This panel discussion considers Tumblr as a diverse site of collective cultural production, where individual artistic practices merge into broader communities that form around practices like poetry and self-portraiture, or aesthetics such as vaporwave and glitch.
Organized to mark the accession of twenty-two artist-made Tumblrs into ArtBase, Rhizome’s archive of born-digital artwork, this event gathers artists Christopher Clary, Cat Frazier (Animated Text), and Molly Soda, and writer Larissa Pham to offer perspectives on the site’s history and its importance to artists as it embarks on a new phase, under the ownership of Auttomatic. This conversation will contextualize the newly archived works within the larger story of Tumblr. Rhizome Co-Director Michael Connor will moderate the conversation.
Content warning: This panel includes images of nudity and sexual content.
This program is organized by Celine Wong Katzman, Rhizome Curator, with Kayla Drzewicki, Rhizome Program Assistant.
A recording of this conversation can be found on our YouTube channel and below:
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Christopher Clary is an artist, curator, and zinester based on the Jersey Shore. His social practice is all about making things we can live through to know our own affective, queer selves. His work has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and conferences around the world from the Palais de Tokyo to the China Art Book Fair. His Rhizome commission, a porn-novella-zip-file, was honored by Hyperallergic, acquired by the Whitney Museum and Museum of Modern Art, and exhibited at ETH Zurich.
Cat Frazier is a digital artist based in Los Angeles. In 2012, she started Animated Text to share 3D text GIFs inspired by Geocities net art. Since then, she has created thousands of GIFs based on follower requests. Her work is a playful blend of 90s web nostalgia and contemporary internet language.
Larissa Pham is an artist and writer living in Brooklyn. She is the author of the essay collection Pop Song (Catapult, 2021) which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize, and the novella Fantasian (Badlands Unlimited, 2016). She writes essays and criticism on topics including gender, race, sex, visual culture, communication theory, identity formation, art history, and any intersection of the above. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, the New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Art in America, Granta, and elsewhere.
Molly Soda is a visual artist working in video, installation, interactive art, performance, and print media. Her work is often hosted online, specifically on social media platforms, allowing the work to evolve and interact with the platforms themselves. Soda engages with questions of revisiting one’s own virtual legacy, how we present ourselves and perform for imagined others online, and how the ever-shifting nature of our digital space affects our memories and self concept.
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