Change the Story!

Change the Story!
Digital interventions in the European art canon

by Rosalie Lorenz

Participants use Google Arts & Culture and/or prometheus to choose a painting from the European art canon whose narrative they want to change. They transform the image into a GIF using image editing and animation software. One question that will be explored is whether the narrative of the painting can be altered in this way. Finally, the GIFs will be presented and sent by email to selected persons.

This project is about taking a critical approach to European art history, which is often treated as “the” art history.  Based on the works “Girl with a Bamboo Earring” (2009) by Awol Erizku and “Venus after Botticelli” (2008) by Xin Yin, the canonization of art will be questioned. What is a canon? What narratives are told by the artworks belonging to it? What works are (made) invisible? What funny, critical (e.g. of discrimination), altered narratives can the participants tell by editing the works?

  1. Input: What is the art canon? How is a canon created? Who does it represent, and who does it not represent? What does “gaze” mean in an art-historical context? What are alternative art canons? Works by Awol Erizku and Xin Yin
  2. Introduction to the image editing software GIMP and the GIF Maker by Imgflip
  3. Research and selection of an image
  4. Editing the image with GIMP, creating scenes
  5. Creating a stop-motion GIF out of these images with the web app Imgflip
  6. Presentation of the GIFs with a video projector and sending them to selected persons via email
The image shows the user interface of an image editing application. A detail of an oil painting is in the process of being edited. In it, there is a person depicted as female sitting on a swing in the woods. Due to the swinging movement, she loses one of her shoes. The person’s outlines are framed by an editing tool, a small part of the image has been cut out.
Change the story! Digital interventions in the European art canon

Coverimage_Change the Story! Digitale Interventionen im europäischen Kunstkanon. © 2022 by Rosalie Lorenz is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Rosalie Lorenz studies at the Department Art and Education, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Author’s Encouragements
Once I had familiarized myself with the basics of GIMP, I was already able to create simple works with it. When I got stuck, I found help in YouTube tutorials or forums.

Imgflip’s GIF Maker is also very easy to use. Before long, I had created my first GIF. This can certainly create a sense of accomplishment for all participants.