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Image Macros: I'm in Your X, Y'ing Your Z

Okay, now that I've spent the first three days of this week talking about LOL Cats, it's time to move on to something marginally more advanced: the "I'm in Your X, Y'ing Your Z" Image Macros.

According to several web sources (which are so not-work-safe I won't link them), this genre of Image Macros started with the statement, "I'm in your base killing your d00ds" (that last word being a Leet spelling of "dudes"), from a classic video game. Non-gamer translation: "You lose."

This Image Macro genre first came to my attention, you guessed it, as a LOL Cat:

After the jump, I explore some unique characteristics of the Image Macro, including a political Image Macro.

Of course, things had to go a level deeper than just Leet speak and cats. The day after the 2006 US Congressional Election, a version of the "I'm in your X, Y'ing your Z" Image Macro appeared showing Nancy Pelosi, the new Speaker of the US House of Representatives. Boing Boing featured the image, which read: I'm in ur house impeachin ur doodz." (They also featured a rather wonderful LOL Bird.)

Nancy Pelosi

Five days after the election, a top 10 list appeared, with a hilarious variety of Image Macros based on the theme. My favorite:

I'm in ur base killin ur doodz

So this is fun and all, but what's the point? Well, I believe that the Image Macro is a new form of art, native to the web. This new form has some unusual characteristics -- primary being that most images are by anonymous authors (though some communities create the macros collaboratively, with known authors). The images are frequently reproduced in blogs (*ahem* like this one), in which the main attribution is simply the location where the image was found. In their inherent anonymity, Image Macros are like Graffiti (minus the tagging).

Another unusual characteristic of Image Macros is the rapid adoption and evolution of new genres. A single popular image can spawn an entire genre of Image Macros with their own syntax and style. Responses to an original image range from copycat images (if you'll excuse the expression) to fairly complex new statements. You can see this in action in the "Invisible" LOL Cats, in which Invisible Bike leads to Invisible Bike Crash, and finally to Invisible Everything. While classical art is responsive in this way, the speed with which the genre is created, extended, and integrated with other genres is impressive.

Also, due to the sheer number of Image Macros in the wild, lots of sites have created their own collections, generally going on for many pages. We've linked earlier in the week to the LOL Cat blog, I Can Has Cheezburger -- after being linked by Digg today, they have shut down temporarily due to excessive bandwidth usage. Each of these sites is effectively an online museum of art, curated by amateurs. You can see the influence of the curator in some collections in which images have been presented in a particular sequence (it's a fairly crass example -- not for the easily offended -- but the "ceiling cat" sequence at the end of this collection shows what I mean).

Here's a small, non-ordered collection of some LOL Cat X/Y/Z favorites, to reward you for reading this far:

I'm on yer table trimn all yer plants

Bustin ur mythz

Im in ur truck makin the duliverys

Grammar Cat

So what do you think? Do LOL Cats and X/Y/Z Image Macros qualify as art?

Tomorrow we'll wrap up the Image Macro series with some unexpected evolutions of the form. Stay tuned!

Resources related to today's post: LOL Cat site with lots of X/Y/Z examples (many images above are from this site). See also the collection from the "Error: Access Denied" site.

This article is part of a series. Read the rest:

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Art
The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
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The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. While art lovers worried when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news. According to museum officials, the priceless works housed inside the famed Getty Center are said to be perfectly secure and won't need to be evacuated from the facility.

“The safest place for the art is right here at the Getty,” Ron Hartwig, the Getty’s vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 “to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region,” but as of now, the art inside is staying put.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's currently facing. The air throughout the gallery is filtered by a system that forces it out, rather than a filtration method which would bring air in. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading. The Getty Villa, a separate campus located in the Pacific Palisades off the Pacific Coast Highway, was also closed out of concern for air quality this week.

The museum is currently working with the police and fire departments in the area to determine the need for future closures and the evacuation of any personnel. So far, the fires have claimed more than 83,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and the temporary closure of I-405, which runs right alongside the Getty near Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood.

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This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
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It takes a lot of creativity to turn a blank canvas into an inspired work of art. Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes his pictures out of something that’s even more dull than a white page: an empty spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

When he retired, the 77-year-old Horiuchi, whose work was recently spotlighted by Great Big Story, decided he wanted to get into art. At the time, he was hesitant to spend money on painting supplies or even computer software, though, so he began experimenting with one of the programs that was already at his disposal.

Horiuchi's unique “painting” method shows that in the right hands, Excel’s graph-building features can be used to bring colorful landscapes to life. The tranquil ponds, dense forests, and blossoming flowers in his art are made by drawing shapes with the software's line tool, then adding shading with the bucket tool.

Since picking up the hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has been awarded multiple prizes for his creative work with Excel. Let that be inspiration for Microsoft loyalists who are still broken up about the death of Paint.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the artist's process in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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