This Guy Has a Digital Tattoo Viewable Only by Cellphone
After a small incision, the minuscule implant was inserted into the fleshy part of the back of Antonellis’ hand, between the thumb and index finger. The chip, which is stored inside a glass capsule not much bigger than a single grain of rice, has 1 KB of storage space. Aside from a small, fading scar, you wouldn’t have any idea it was there. Hold your phone up to Antonellis’s hand, though, and its contents are revealed: a tiny animated GIF. This one, in fact.
As the old adage goes, one man’s trash may be another man’s treasure. See: Cloaque, a self-described “digital landfill”, celebrating the one year anniversary of its endless-scroll digital collage. The project is the brainchild of Claudia Maté and Carlos Sáez and one of the most imaginative and interesting uses of the tumblr platform to date. For the past 12 months, Cloaque has steadily featured a stream of virtual “installations,” if you will, from both up-and-coming innovators and net art favorites. Each artist’s contribution flows into the next, creating a seemingly infinite flow of twinkling blobs of color, dancing kittens, and weed references. Its style is rather loud and meshes well with its continuous form; if the “new aesthetic” was a nightclub, Cloaque would be the bubbly club kid in the corner clad in candy to the elbows mumbling something about PLUR.
In celebration of the project’s birthday, Cloaque departed from its usual mode of adding to the digital landfill by opting to feature a video rather than another digital assemblage. The collaborative video work features Chris Timms, Rollin Leonard, Jasper Elings, Anthony Antonellis and Emilio Gomariz with music by Yoshi Sodeoka. Cloaque.mov takes the style and energy apparent in the individual contributions to the tumblr page and makes it 3-D. The video composites animation and live action video which allows the sort of meta-commentary on the blurred division between the virtual and physical. Because of the [virtually] endless possibilities of virtual media, this theme has become a standard that isn’t likely to get tired anytime soon. Here we see Photoshop becoming Ouroboros, its image producing images that also produce images of itself. The visual tropes of hashtag culture also surface here. #Seapunks, rejoice! There are dolphins and seascapes! Sodeoka’s ambient soundtrack courts each artist’s imagery flawlessly and the addition of audio is definitely a treat for viewers. Cloaque.mov has the playful self-awareness of net culture and its trends that keep it delightful to visit regularly. The video fits right in with one of the most interesting experiments in art currently on the web and really leaves our mouths watering in anticipation of what Cloaque will do next.