The digital file type GIF, short for Graphics Interchange Format, was developed by CompuServe computer scientist Steve Wilhite in 1987 and remains an important part of our of digital consumption. A natural evolution for the Swiss duo Linus Bill + Adrien Horni was an enquiry into the moving image and thus the choice of the GIF a file type that exists somewhere between image and video. With the first showing of this new series, Bill and Horni?s interest in image hierarchy, chronology and value adds an extra dimension by exploring image diffusion and proliferation in our time.
Installed in the gallery are three large LED panels streaming through a randomised algorithm of inexhaustible ?moving paintings?1. A catalogue of erratic ever-changing luminous tableaux absorb our attention by carefully never allowing us to linger too long on any single image. Alike in scale to the artist?s preferred painting format (vertical and 2 metres tall) one might confuse these new works for paintings except for their impossibly bright pulsations, the panels are even hung like a painting exhibition reinforcing the themes of their previous series. Bill and Horni are known to reproduce paintings of great scale from the pages of small books; here with the LED pixel displays perfectly matching the resolution of the GIFs, they expand what we see on handheld screens eliciting a corporal response to our bodies at full height.
Bill and Horni continue their exploration of indexing, amassing an archive of over almost 3000 GIFs created in tandem with a free and un-precious energy over the past year edited to a selection of 500. The artists delight in both the possibilities and restrictions of the smart phone – sharing the digital artworks back and forth, adding and subtracting imagery using available domestic applications, incorporating the libraries, stickers and pre-formats the software provides. Hosted on a private website, the digital files churn away on the cloud – their native habitat. Whether created during a lockdown or not, Bill and Horni work at a distance, albeit the other side of Biel/Bienne in the east of Switzerland, and the efficiency of file transferral by email is inherent. The idea of a ?lossless? or efficient digital file that reduces data size without losing resolution is challenged when the GIF is exploded to 2 metres tall.
We might imagine we are witnessing the inner machinations of the social networking organisations (where we are most likely to find GIFs) that viscously attempt, and undoubtedly succeed, to monopolise our attention, yet these moving paintings are joyful to witness and expose the exponential advances in technology against the relatively static body and brain evolution of humans during the same time period. At this unnatural scale we are exposed to the micro-data, the DNA, of billions of dollars of tech research and data-mining that prove the power of these tools to exploit our eyes and minds into digesting the saccharine concoctions of the world?s most powerful media distribution networks such as Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. The unseen digital information is now exposed as if it were the fine texture of fabric seen under a microscope, revealing the inner workings of our numeric parallel dimension.