Those wondering how digital work will ever be sold in galleries, take note: one of the major players in the Tumblr art world, Cloaque, recently took out a booth at Art Basel Miami Beach UNTITLED, and its specifically adapted the display to fit the artwork’s highly vertical form – and perhaps the addictiveness of infinite scrolling. Cloaque, which describes itself as a “digital landfill,” was started by artists Carlos Saez and Claudia Mate and soon expanded to include the collage works of over 40 artists from over a dozen countries, all throwing together images from around the internet in the form of a surrealist “exquisite corpse.”
The scroll display, which was produced with the help of Art F City, is 60 feet long and continuously displays work published on the blog from January 2012 to June 2013. “ [It's] as big as a Richard Serra, if Richard Serra also printed on 265 feet of Tyvek,” wrote Maria Galperina in ANIMAL New York, presumably referring to the amount of Tyvek used to produce all the different editions. The work was strapped to a device resembling a player piano roll, allowing people to interact with it in a much more mechanical, embodied way than the way we usually think of “scrolling.” The project is in a way more practical than the website right now, notes Galperina, as Cloaque’s enormous images, some of them animated, actually crash most browsers if one scrolls past 10 or so works.
Despite this landmark in its history, the online version of Cloaque continues to live and be updated constantly, so in some ways the scrolling print doesn’t reflect its dynamic nature. “The physical roll is like a static picture of something that lives and grows online. It’s good to have a selfie from time to time,” Saez told ANIMAL. Like the Giphoscope, it reconciles two distinct art worlds, one very physical and tangible and the other so ethereal. Here’s just a small sampling of what you’d find on the football field-sized scroll.