Anybody who has used a computer has surely experienced those programmed messages and icons that occasionally pop up on screens—from “Do you want to quit?” to “Something’s not right” and the Chrome browser’s dinosaur that appears when an internet connection fails. The typical response is to brush it off and move on—but for others, it’s a moment that stirs up something buried underneath. By stripping away the context, and uploading them as photos, one at a time, Gothscreenshots gets viewers thinking about how depressing and unsettling these well-intended messages can appear. The successful Tumblr, born in 2012, is the brainchild of Sougwen Chung, an interdisciplinary artist based in NYC whose work we continually admire. Now Chung is bringing the dark and humorous Gothscreenshots into the real world, with a range of apparel and accessories.
Who says our interfaces can’t be expressive?
“Gothscreenshots is an homage to the internet. It’s an outlet for existential/romantic/technological angst using the screen as its medium and inspiration. In my opinion, it’s also terribly funny—you know, if you’re into that kind of thing.” Chung tells CH, speaking to the Tumblr and its inception. “I like that it makes the invisible visible; its about taking an image you see every day, stripping the filler away and then suddenly being unable to see it the same way again. After all, who says our interfaces can’t be expressive?”
And these are pure screenshots—like contemporary art’s penchant for found objects, just in digital form. “My desktop, devices and inbox are scattered with these fragmented moments. In composing them, there are rules… but we’re adamant about using all original pixels and keeping it as generic as possible,” says Chung.
In somewhat of a meta-twist, Gothscreenshots has broken free of the screen and select designs are now available on T-shirts, swimsuits, pants and more. In today’s age of 24/7 internet exposure, adorning oneself with 0 Instagram likes, Facebook dislikes, spinning beach balls of doom or the infamous YouTube error smiley is a perfect (and comical) way to express life’s little morbid moments. “But, really, it’s about people,” notes Chung on the new subculture she’s helped evolve. “The people who get Gothscreenshots really get it.”
Peruse the collection of goods at Gothscreenshots’ online store, where T-shirts and more start at $55 (digitally printed via Print All Over Me). And be sure to check out the Gothscreenshots Tumblr to get your regular dose of internet angst.
Images courtesy of Gothscreenshots