Celebrating 25 years of GIF
Article for online trends magazine TheTrendNet
In 1987, CompuServe created the Graphics Interchange Format, an alternative to the JPEG format with up to 256 colours (8 bits) that could be easily transmitted over digital networks thanks to its compressed, lightweight format. Twenty five years later, the animated version of GIF is still prominent in the web. As is the case with vinyl records, GIF has a solid reputation.
To celebrate the occasion, Sean Pecknold has directed this wonderful video which perfectly explains the GIF story in all its aesthetic:
In this post we propose revisiting what, for us, are some of the more interesting websites, collectives and artists who are working with GIF today. These artists are both moving away from and, at the same time, reinforcing the folkloric nature of GIF but, above all, transforming it into a truly fascinating tool.
We should begin with those who deserve to come first: rrrrrrrroll and the anonymous Japanese photographer’s collective who post revolving, animated GIFs on their blog twice a week. Pure, beguiling poetry in infinite loops, from revolving spaghettis to revolving pelicans in a visually inspiring, rotating world.
More abstract still are Andy Ellison’s animations and his Inside insides blog. where all kinds of fruits and vegetables are seen from the perspective of magnetic resonance imaging and are made both unrecognisable and hypnotic by the talents of this Boston University Medical School collaborator.
On a more general level we cannot possibly ignore the GIFs that are uploaded to tumblr on a daily basis, which include everything from suggestive, fascinating videos to amusing, more folkloric propositions whose aesthetics and contribution are, well, the truth is, you’re better off seeing for yourself…
Though it may seem obvious, the GIFs in the GIF Festival ‘Moving the Still’ occupy more solid ground. These can be visited via the ‘Archive’ section of this blog. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time!
And, finally, we would like to revive the “GIFs animados” section of lacasinegra.tv, where murders, monsters, haunted castles, fights, stabbings and violent images that we are all familiar with are collected into what those responsible call “the house of horrors”, a homage to gore, scary movies and, above all, to GIF.