Digital and video art are still emerging art forms, and art GIFs are brand new, but artists like Erdal Inci are clearly having a blast exploring their potential. Based in Turkey, Inci layers short captures of video into seamless, endless loops. Historic and ancient locations come alive with ghostly flows of light, and streets are filled with men endlessly stumbling.
I have a soft spot for artists that examine digital media. (Cait Willis is a prime example.) I also love visual echoes, from M.C. Escher to chronophotography to Michael Langan’s “Choros” (which you must see if you have not yet), because such echoes break down movement, performance and time itself in a more apprehensible way. Inci’s beautiful work does all of this in bite-sized, infinite loops that last a minute but can hold your attention and induce meditation as time itself seems to disappear.
A medium is often used to its best effect when it accomplishes what only that medium can do. In the case of looped imagery, it is to capture cyclical time and repetition without tedium setting in. In Inci’s more abstract works, the flow of time itself seems to be visualized. And where there are identifiable human figures stumbling and prancing in and endless parade, there needn’t be commentary—but my mind can’t help turning to ideas of simultaneity, self and the serial folly of human history, generation by generation.
GIFS are the visual lingua franca for online interactions, now. From now on, when I find myself in one of those political debates wherein misunderstandings of tone and unassailable dogma have created an endless loop of butt-hurt and frustration, happening all over the world, all the time—I think I might rely on one of Inci’s GIFs instead. There are plenty to choose from below and from his Tumblr.