring budget, all money coming out of Rea & Tony [Halmos]’s pockets, couldn’t pay artists fees, but Rea was amazing at getting brilliant performers to do short sets for free as well

RO: Were you aware of any similar projects like this before you started your own events?

LM: There was BYOB, but it was totally different than what we were doing. Sheroes had clear themes and it was curated and part of a larger visual and performance event.

RM: BYOB and Speed Shows. But Like Lorna said, we had a curatorial focus and the works were shown alongside performances, bands, DJs, site-specific installations. It was, after all, a party.

Sheroes - Dolly Parton by Andrew Benson

RO: Did this idea come about by yourself, or were there others involved?

RM: The core team was Lorna, Tony, Alvaro Giron and I. We had many, many collaborators, who you read about further here.

RO: Taking into account the range of international talent you got involved in the project, how was this done?

LM: I worked with lots of people I had never met except thru social media, the first group was small and they were all so enthusiastic about doing it again that I just built up the numbers, always expanding the artist list. In the context of Sheroes, where people were in a room watching performances and socializing, it made sense to have as many artists being projected as I could work with. So we started with 6 artists and gradually expanded to over 50 artists.

RO: How do you feel about how established institutions are doing something similar today?

RM: Artist fees and access to proper AV support is fantastic. There’s a broad and diverse audience that wants to engage with artwork in this context. It’s also really interesting how these institutions are programming these events within broader outreach and fundraising initiatives. This internal evaluation report for the Tate’s 1840 GIF Party talks about how it was a project created to promote their online collection, and inviting a mass audience to participate and engage with it. But it also talks about how many of the artists requested better visible representation for their involvement, or were disappointed to see their works shown on TV screens. At the end of the day, these events are a form of exhibition making.

LM: I think it’s great that institutions are programming events like we did. Especially if they pay artist fees and provide good projection equipment.

RO: After the Sheroes project was completed, what happened afterwards? Did you take something from the experience into subsequent work?

LM: After Sheroes was done, I have found it very easy to work with large amounts of artists as long as the technical structures were clearly defined, so Anthony and I curated “When Analog was Periodical” for zBar in Berlin, then I curated “Clusterfuck Zoo” for my closing event at Transfer Gallery in 2013, as well as David Bowie themed GIFs for the opening of “David Bowie is” at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

RO: And lastly, continuing from the last question, what are you currently involved in? Also, are there any similar projects happening that have caught your eye?

LM: Currently I am working on Episode 4 of my four part curatorial project “Ways of Something” a remake of John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing”. It’s a bit more complicated technically and logistically since I am dealing with digital video this time, but again, like the mass GIF projects, the technical parametres are clearly defined. I’m very practical when it comes to wrangling a lot of artists.

Lots of similar projects, Anthony Antonellis did the incredibly popular Xmas GIFwrapping project, and there is 15folds in the UK, a version of that went to the Serpentine. Whippersnapper Gallery in Toronto are doing GIF projections on their storefront windows. I’m pretty sure that there are more than I know about at this point.

Thank you Rea and Lorna! If you’d like to find out more about the Sheroes project, you can visit the Sheroes Tumblr here, Google Plus archive here, or at Rea’s website here.

[Image Credits for works featured in documentation (from top to bottom): Tony Halmos ‘Grace Jones’ and ‘Madonna’ and ‘Dolly Parton’, Rea McNamara herself, and ‘Dolly Parton’ by Andrew Benson]

Prosthetic Knowledge
Rich Oglesby is the UK-based creator of the art and technology blog, Prosthetic Knowledge.

23.05.17 by Jeff

Akira Epic Comic Covers

Came across this great archive of Katsuhiro Otomo’s art and put together a little selection of my favourite Epic Comics Akira covers. More images below.

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23.05.17 by Jeff

LG Partners With Parsons School for Design

LG is partnering with leading design institutions to provide their new 34″ UltraWide monitors to help students studying architecture and design work more efficiently. The dimensions are eye-catching at 21:9 and the design actually curves around the user, offering as much real estate for visual information as possible.

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23.05.17 by Jeff

Photographer Spotlight: Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

A selection of images from “Theaters” by photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre. More images below.

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23.05.17 by Jeff

Kutcorners for OURO Collective

OURO Collective – photo by Teppei Tanabe


This week Vancouver-based dance collective OURO is debuting their first full-length show “Tangent” at the Orpheum’s Annex theatre (May 25th/26th), and we are proud to be a media partner for the event. If you’re looking for some creative inspiration come check this out, we’ll be at both shows! Tickets are going quick, so if you’re interested get tickets HERE!

Yesterday we shared a clip of OURO’s rehearsal footage (watch here) and today we have an interview with Kutcorners, who created three original tracks for “Tangent”. The New Zealand-born, Vancouver-based producer is one half of LIVE EVIL, the guys that made all those amazing live mixes we featured over the years (watch one here). You can stream or download the music Kutcorners created for OURO on Spotify, iTunes, and Bandcamp.


Vancouver producer, Kutcorners – photo by Hana Pesut


Jeff Hamada: How would you describe the music you make?

Kutcorners: This is always a hard question, because I actually like to make many different types of music. But ultimately things under “Kutcorners” usually are a derivative of R&B music, old or new, with a twist.

I sometimes say I make “pop” music, but my music isn’t really that popular in the traditional sense. More like “pop art” really.

Jeff Hamada: I like the idea that it’s pop art. Who are some of the artists influencing you right now?

Kutcorners: Mura Masa, Toro Y Moi or Les Sins, Caribou, Dj Dahi, Knxwledge, Pomo, Kaytranada, U-Tern (Oliver), Nosaj Thing, Prince and MJ will inspire me forever.


If you don’t have Spotify you can listen to the tracks here.


Jeff Hamada: Had you ever collaborated with dancers prior to this project with OURO?

Kutcorners: No, this is the first time and I hope to do more of it.

Jeff Hamada: That would be cool to see an on-going thing. How would you describe the work that they’re creating?

Kutcorners: I would describe it as a melange of disciplines coming together to form a modern take on traditional dance performance. It’s very refreshing and inspiring work.

Jeff Hamada: Can you talk a little bit about the experience of watching their rehearsals and then turning that into sounds?

Kutcorners: Well, we talked a lot about sounds they like when they rehearse, which gave me inspiration to draw from idea I had started already, and also on some new arrangements.

Getting people to describe sounds they like can be quite hard, because people hear sounds and articulate them differently from person to person. It’s fun to hear how we all describe the sounds we like and how they affect movement.



Jeff Hamada: Did this experience offer any sort of new perspective on your work?

Kutcorners: Yeah, it showed me that I make movements in music too quick! It’s more effective to use little sounds and build things slowly rather than to cram everything in to a 3-minute song.

Dance is very much related to how music works and why it’s made. In retrospect, I would have benefitted from dancing more in my life. It really helps connect you to the physical side of music, which is so important when creating it.

Jeff Hamada: What things are you working on now?

Kutcorners: I’m working on making more original music for my own releases, which I plan to put out on record and online. Working with singers too, to help bring these instrumentals to life.


Kutcorners on Bandcamp

Kutcorners on Soundcloud

Kutcorners on Instagram

OURO Collective Website

OURO Collective on Instagram

23.05.17 by Staff

Los Angeles Warehouse Transformed into a 150,000 Square Foot Art Exhibition

British artist Simon Birch and a team of 20 collaborators have constructed an elaborate series of interconnected installations in a vacant warehouse on the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles. Covering 3 acres of space with a mix of sculpture, video, paintings and performance pieces, the exhibition is a direct response to the current political climate. A celebration of creativity, diversity and unity, Birch explains: “Given the current fragile state of the world, we need unity more than ever… and we need action.”

While encouraging positivity, possibility and a safe space for people to come together, The 14th Factory is exactly that — a call to action that doesn’t shy away from provoking a response (or at least an Instagram photo). One installation is an exact replica of the iconic room from 2001: A Space Odyssey, while another is filled with 300 pitchforks hanging from the ceiling above the guests!

Check out more images from the project below or on display at 440 N. Ave 19 Los Angeles, California until May 31.

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