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See Something, Say Something: Kari Rittenbach takes a hard look at the GIF for this latest installment of Paper Monument’s ongoing series wherein writers choose and describe—or more accurately, psychoanalyze!—a given image. [NB: I instantly recognized this image as a clip from Aeon Flux, which is something I probably shouldn’t admit, but here we are. While I’m confessing on Tumblr: I wrote this cheeky bit on the art world’s handling of the Internet for Paper Monument under the pseudonym “Max Headroom” back in 2010. I still agree with my assessment, years later.]

Let’s return to Kari’s piece here, however, as she’s quite spot on in her tying together of Freud, Bataille, the Internet—and MTV.:

“Nothing much rewards our enthusiasm for looking online, in a banal visual landscape of blood, gore, tits and other Photoshopped or natural disasters. So little shocks, or demands to be looked at with much rigor. In certain forums, of course, the grotesque maintains a particular visceral currency which further complicates the power relations between viewer and viewed, in an extremely indulgent scopophilia: without irony or art-historical foresight, these really NSFW message boards seem poised to literalize Bataille (See The Story of the Eye, 1928: “You could smack her face with your cum… till it sizzles.”) In contrast, a friend’s démodé painting practice remains more mysterious for the fact that only she has entered the studio during the past five years, her work ostensibly happening but unseen, perhaps out of extreme timidity but nevertheless, you soon realize, re-awakening a sense of Eros with regard to sight. This impulse isn’t really a craving for aura or authenticity, as it was in the modern era, but rather the desire for an exclusivity of exposure; for something that is, for various reasons, for your eyes only.”

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