THE I HATE MYSELF PROJECT @TUMBLR
Real talk, this is a work in progress.
LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT IT IS
The I Hate Myself Project takes animated gifs and memes from the internet and recreates them in the physical sphere. The reproductions are then turned into gifs themselves and posted online alongside the original from which they were derived. The aesthetic of the reproductions: jank [homegrown]. Each gif loop in the reproductions also ends with an admission of imperfection.
This project is hosted on tumblr, where the original gifs were found and where exists the particular gif culture that inspired this project.
LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS
Honestly, I'm not sure. This idea was originally intended for a sculpture series, and I realize now that I had been relying heavily on the physical existence of the sculptural object to make this an interesting project. What is lost in the transferring of mediums? Is anything lost, or is it just my old-fashioned sensibilities that have difficulty in seeing the art object when it exists only digitally or as an experience?
And the making of The I Hate Myself Project was definitely something experiential. The concept I planned to explore with the sculptures was essentially the "what" that happens when the meme or the gif, which exists only within the digital (or more specifically, the online) sphere, is brought out into the tangible world. It could be that the romance of something is lost- having tried it for myself, there is nothing sexy about biting into a jeweled pendant. But more importantly, there are gifs circulated online thoughtlessly by people who would think twice before referencing it in "real life" due to the potential for meaningful confrontation brought about by face-to-face interaction. Specifically, asking my friend Jon to help me recreate the gif of the black man dancing with fried chicken was one of the most supremely uncomfortable experiences of my life despite my closeness with him and my having explained my reasoning. I had previously used that particular gif in a text post about McDonald's on my own tumblr.
Also, there is something pathetic about the reproductions that I believe led to the self-loathing text at the end of each sequence. Those aesthetic choices were made instinctively, and as of now, I don't have any concrete rationale for them. I had been thinking about the making of a gif as artistic vs. non-artistic during my process as I was undertaking similar work as people who make gifs for fun or for use as "reaction gifs." I find the reaction gif culture to be an interesting one, where one relies on pre-existing footage to best express one's emotional state, usually in an ironic, self-pitying, or simply hilariously exaggerated manner. It is a distancing contrivance, separating its user from the sentiments he/she intends to express. Perhaps recreating an otherwise funny gif with tongue-in-cheek expressions of irony and self-pity serve to critique this contrivance- but then again, by calling my own gifs a critique and an art object as opposed to the reaction gif as a reaction gif, I am introducing another level of contrivance. Perhaps the self-loathing is a genuine sentiment on my part, a comment on the futile gesture of spending time to make these art contrivances that end up only being self-referential.
TL;DR: I'm considering this project as a start to something larger, and in continuing to expand on it, I am hoping to encounter the elusive ideas I feel exist somewhere within it.
some possible directions:
I opened submissions on The I Hate Myself Project tumblr, and I plan on inviting people to recreate their own gifs to experience the process themselves.
my little pony
Paula Deen riding on things
epic sax guy // "Run Away" as performed by SunStroke Project
PTSD clarinet boy
JFK assassination by Clint Eastwood
Ken Jeong chink commentary
lots more cats