What does a “Graphics Interchange Format” (GIF) mean to you? Commonly, it might conjure up images of trivial, funny tidbits of internet culture.
But for artist Gustavo Torres (aka Kidmograph), his work in GIFs and digital art pushes the limits of the medium. According to his website bio, Kidmograph is an art director, motion designer and illustrator from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He works in a variety of online media, including music videos and live visuals for artists like Justin Bieber and Tiesto, GIFs and digital art.
Telling Vice that his digital art exists somewhere in between reality and the virtual world, Kidmograph’s retro-futuristic animations are influenced by Sci-Fi elements of the 80s and 90s. His work seems to elicit both a sense of nostalgia and, simultaneously, a sense of impossibility and surrealism.
Kidmograph’s mesmerizing GIFs are simply loops of several individual frames. Yet, they seem to defy mediums and categorization. They lie somewhere between animation and still art, between reality and fantasy.
"My main idea is that. Combine reality and my aesthetic in a way that blends seamlessly. Not hyperreal, but something in the middle, generating some kind of confusion in the spectator," explains Kidmograph for Vice.
In a way, the mutable qualities of Kidmograph’s digital art reflect the nature of internet culture in itself. Both are beyond static, concrete definitions. Both are dynamic and ever-changing. We might say that the dizzying, anxiety-inducing qualities of Kidmograph’s GIFs reflect the whiplash of adapting to the exponential rate at which the Internet and internet culture has grown.
Kidmograph’s work seems to leverage these rapid changes in the internet and technology as a whole. With his recent release of his own NFTs as well as his reach in the music video production world, his work is well adapted to a world of digital art where viewership is determined by clicks, headlines and repostability.
In a world driven by the constant changes in technology, how do we ensure that creatives do not get left behind? While Kidmograph might arguably represent a success story of an artist whose work thrives and coexists with internet culture, there might be artists who are not so lucky — in virtue of their medium’s incompatibility or a lack of accessibility. As outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, fostering equitable innovation in technology is crucial for a sustainable society.
Particularly, we must strive to improve universal and affordable access to the Internet when it is today an invaluable resource and tool. When we consider the kinds of limitless possibilities that, for instance, Kidmograph represents when we can combine the tools of the Internet with art, it is clear that we have a duty to view access to the Internet as a right rather than a commodity.
As Kidmograph depicts in his wild oeuvre of GIFs and digital art, the wonderful impossibilities of science fiction are perhaps closer to reality than we think, given the pace of technology. However, it is exactly in virtue of this incredible speed of innovation that we must take concrete actions to ensure that no one is left behind.
See more of Kidmograph’s work here.