New Criticals

When I first viewed it, I clicked on a link that took me to the full-sized version – essentially a white screen entirely devoted to this .gif. You can view it in that way here. The screen being empty of all content save the animated text, a vast emptiness of white space appeared, giving me the experience of a entering a clearing, or opening, into which I was left alone. This radical differentiation was a kind of void in which I was removed from the signifiers of my daily internet life. The .gif spinning in the desert I had entered reminded me of all those liminal, transitory places – waiting rooms, airports, hotel lobbies. Siegfried Kracauer said that in the hotel lobby “people find themselves vis-à-vis de rien.” [5] That’s the kind of feeling I had. In the lobby, you can walk in, blend into the crowd. You might not be able to make it up the elevator, but you can stay on the ground floor as long as you like. You might be bored, or just waiting. No communion between the warm bodies passing through, just that ersatz togetherness, a barren relation through nothingness.

There really wasn’t anything for me to wait for, yet still I waited. At the same time, I was also hoping. In that sense it was a kind of messianic moment. I was waiting, hoping, for the reason for my being there to be revealed. With each passing revolution, I was waiting in expectant anticipation– for the .gif to complete a revolution, for something to “happen” – but nothing happened.