Phone Arts – Publication Review

By Maddy Plimmer

Did you know you can get a drawing application on your phone?

Did you know you could makes .gifs on your phone?

Did you know you could make 3D rendered animations on your phone?

Well, does and have created a site for the publication of art made in your little portable studio.  The sole purpose of the user-contributed blog is to display art works made on cellphones. The resulting artworks range from simple abstract digital paintings, to the rather more complicated 3D .gifs. It is a celebration of easily accessible technology, and an exploration of its limitations (or rather, lack of).

It was founded by Guillaume Hugon and Daniel Littlewood. The blog exists on a tumblr-built site, but it has its own domain name and favicon, which gives the website a sense of professionalism.  It still however allows for people to follow the posts via their tumblr dashboard. Only some of the works are credited to the artist, which seems inconsistent, and perhaps doesn’t embrace the spirit of the using of a widely accessible technology and making it possible for users to submit work. Only known artists seem to be named as contributors almost as if to elevate their work in relation to the non-credited works, which are simply labeled “submissions.”  However, it is not known whether or not these submissions have been made anonymously, and therefore they would be unable to credit the artist.

I like the celebrative exploration of cell phone technology, however I feel the layout of the blog could reflect this more by giving each piece more white space around it.  The layout is somewhat cramped and cluttered, which is heightened but the variation in size and shape of the art works. Overall, I am drawn to the concept of the site but I would be happier to see the presentation be altered to give the works more space and perhaps even some captions on the images.



Screenshot from Tom Hancocks, “Idle Self” (2013)

By Maddy Plimmer

If there’s one thing that contemporary art could always use more of, it’s gifs. Short, looping animations without sound, how can you go wrong? Ani Gif is an online gallery that exhibits solely gif-based artworks. These exhibitions take many forms. Tom Hancock’s exhibition “Idle Self” (2013) was presented in a 3D rendered gallery, with 3D animated kinetic sculptures in every room. This is a more literal depiction of an “online exhibition,” with all the rooms having white walls, and the online location being tied to a virtual building, but it is mixed with the impossible, and exploring what could never be achieved in a physical gallery. With floating sculptures and a hole in the floor that infinitely sprays out pink metallic fluid it explores the potential of an online gallery, whilst still referencing the institution.

However, Eva Papamargariti, in her exhibition “and here where are we now?” (2014) took a different approach. It consists of a complex spinning composition of objects and floating islands, all in grey-scale. When clicked on, another smaller spinning composition in lurid colours pops up in a square window. This exhibition follows a similar mode for display as Hancock’s take on the online gallery the idea being that there is a large ‘space’ that can be explored through clicking, though she has abstracted past the point where it could be fully placed in a physical area. This fully embraces the potential of an online exhibition space, blending the space between site and art, and finding new ways of displaying art that don’t rely on white walls and the institution.

ani gif 2Screenshot from Eva Papamargariti, “and here where are we now?” (2014)

The rest of the exhibitions mostly employ a more straightforward method for presenting their work. Sylvain Sailly, Alex Bond, and Jeff Donaldson’s contributions all use a similar tactic of a large pattern gif occupying the whole screen, when clicked reveals the next large pattern gif.  This more simple, uncomplicated and direct approach to presenting the gifs makes the computer window the site or perhaps the frame to the work. The website, becomes site enough without having to reference physical space. After all, it is open to the public on an international level and isn’t restricted by physics or great expense; the white cube seems more obsolete everyday.