The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents … Dina Kelberman


‘Dina Kelberman’s original website features an ever-growing grid of gifs (at the time of launch, there are seven hundred total)—each one an image of smoke or fire excerpted from an iconic cartoon (the list now includes The Smurfs, The Simpsons, Tom & Jerry, Darkwing Duck, Rocky & Bullwinkle, and many more). The project is hatched out of the artist’s obsessive online surfing—for this project, she located and sampled hundreds of cartoons out of the thousands that she chose—as well as out of a desire to order and rearrange the seemingly endless amount of information available to her. The gif images are linked not strictly by subject matter but also through more free-form visual associations, like form, color, and shape. The resulting work is a psychic tour of disasters as they are pictured to children (and/or other cartoon enthusiasts). Here, the successive images of smoke and fire pose no threat.

‘Much has been written about the withering aspects of the web’s surfeit of information. But for Kelberman, like so many other artists, this visual excess and the process of surfing through it is an inspiration. On [Kelberman’s work], Quaranta has written: “Mass media has now been replaced by a mass of mediators. Art is not responding to what they [the mediators] do with a more professional and technically advanced use of the same tools, but is instead refining its own languages and codes.” His point is key to contextualizing Kelberman in a history of appropriation and within contemporary practice. Where earlier artists unveiled the inherent politics or ideologies in TV or advertising, often artists today engage amateur (i.e., consumer) engagements with pop culture by amplifying the impulses to collect and re-represent aspects of it.

Smoke & Fire, and previous works by Kelberman, manifest the feeling of drifting or surfing online by compiling images along lines that reflect the way we wander through information online, which can either follow or work against the way images are indexed by search engines. For instance, I’m Google (2011–ongoing) is a tumblr blog in which Kelberman compiles batches of images and videos into a stream-of-consciousness grid that moves seamlessly from one subject to the next, from uniformed workers standing in formation, to sand castles, to craters, to mountains. For Blue Clouds (2012), Kelberman blurred screenshots of the Star Trek the Next Generation credits, turning each one into what looks like a blue-tinted, erased line in the sky. In Kelberman’s practice, surfing, searching, saving, and reordering merge into a broader artistic practice that distills shared preoccupations or ways of seeing the world.’ — The New Museum




(Dina Kelberman)
I’m Google
Important Comics by Dina Kelberman
Dina Kelberman Web Design
Dina Kelberman’s comics @ Tony Mix Tapes
Dina Kelberman @ Idle Screenings
‘Trapped By The Web — But For How Long? Take the Kelberman Challenge’
Dina Kelberman interviewed @ Claw Claw
Dina Kelberman interviewed @ Electric Objects



Cloud Formations, 2012

Marjorie Morningstar




The Black Knight

Thine Own Self

They Came to Cordura


Private House of the SS

The Babysitter

The Last Chase

The Prince and the Showgirl

Gunfight at the OK Corral

Night Passage

The Secret Life of Plants

Over the Edge

The Day After

Roller Boogie

The Apple Dumpling Gang

Sleepaway Camp

The Pursuit of DB Cooper


No No No No No, 2016


Doors, 2012


Garfield Halloween Special, 2011

GHS-CIRCLE, Animated GIF made of consequtive screen caps


Simpsons Gifs, 2009




Blinds 1



Snow Falling





The Boys












p.s. Hey. If you tried to access the blog on Sunday and couldn’t, that’s because it was hit with a very serious malware attack on Saturday night that entirely disabled this place. My hosting site’s technicians spent the last 24 hours cleaning it out, and it only came back to life about three minutes ago. The blog now has, ugh, very expensive firewall protection that will supposedly protect it from now on. So here we go. I’ll interact with the comments that came in before the disaster, and hopefully we’re in the clear now. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! I’m so glad to hear about the speeding recovery. Are you much better now? We’re still trying to finesse Episode Three, and I’m meeting with Zac about that this morning. Yes, the very second the script is sent off to ARTE, Zac and I plan to finish the film script, get it translated into French, and give it to our producer. That’s our goal for the in-between time on the TV script work. Great about the good time with your pal, and I’ll go check out your new obsession in just a minute. I’m very curious. Was your weekend the passionate daze plus Anita time you hoped? My weekend was script work and dealing with the blog’s malware attack, which meant tons of time on the phone and considerable worrying. But it all worked out okay, knock on wood. How was Monday? ** David Ehrenstein, Yep. Glad you like Jem Cohen too. I got lucky and saw Benjamin Smoke perform in Atlanta not long before his death, very memorably as you can imagine. ** Steve Erickson, Yeah, and his Fugazi doc is pretty great too. Actually a lot of his films are mesmerising. How were the films you saw? Alan Rudolf is back? I haven’t seen his stuff since the way back days when he was best known as Altman’s protege. I don’t remember any of his films seeming totally successful. But he had a thing. And it’s admirable how he continued to make films whatever it took. I don’t think I’ve done a proper Brad Renfro Day. It’s a good idea. I did a post that mostly consisted of an interview I did with him circa ‘Apt Pupil’. As I’ve said a number of times, he was the most messed up and tragic seeming person I’ve ever interviewed, and he was still in his teens at the time. ** Cal Graves, Hi, Cal! I’ve been quite good, very busy, lots going on, a lot of it excellent. I’m glad you’re writing. That’s a main thing, so I would say you’ve been up to plenty. I like sci fi movies, but I never read sci fi fiction, or hardly ever. Mostly cyberpunk stuff a long time ago. I don’t know why it doesn’t interest me. It’s a weakness. Maybe because sci fi is so plot oriented, and I’m not so into plotty fiction. I’ve read so few books of that type that I don’t really have favorites. The early Gibson novels, I guess? What Delaney are you reading? ** Marilyn Roxie, Wonderful, thank you! ** Okay. That’s as far as we got. I can’t imagine it will surprise anyone that I’m into Dina Kelberman’s work. Time to find out if I have any company around here, I guess. See you tomorrow.


  1. DC

    May 7, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Hi. It seems there was one last problem with the blog, namely that no one could comment. That’s fixed now. Very sorry for the trouble.

  2. I’d not heard of Dina Kelberman before today but I enjoyed surfing through her work a whole lot, so thank you! Those Simpsons gifs are my faves, she has an eye for the telling moment in that show.

    It’s been a big few days for Yuck ‘n Yum. The Interregnum show that we hosted at Seattle’s SOIL Gallery had its opening on the 3rd, the same day as our Compendium Launch last week. Everything went well by all accounts and we now have plenty of photos of all the artworks that I’ve spent the weekend posting to various social media channels. Today I’ll begin putting together a blog post that will be a kind of Interregnum/Comperndium amalgamation. I hope to send that post in the next couple of days.

  3. David Ehrenstein

    May 7, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    GIFS are the Gift that keeps on GIFING

    I well remember when you went to interview Scott Renfro, Dennis. Hollywood chews up and spits out child actors at an arming rate. A few (eg. Neil Patrick Harris, Joseph Gordon Levitt) manage to survive. Some survive yet remain seriously damaged by the experience (eg. Judy Garland) And some are simply road-kill : Bobby Driscoll, Brad Renfro. Bobby ended up in Potter’s Field, dying of an OD. Brad I shall never forget was arrested on Skid Row in L.A. trying to score skag. The Horror , The Horror.

  4. Hi!

    Huh, I’m really glad the blog is okay!
    How was your meeting about Episode #3? I really hope you can finish it soon and can instead work on your film script!
    What did you think about Charity Kase? I hope you liked her!
    I’m pretty tired now, after work, and I don’t think my waist liked the day-long activity just yet. I hope it won’t get worse by the morning. I’m planning to strictly rest, rest, rest from now on. And maybe read a little. I just started ‘Pure Filth’ by Peter Sotos. (There’s no stopping after ‘Tick’.)
    How was your day, Dennis? I hope all’s well over there!!

    Oh and this: I’ll have a long day tomorrow (I’ll go to my psychologist after work) so I think I’ll only be back here on Wednesday!

  5. When I clicked on my bookmark for this page after learning it’s back up, I got the “bad 400 match” message and the page only loaded when I manually deleted everything from the URL after the .com part.

    Yes, I can see a connection between Kelberman’s work and your GIF novels.

    I wound up choosing to see Claire Denis’ LET THE SUNSHINE IN over a Rudolph film. The 2 documentaries I saw Saturday were a mixed bag. Sergei Loznitsa’s VICTORY DAY really needed some political context. Otherwise it’s just a series of scenes of people milling around a Berlin park in street clothes, costumes and uniforms (there are a few confrontations between Neo-fascists, defenders of communism and liberals but not enough to feel really meaningful), and the film is too determined to be strictly observational to make sense to an American outsider. But Gustavo Vinagre’s I REMEMBER THE CROWS is really brilliant. I posted about it on Facebook yesterday – to sum it up briefly, it’s a deliberate twist on PORTRAIT OF JASON featuring a 40-year-old transgender actress named Julia Katharine staying up all night talking about her life, which has marked by a few difficult experiences but also a cinephilia that encompasses everything from TERMS OF ENDERNMEANT to Ozu (the Lars von Trier hater in you would enjoy the part where says “NYMPHOMANIAC would have been much better if von Trier had talked to me about my experiences.”) At the Q&A, Vinagre revealed that it’s not a straight documentary – he and Katharine wrote a script based almost 100% but not totally on her autobiography and she reads it instead of talking off the top of her head. Also, it’s a sign of the times that this feels like a partnership between director and subject rather than PORTRAIT OF JASON’s power struggle and he asks her if she feels like the film exorcizes her and she talks about how trans women are objectified by society (although in the Q&A, he admitted he wrote that section.) I hope this gets US distribution beyond the festival circuit – it is a fascinating example of the filmed interview/monologue.

    My favorite Rudolph is his second after going solo from Altman, REMEMBER MY NAME. Alas, it’s never come out on US video, reportedly due to legal issues around the Alberta Hunter soundtrack, but it has aired on several cable channels. I also like CHOOSE ME and TROUBLE IN MIND and think BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS (which completely bombed and was probably only produced because Bruce Willis starred in it – I saw it in the context of a series of Luc Moullet’s favorite films!) is really underrated.

    I got an advance copy of serpentwithfeet’s new album today. I am reviewing it and the new Snail Mail album for Gay City News for June publication. I haven’t had time to listen to it, but I really like the way his new single “Cherubim” subverts gospel tropes and superficially sounds like it’s about religious devotion but is clearly a love song to a man. His move to a larger label probably means no more singing over uncleared samples of classical music.

  6. Hey D!

    Tried to comment on the blog yesterday and it wasn’t working, happy everything’s okay now. How’s it going? How’s the TV show / new film script coming along?

    Cool, I haven’t seen anyone else work with gifs before. I really dig how this work centers around recontextualizing pop culture into a ‘trauma study’ or something, which I guess is both intentional and a matter of what gifs are available. I actually just finished re-reading “The Marbled Swarm”, and kept finding myself visualizing the stream of images and movements in the text almost the same way like the gif work here. I don’t mean to get super gushy, but your work has been incredibly important to me, so that connection was super exciting.

    As far as writing on my end, finals / my drive to procrastinate have been getting in the way of any serious developments. I stupidly tried to make my finals for non-creative classes have to do with fiction, but that just sort of tied me to writing stories about shit I don’t really care about for classes about politics, science, etc. Not that I don’t care about that stuff, it’s just not anything I’m so deeply connected to I feel like I should write fiction about it. I’m sort of nervous that’s sort of what some undergrad creative writing classes are going to be, but I’m optimistic it won’t be so bad. I’m trying to find some sort of job or internship for the summer, so hopefully if that doesn’t take up too much time I’ll be able to really have fun with writing over the next few months before the transfer.

  7. Hey Dennis,

    Sorry about the malware attack. How awful, but glad it’s finally all sorted! Dina Kelberman’s work is new to me, but seems amazing. The cloud formation series in particular grabbed me.

    Here’s Sunday’s comment that couldn’t be posted: Great to see this Jem Cohen day return in its new glory. Glad so much of his work is available on the web. When I put together a program of his short films here a few years ago, so much was hard to see. It was a pleasure to acquaint myself with all those. CHAIN probably remains my favorite, but there are so many good ones and in different modes. I thought his most recent feature COUNTING was really interesting, if a bit too long. Have you seen that one?

    Still dealing with ongoing pet health drama here, which has been upsetting as we keep being told everything is fine, and it will be for a few days, but it becomes clear the treatments aren’t working at all.

    Been carving out some time to work on sculptural assemblages in the small studio space I’ve been given and that’s been nice.

    Recently spent some time looking at conceptual photographer Sarah Charlesworth’s stunning “Stills” series. Are you familiar with that work – or her career in general? Seems fairly different from her other stuff from what I can tell.

  8. Chris Dankland

    May 8, 2018 at 2:11 am

    hi dennis !!

    i just wanted to say thank u a hundred million times over for that jem cohen day, that’s a treasure trove that i know i’m going to revisit a lot this week. i’m very inspired and motivated by his style and his attitude toward art. i want to try and articulate what i mean, but i don’t want to screw it up — i have to think about it more. but i like how he’s minimal and diy and seems to keep his head down and work without a lot of hype and circus barking.

    Dina Kelberman is great !! i especially loved the cloud formation gifs. thank u as always for introducing me to interesting new things.

    i’m so sorry that you had to deal with the headache and worrying of the blog problems this weekend. i wanted to tell u how much this place means to me. my life would be so different without it, i’m sure. this blog is like a dream hallway with 10,000 doors in it, aka a portal to a thousand different worlds. i feel confident that if i didn’t engage with this blog, no one would have read much of anything i ever wrote. pretty much all the literary things i’ve done on the internet can be traced back to this blog as the big thing that started it.

    so anyway i just wanted to say that as an earnest thank u for spending your time and energy keeping this place going, and i’m very very VERY happy that everything is fixed. i had a little bit of an anxiety bite when i clicked on the blog and then read your facebook posts about the malware.

    i hope your morning is going good !! you’re the best

    • Chris dankland

      May 8, 2018 at 2:26 am

      Actually i was just talking to Jennifer and she first friended me on facebook because she saw one of my picture stories posts that i did for the blog !! And then we started talking like 8 months later

      So yeah, thank you a hundred million times over for this place <3

  9. Glad the blog is ok, sorry about the security expense. I could stare at these GIFs for a real long time, so I think I will.

  10. Congrats(?) on the blog coming back up… shame about expensive firewall stuff but at least it’s hopefully-safe… I had a lengthy comment written out on Cohen day but have forgotten most of its content now; nevermind – learning Leaves of Glass is intensely intensely difficult; by far the most challenging script I’ve ever had to learn. I’m up to the final scene now, so we’re making some significant headway, but it has this bizarre/elliptical/circular structure where scenes echo/repeat figments of other scenes – I’m finding it quite labyrinthine, as I learn one scene, I forget a scene I memorized yesterday. Which is a tad nightmarish. We’ve fully cemented the second scene of the show though and it’s pretty great – usually I know that a scene has ‘clicked’ for me because I finish it up sweaty and hot even if its not super physical. Weird adrenal response but, yeah, last night we hit that for the first time so yay.

    The Renfro shit sucks. One of the most important things w/artists of all ages is some form of personal protection, uhhh, sense of community – it’s so easy to get lost either inside swarms of ‘others’ or inside yourself.


  11. Dear Dennis,
    I wonder if you might send me a quick note as to whether you could/want to/don’t/can’t come to Princeton University for a reading?
    Thanks so much!
    Michael Dickman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2021 DC's

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑