Thursday, May 1, 2014

Gifs as art

Since this is my last post and since I've been putting off doing other work ever since I finished Arturo's three projects, I figured that I'd write about something (a little too) near and dear to my heart. Gifs.

I don't care how you pronounce it (although if you say it with a soft G you'll really jet on my nerves) or which ones are your favorites; everyone who has used the internet in the last five years has some sort of appreciation for gifs. This led me to think that maybe, just maybe, gifs will one day get the appreciation and attention that they truly deserve. Turns out, they already are.

Recently, Google Plus held a competition dedicated to finding gifs (which some are beginning to call 'motion photography') that can really be considered as art. They got over 4,000 submissions from "artists" in countries all over the world.  Most of them are really awesome, too; beautifully framed, well shot, crisp, and continuous loops. Professional gifs, if you will.

However, as Joseph Flaherty mentions in his article on the subject of gifs, the competition didn't really capture the general...well....point of gifs. Culturally, they're not used to be beautiful. They're used as witty responses in Facebook comment threads, or as come-backs via texts, or to make blog posts *cough cough* look more interesting. In that regard, gifs continue to just be reposted ad nauseam on Tumblr and in the Cracked/Working Title Facebook groups.

As Flaherty also pointed out, Graffiti was largely considered pointless and not treated as art by the general masses until Bansky made it cool a few years back. Gifs, as far as I'm concerned, are just another form of self-expression. Sometimes I can't quite put my feelings into words, and that's where gifs come in. Sometimes I just want to make somebody laugh. And sometimes I just want to see Joe Biden fondling a hot dog.

This doesn't have anything to do with After Effects or Greenscreens or Mike Levien's title sequence, but I'll be damned if it's not related to motion graphics and or animation. Maybe I'm just trying to justify my procrastination by calling gifs art, or maybe I genuinely think that they are. We may never know. Until then, here's what google tells me is the best gif ever. Enjoy.

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