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Last sync:2024-04-23 23:00
In which we feature responses to The Art Assignment Ep. 3: Intimate, Indispensable GIF, given by New York-based artist Toyin Odutola.

Thanks to all who posted the responses featured in this video:

Danielle DeLeon:




Tesla Hernandez:

Holly Holdsworth:

Reading Glasses:

Hatem Aly:

Hussein Salama:






Dylan Evans:



Annabel Jones:







Jennifer Hartley:



Erin Michelle:




J Fry:






Connor O'Keefe:

Taylor Stone:


Meg Gilbert:




Sarah Dunn:









Jason Lin:

Emily Eifler:



Sarah: So today we get to share with you the GIFs [pronounced gifs] made in response to Toyin Odutola's Art Assignment.

John: Also the GIFs [jifs] that were made in response to that assignment.

Sarah: Or GIFs [gifs].

John: Or GIFs [jifs].

Sarah: Or GIFs [gifs].

John: I mean you could say that, but you would also say GIFs [jifs].

Sarah: [whispers] GIFs [gifs].

John: [whispers] GIFs [jifs].

Sarah: [laughs]

John: I won. I am the victor.

John: If you haven't watched that episode you should, you can just click on my face to watch it, but Toyin asked you to articulate something intimate and indispensable to you in the form of a GIF.

Sarah: And you did a very good job. We received a lot of great assignments, and the best of them made use of the form of an animated GIF that's an infinite loop of images.

John: But what we didn't expect so much was the importance of the explanations that accompany those GIFs and how important it was to hear from the creators.

Sarah: So let's take a look at what's intimate and indispensable to you. Toyin chose her hands, and she wasn't the only one who did so.

John: Yeah, like Danielle DeLeon temporarily lost use of her right hand after an accident and when it healed, she swore she would never take her hands for granted again.

Sarah: Or there's Julian, an artist and bass player who shows his hand with a bass machine head on the back, opening and closing as the machine head turns.

John: And then there's Emma, who loves being a part of the drumline in marching band and finds great value in her hands, and by extension, her drumsticks.

And other parts of the body are revealed to be important as well, like Anna portrays her arms because she absolutely needs them to give hugs to those she loves.

Sarah: And eyes proved to be a very popular choice for this assignment.

John: Exceptionally popular.

Sarah: Super popular.

John: Yeah, there were a lot of GIFs about, like, eyes and eyesight and how hard it is to read a blurry book.

Sarah: Mikey choose his brain which he says, "controls everything I am, everything I do, and everything I feel."

John: And Zoe depicted her mind and showed a selection of things that have influenced the way she thinks.

Sarah: And don't forget this great GIF by Natalia of the anatomical brain and metaphorical heart.

John: And there were also a lot of extensions of the body selected.

Sarah: Like grumpytoes who posted this GIF and said, "As a pre-everything M-to-F, most days I need help making my body feel right."

John: Or Dylan Evans who said, "I cannot move without my chair; I cannot walk more than two meters unaided and even then I feel inconsiderable pain. My chair is a part of me. It is my legs; it is the very essence of my independence."

And there was also quite a lot of attention to the body's capabilities, like these GIFs about breathing...

Sarah: And these about smiling.

John: And Qwirksilver's depiction of laughter.

Sarah: The body's ticks are the subject of Kara's thoughtful contribution. She says, "We all have the wonderful ability to be privy to the inter-most secrets little ticks and convulsions portray. So, here are my restless fingers tapping to the beat of my heart. See what secrets you can divulge from their rhythm."

John: Video blogger notthathunter chose 'The Parts I Edit Out' saying, "I am forced to watch myself more than I probably should. It's a pretty intimate experience as I end up examining my insecurities in excruciating detail."

I have no idea what that's like.

Sarah: Charmingpplincardigans choose sleep, titling this GIF 'Two AM Coda Into the Night's Fifth Episode of Myth Busters' and explaining, "Basically, sleep is the worst friend I've ever had. It never calls or writes, it always shows up late to my evenings or not at all."

John: Charming People in Cardigans is a great name for a band.

Sarah: Huh, it would be.

John: Yeah, like a Weezer type of thing.

Sarah: Mm-hm. It's also a good Tumblr name.

John: A few of you choose medications as intimate and indispensable like shemustassemble who showed us the little white pills that allow her to live with a depressive disorder.

Sarah: And Jennifer Hartley who depends on colchicine to help her live with Behcet’s Disease. She says, "These simple little pills stop my body from tearing itself apart from the inside out. It calms my blood vessels down and helps me feel much better."

Meditation is the subject of Rebecca's GIF, and Erin Michelle's is about sanctuary, and Cooper made this GIF about solitude and stillness.

Many people choose things as their subjects. Like Jennyferstrange, whose grandfather died earlier this year. They used to hunt for rocks together and she later found out he made them into these little painted statues, which he left for her with a note that said, "Don't forget to laugh."

John: This person showed us the toy bunny they received at age six, saying, "Bunny was safely stashed in my backpack when I first had to go to the dentist alone, when I went to give blood, when I moved away for college, when I explored the city with my first love, when I hitchhiked for the first time, and when I hopped on a bus to the Czech Republic to forget about a heartbreak."

Sarah: Or there's the T-shirt Yasmin wore the first time she attended a Pride Canal Parade in Amsterdam. It's text advertising a Dutch LGBT Youth Union with the phrase, "I'm a lesbian, so I was born lucky."

John: Griffindork19 shared with us this T-shirt quilt made by their mother they received from their mother after moving to New York from the small West Virginia town. The quilt is described as a comfort zone. "Those shirts tie together my family and my friends, they've got memories of parties, and maps, and books, and picnics, and road trips... The quilt reminds me that I have a place in the world. That I am connected."

And places also proved to be significant. Like, J Fry's special place is his bed.

Sarah: And creationandconsumption shows us the circuit's lab, where we admire the simple beauty of a sample and hold circuit. This electrical engineer says, "Without oscilloscopes we are as good as blind, but with them we become privy to the secrets only electrons know."

John: Jennifer made this GIF from pictures she took on a motorcycle trip with her dad and brother.

Sarah: And Emily made these beautiful GIFs of a place she misses tremendously. She says "Montreal is really cold, and really grey, and there aren't any jobs there, and sometimes when you inhale your nose hairs freeze together, but it's also where I found community like I haven't found anywhere else."

People figure largely in your GIFs.

Katie, who was finishing her studies in neuroscience and psychology made this and said, "What really struck me was how amazing it is that we are all just clumps of cells and impulses all linked together in a human-shaped blob, but that those clumps of cells are put together in such a way that they have the capacity to understand and empathize with and love other clumps of cells and all their complexities."

John: Nina posted this GIF of her brother and his quote "ridiculous hair" which she says she mocks the heck out of, but wouldn't want him to change.

Sarah: Connor O'Keefe made these great GIFs of intimate moments with his indispensable friends.

John: And Taylor Stone made these illustrations of her with her best friends Mikey and Eli.

Sarah: And babies.

John: Can't skip the babies!

Sarah: This little one belongs to eclecticjessie.

John: And this baby is Meg Gilbert's. Peek-a-boo!

And reading and writing are certainly important in many of you. From the act of writing to bookshelves, we saw lots of book-related GIFs.

Sarah: And journals. Lots of you like to journal.

John: And there's also lots of you that find music indispensable and intimate. Like Sarah Dunn, whose favorite record is Abbey Road, and Sam who plays the French Horn, and Merrivcat who posted this GIF and said "singing is my life."

This trio from geeksdanz listed their intimate indispensables to be dance, improvisation and working with others.

Sarah: Dancing is also indispensable for Joss, who shows us steps from an English folk dance and says, "As someone with muscular problems, particularly in my legs, simply being able to dance is incredibly joyful."

John: And in a stunning turn of events it turns out that making things is of course crucial to the Art Assignment audience as well.

There are a lot of knitters out there, including Julia who says creating with fiber is a big part of her life, and ft-artcraft posted this GIF saying what's most important to them is the idea of giving life to their sculptures.

Sarah: This programmer says, "Were I a painter the keyboard would be my brush and paint."

John: And Jason Lin, an origami artist chose light, which allows us to see, and paper, which allows us to express.

Sarah: And Emily Eifler gave us these incredible articulations of the indispensability of the line.

John: Valerie2776 describes her relationship with art in the Cleveland Museum of Art as private and personal, especially this work by George Bellows, Boy in a Blue Coat.

Sarah: And dafidaf shows us their three favorite artworks at the Anish Kapoor, Roxy Paine and James Turrell in the garden of Jerusalem’s Israel museum and says:

John: "Those are the works I find myself constantly visiting. They never look the same. They’re dynamic despite being very clearly static. And this is what I love about them. When I make my way, like in the GIFs, to each one of those pieces, I can always feel the fog in my head clearing, and so I sit next to them, looking at the amazing view of Jerusalem, until I feel better about everything.

Sarah: These GIFs made us feel better about everything.

John: Yeah, thank you so much! This is such a rewarding collaboration with us, please continue to make your intimate, indispensable GIFs and hashtag them with 'theartassignment.'

Sarah: And don't forget to check out our Tumblr where we repost our favorite responses to assignments.

John: Yeah, thank you for watching.

Sarah: And please don't break the law.

John: Don't break the law.

Sarah: Is that ... is that applicable here?

John: Yeah, it's always applicable. It's just good advice!