twohundredfiftysixcolors 2013 (97:00)
twohundredfiftysixcolors is an experimental feature length film made entirely of animated .gif's that traces the file format's arc of increased complexity and pointed use since it was introduced in 1987.
Crafted from over 3,000 animated GIFs, twohundredfiftysixcolors is an expansive and revealing portrait of what has become a zeitgeist medium. Once used primarily as an Internet page signpost, the file type has evolved into a nimble and ubiquitous tool for pop-cultural memes, self-expression, and artistic gestures. The film is a curated archive that functions as a historical document charting the GIF's evolution, its connections to early cinema, and its contemporary cultural and aesthetic possibilities.
EXCERPT FROM twohundredfiftysixcolors
Eric Fleischauer is a Chicago–based artist, curator, and educator. Working in video, film, and digital mediums Fleischauer utilizes conceptually–driven production strategies in order to examine the ramifications of technology’s expansive influence on both the individual and cultural sphere. His work has been exhibited internationally at venues including The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, threewalls, Interstate Projects, Rooftop Films, Microscope Gallery, Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Kunstmuseum Bonn, and is included in the Midwest Photographer's Project collection at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Currently he teaches in the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Jason Lazarus is a Chicago-based artist, curator, educator, and writer. His practice includes photography, installation, video, public 'live-archive' projects that question the contemporary role of the image and lens as destructive and generative filters. Lazarus’s work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the Art Institute of Chicago, MassMOCA, the Renaissance Society (Chicago), PPOW Gallery (NYC), Future Gallery (Berlin), SF Camerawork, Mona Bismarck Foundation Cultural Center (Paris), and Studio B (Tokyo). His work is in the collections of the MCA Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the Milwaukee Museum of Art among others.
Theodore Darst (curatorial assistant) is an artist based in Chicago, IL. His video, prints, and interactive digital environments have been exhibited at numerous venues including The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), The Museum of the Moving Image (NYC), 319 Scholes (NYC), bubblebyte.org (online) and the Miami Beach Cinematheque. He is currently a HATCH Projects Artist in Residence at the Chicago Artist's Coalition.
**** A brief note about the acquisition process behind twohundredfiftysixcolors.
In order to represent the breadth, diversity, and spirit of the GIF, the filmmakers employed a three tiered approach for acquisition. First, a multitude of cultural producers (gif-makers, filmmakers, artists, designers) were contacted asking for submissions of original and/or found gifs. The invitation encouraged recipients to pass along the email to others they thought should contribute to the project, or would be interested in participating – an approach both viral in style and rhizomatic in spirit. Second, an open call to the public for original and found gifs was extended without restriction. Third, Fleischauer, Lazarus, and curatorial assistant Theodore Darst were perpetually collecting and organizing gifs during the two years of production.
This mode of acquisition was driven both by chance (encountering the stream of gifs emerging daily online) as well as by specific ideas that emerged as the film’s “narrative” arc evolved and it's structure solidified.
More than anything, this project aims to situate the public’s ambition, imagination, intelligence, and wit as instrumental in driving this new fold within the long tradition of moving image history. Without their efforts this project would not be possible.