Usually, my work takes place in the technical environment of 3d software and video post production. In 2019, however, I discovered a fairly straightforward, uncomplicated and quick way to make animations by using the standards and limitations of the Instagram stories feature.

It all started with me identifying the ‘black hole’ emoji as the perfect portal for time- and space-travel within the research framework of 16th century Flemish tapestries. I had some woven at the Textile Museum of Tilburg in The Netherlands, based on a novel that took place in the area’s 16th century. Emblems and miniatures are late-Medieval depictions that often combine text to rebus-like constellations, or attempt to explain divine relationships and alchemist formulas.

Oddly, the Instagram stories feature was the perfect medium to construct contemporary versions, resulting in a series of ultrashort animations, built with prefab emoji and stickers that are pulled from the Giphy database.

At a certain point, I started to miss some relevant symbols and pictograms, so I began my own Giphy artist account and uploaded a selection of .gifs, which originated often as leftovers of video installation or never-ending animation projects.

The Giphy account turned out to be extremely successful, mostly thanks to one or two stickers of #unicorns that were part of my collection. Rainbow unicorns, to be precise. I was working with late Medieval imagery and tapestries after all.

This venture was documented in a post, which never really got finished, but is found here. The post is called 195.1 million views, because in the 7 or 8 months the Giphy artist account was active, my stickers accumulated that many views. This is quite a lot, but if you’re – like me – from the ‘art world’ and used to maybe 12 visitors a day for an exhibition, this is nothing short of baffling.

Anyway, I quit the account when it became clear Facebook was taking over Giphy, and I hated the idea of making free content for Facebook (…), so it’s gone now. What’s left is a series of 52 ultrashort emblemata animations, of which a selection was made into a video art work shown in the physical world on an open-frame LCD screen (see here), and which are now my first steps into the world of the NFT.

On hicetnunc.xyz – which I chose because of their much more environmentally sound use of the Tezos as currency – I’m minting the animations as a series of collectable .gifs, resembling playing cards or even Tarot cards. At the moment of writing there are 20 of them, within the next few weeks the rest will follow.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or remarks, don’t hesitate to contact me.

alexandracrouwers.com | theappealoftheunreal.com | twitter | instagram

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