Lorna Mills: Abrupt Diplomat at Transmediale 2k15

Lorna Mills, Untitled, Abrupt Diplomat, 2015.

A little write up of tonights opening conversation between Kristoffer Gansing, the artistic director of the Transmediale and Lorna Mills on Abrupt Diplomat, a solo exhibition by Lorna Mills at the Canadian Embassy.


Kristoffer Gansing: Can you say a bit more about the animated gif and its role in online cultures?

Lorna Mills: Well, first of all, the gif is just a file format. Its a bit absurd to think how the format gif has exploded over the last couple of years. I think it is because of social media and its inherent rules of theft and appropriation. There is no honour on social media as there is no honour in animated gifs (haha)

Kristoffer Gansing: Can you say something about your work in terms of Capture it all, the theme of this years Transmediale festival, how does the gif capture all? What is your inherent desire to capture these banal, looping still lives?

Lorna Mills: The format has its limits, but is at the same time ubiquitous. It mainly disassociates original images from their original context. I do not capture these gifs myself. They are already there, I just appropriate what I steal.

Unexpected woman in the middle of the audience: can I say something? This whole thing feels old fashioned! It is! It is old fashioned!

Lorna Mills: Well, we can talk about my work in terms of technological aesthetics .. Its true that I am definitely not an artist working with advanced 3D technology. Although I love the work of my online colleagues who do work in new 3D technologies, the compression of the animated gif is an aesthetic choice as material for my work. Besides that, I believe that the limitations of the format give me a lot of formal opportunities.

Kristoffer Gansing: Ok, well lets have more conversation and questions while browsing the actual works. I cant wait. Thank you very much.

Personally,  I really enjoyed browsing the new collection of 12 animated gifs by Mills and cannot agree with the critique of the woman. Of course the gif format is old and its aesthetic inevitably references the archaic era of dial up internet. However, as Mills mentioned herself, the resurgence of the file format in popular culture has brought the format way beyond the discourse of the tactical 90s into the spectacle of what  Cluster **** the platformed internet has become. Through these changes over the past 25 years, Mills work has always captured a very personal handwriting within her animated gif collages.

To judge her work by its technological aesthetics is short sighted, but in the perspective of a McLuhan salon exhibition maybe an almost inevitable course of dialogue, echoing an archaic era of simple medium art-talk.

Abrupt Diplomat by Lorna Mills is on display at the Embassy of Canada in Berlin, from 27 Jan until 1 Feb 2015. In this solo exhibition we are treated to 12 new GIF animations.