My Intimate, Indispensable GIF, for theartassignment: My Brain

My brain controls everything I am, everything I do, and everything I feel. All of my thoughts, all of my memories. All of the love, all of the pain, all of the happiness, all of the sadness. It is the most intimate and most indispensable part of me. It is the center of my existence, but it is so rarely seen (which is probably a good thing).

In 2006, I volunteered to have an MRI scan as part of a medical research study at the University of British Columbia, where I was earning my (first) master’s degree. A CD of images of my brain was way better compensation than money.

Intimate, indispensible GIF: My Grandfather died at the end of January this year. One of my fondest memories is he would take me rock hunting, he would always keep the rocks and no one really ever thought to ask why. After he passed away we found out what he was doing with them. He had made them into little statues and painted them. They were all labeled for each of the grandchildren. These are the two he made for me, with them were a note: “Don’t forget to laugh”. I keep them close and when I am missing Grandpa I will sit and talk with them. I love them.


In case you don’t follow The Art Assignment yet (and you should, you really should), here is our most recent episode with Toyin Odutola. 

Currently mulling over what my own GIF is going to be. Watch the video, and then make your own and post it online using #theartassignment!

Intimate, Indispensable GIF

I’ve had these pictures taken for months and then the photoshop I had was too outdated to be able to make gifs and then the end of my semester, but now, behold! My first gif! Done for The Art Assignment’s third assignment.

I don’t get to play my bass as much as I’d like to anymore, but it’s still absolutely indispensable to me. I love music and I love bass and I barely have any words to describe what it means to me. Following music also lead me to the path I’m on now. A path that I am incredibly excited about. When taking these pictures I wanted to be certain that they would all be from my perspective, what I see when I play.


It’s Intimate, Indispensable GIF day! Here are some highlights from the many fantastic GIFs that have come in so far. 

And we’ll be featuring more on tumblr today. 

Oh, and if you haven’t seen Toyin Odutola’s Art Assignment episode, you should watch that first!

This is my Intimate, Indispensable gif. I chose pictures from my summer at a sleep over camp as a counsellor. It’s pretty clear from the photos who was most important to me and I am so pleased that I shared a summer with them.

Finally I got this to work. Took me so long to pick these pictures and get them in gif form. Relatively pleased with how it turned out.

Thanks to The Art Assignment for giving me a reason to look back at my past summer and reminisce about the phenomenal times I had. 

please click on image to view animation!

Intimate, Indispensable GIFThe Art Assignment

The moment Toyin named the assignment my mind sprung immediately to water.

The notion of connection to water is, I think, a natural one. We, as people, rely upon it. It is what our Earth is covered with and it is what we ourselves are made up of.
But those are not truths of intimacy, nor are they the realities of indispensability. Or, at least, not the ones that I mean in this particular context, haha.

Whenever I am upset or suffering panic or anxiety—when I am scared or lonesome or overwhelmed—my response, for as long as I can remember, has been to find solace in water.
Be it in the sea, a lake, a swimming pool—as a last resort a bathtub, even—the feeling of submerging myself in water has always been a therapeutic one.

It seems a bit counterintuitive, biologically speaking, to feel most at home when you can’t actually breathe, but it’s how my mind has always worked.
I’m not sure if it’s the feeling of weightlessness, or the dulled quiet that it brings, but something about the experience of diving and, for a moment, allowing myself to float in the water, not touching or seeing or thinking—is entirely invaluable to me.

To merely exist, hovering and still, as though within a gentle void.
That is intimate, and that is indispensable to me.

{ full view }

3. Intimate, Indispensable GIF

I don’t think I was being terribly creative with this GIF. I’m kind of in a rut in terms of creating things at the moment. The biggest message from Toyin Odutola that sunk in was the “if I could do it, with serious laziness, you can do it” part of it. The “fun and easy” part of it. Because I’m definitely feeling lazy (and sleepy) lately.

I thought about what would be most intimate and indispensable to me, and it always comes down to a few things, including introspection, body image, and art/creation.

So, what I did here was set up my tripod (actually it’s broken so I rubber banded my camera to the mount since I have misplaced the mount… yikes) and videotaped myself. What we have here are 8 frames of gestural sketches of me moving around in my studio, and apparently trying to keep my head attached to my body. 8 frames for a typical 8 beat phrase in dance, 8 frames for the lucky number 8 in my family’s culture (I’m Chinese, thanks for wondering). 8 frames because that’s a small enough number to draw and photograph and crop and animate and upload without giving myself a headache, or a chance to be distracted and give up. 

Making small things is the first step. Hopefully it’ll be a catalyst for me to continue making things (especially since I’m running out of posts).

Art Assignment #3 Intimate, Indispensable Gif

I love reading, so I chose a few of my favorite books and put them together into a gif.



This GIF was created for @theartassignment, and was featured on their youtube highlights reel for assignment #3. The assignment, Intimate, Indispensable GIF, was set by artist Toyin Odutola.

Originally posted on my blogspot and personal tumblr. The Art Assignment sets a new creative task each week. #3 was set by New York artist Toyin Odutola. Watch the video here. This is my response to her call for gifs representing what the artist considers intimate and indispensable. My gif is an expression of my need for space///time///living alone///a wall between me and the world///privacy///stillness amongst chaos///a sacred space///sanctuary. Featured:


You created these incredible GIFs to capture what was intimate and indispensable to you. They were the first GIFs many of you had ever made, and they turned out fantastic: 

1. everythingsshinycaptainn:
2. qwirksilver:
3. Meg:
4. musicboxgirl:
5. Jaymii:
6. Eefje:
7. Danielle:
8. mundaneepiphanies:
9. gryffindork19:
10. Alex:

See More

Intimate, Indispensable GIF:
This is my first GIF and was done as part of The Assignment Art #3. I thought about what I couldn’t do without and the idea of doing something with food came to me. How can you get more intimate and indispensable than something that literally becomes a part of you. What made me choose “spices” was that it has always set me apart from a lot of my peers; as someone who loves spicy food.

I got to thinking about of the history of these seasonings and how essential they were in shaping human experimentation. Spice is ancestral and creative. And also spices allow me to leave my imprint on an integral element of one’s survival: food.

It would have been easy to just have a slab of meat and softened veges every for the last 10,000 years. But spice changed all that to make food an experience of aromas, sensations and innovations. I love spicy food, without it food could’ve been wayyyyy boring.