Bill Domonkos’ Strange and Formidable Gifs
Shortening the distance between the birth of films and the Internet, Domonkos creates a completely new, aesthetic and an odd world.
Sometimes the best way to view modern technology is by fusing it with its predecessors. Bill Domonkos, a filmmaker and animator based in Oakland, California, is doing precisely that. By creating GIFs using old photographs and shots from old films, he creates a magic trick of sorts, which cancels the space between classic films and the Internet.
I am interested in the absurd, as well as moments of sublime beauty, to renew and transform materials, experiences, and ideas. The extraordinary thing about the moving image is its ability to suggest the ineffable–something that cannot or should not be expressed in words. It is this elusive quality that informs my work.
Domonkos has worked in the Internet games industry and has created interactive projects for several different clients. His personal works however, which has been internationally shown in cinemas, galleries and museums are significantly more experimental and definitely more ominous.
Domonkos’ latest GIFs are assembled using different old archives; they have a creepy quality but they are also romantic and oneiric. The GIF format has a very peculiar element: continuity ad infinitum, which is something that repeats itself but is never the same. In this way the observer pays attention to a single detail that under any other circumstances would have been lost in the narrative succession. Gertrude Stein would say that “Repetition is a way of feeling the Earth”.
I view my work as a collision and recombination of ideas. My process unfolds gradually and spontaneously —using found materials such as archive film footage, photographs, and the Internet. I experiment by combining, altering, editing, and reassembling using digital technology, special effects, and animation to create a new kind of experience.
When we see these creations that perpetually go on before our eyes, we are drawn in by their seductive and hypnotizing character. “A GIF is time, not only repetition, but a continuation of what would otherwise be a very short video,” the artist concludes.
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