Vika Eksta’s interactive online exhibition Snakes and Ladders
Snakes and Ladders is an interactive online exhibition based on moving photographs that Latvian visual artist Vika Eksta creates by employing the format of animated GIF. The exhibition is interactive and takes place on asa nisi masa, an online gallery dedicated to contemporary and new media art. An offline version of Snakes and Ladders, in the form of a movie trailer, will be projected in cinema halls in Riga during the opening weekend of Riga Photography Biennal 2017.
An animated GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a graphic image that contains, within one single file, a set of photograms that are presented in a specified order and loop endlessly. In the last few of years, GIFs have become very popular, especially in the realm of social networks, where they are often used to express a specific feeling or in response to something that has been written in a discussion thread.
Such a format is a creature of the web and Internet is its natural habitat. Nevertheless, a number of implications that go beyond the virtual space, ranging from popular culture to the origin of cinema, are attached to this language. Vika Eksta extensively adopts the GIF format in her practice to explore the implications of conveying movement to the apparently still photographic image. Her GIFs are actually based on staged photo-shootings, where she is often the subject of a simple everyday action: drinking a cup of coffee, smoking a cigarette, picking a phone call and so on.
In Snakes and Ladders, the GIFs become the single scenes of a larger narrative, that is in the hands of the viewers to create. In certain joints of the plot, the viewers are required to choose between two options that lead the story to different results. In this way, they discover the various possible developments of the initial story, experiencing the exhibition in a very personal and always different way. The ultimate aim of the show is to dig into the concept of narration through photography and to question its meaning by playing with it.
Curator: Paola Paleari (Italy)
Sound artist: Jena Zoldaka (Latvia)
Web developer: Alessandro Buoscio (Italy)
Graphic designer: Bruno Bonamore (Italy)
Gallery coordinator: Greta Boldorini (Italy)
Organisers: Riga Photography Biennale in collaboration with asa nisi masa online gallery
Image: Vika Eksta (Latvia), from the series Snakes and Ladders (2015-2017)