Chris Kennedy

“twohundredfiftysixcolors”. December 5, 2013

dirs. Eric Fleischauer & Jason Lazarus | USA 2013 | 97 min. | video | silent

“GIF” was nominated as Word of the Year by the Oxford American Dictionary in 2012. Appropriately enough, Chicago artists Eric Fleischauer and Jason Lazarus spent that entire year harvesting a collection of thousands of GIFs to create twohundredfiftysixcolors, a riveting portrait of this newly resurgent file type. First created in 1987 as a highly compressed image format ideal for the slow download speeds of early modems, the Graphics Interface Format quickly gained popularity for its ability to contain multiple image animations in a single small file. For over a decade, the GIF was displaced as faster download speeds allowed for more complicated file types, but recent old-school revivalism has brought the GIF back to the future as the perfect low-tech vessel to disseminate today’s pop-culture memes.

Created from over 3,000 GIFs collected from the internet, Fleischauer and Lazarus’ encyclopaedic film liberates these images from the computer screen and compels us to consider them as part of our cinematic heritage, as a contemporary version of the nineteenth-century thaumatrope, the double-sided cards that people would twirl in their fingers to see animations—Victorian proto-cinema returning to haunt the digital age. Fleischauer and Lazarus create a stunning taxonomy out of their collection of contemporary cultural castaways, taking us through GIFs that are by turns hilarious, enervating, raunchy and sublime, all propelled by an exceptional attention to the edit point. This is found-object filmmaking at its most decadent, a witty structural gesture gilded with animated pizzas and Obama cartoons.

Eric Fleischauer and Jason Lazarus in person.

Co-presented with Gallery TPW.

Thursday, December 5 6:30pm