Vaughan Oliver is the designer who changed the record cover paradigm. Joan Pons interviews the genius who devised the artwork for the Pixies and, in general, all the 4AD catalogue.
E xposition-climax-dénouement. Conflict-resolution. Set up-punch. Alpha-omega. X-Y. We’re very used to sit and travel quite comfortably first-class in the train following the arrow of time. It’s very cosy and reassuring to know that the cause-effect pattern won’t let us down, it will always take us from a departing point to a destination, from a beginning to an end. Because when we’re taken out of this much agreed on and seemingly logical scheme of things, we feel confused, deceived, uneasy and even angry. Any periodicals library can be researched to find the furious fits caused by both Antonioni’s L’avventura and David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks. They didn’t know how to end them, right?
With GIFs, these A to Z patterns make no sense. We’ve already talked about loops dozens of times in this section; the Moebius strip that a GIF is always and the meanings it generates. We have also argued that in the consumer device that is a GIF, we, whimsical kings, choose the initial and ending points. But in not so many occasions we have also realised that it’s the creator of the GIF who makes that cut, and that cut, within the totality of infinity, means something. In the case we have in hands, for example, our inertia, even as GIF consumers, tricks us: we are waiting for a resolution of something that doesn’t need to have one. It takes us some time to realise that these four frames are a repetition that will never end. We’re so used to the rhetorics of expectation (the dilated mise-en-scène, the tense repetition, the delay of the reward…) that our mind plays tricks on us. We think that, at some point, we will be able to test the ability of the shooter; that all the balloons will explode (or not). That’s why we forget that it’s a GIF and we won’t be able to enjoy the resolution of the action in this occasion.
* Should the author of the GIF have placed the cut on the shooting… this GIF wouldn’t have any value at all. Because as Lynch said (him again), it’s always more intense, suggesting and magnetic living a mystery than a resolution.