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See the History and Future of the Gif in Six Minutes

When Motherboard chatted with .gif artists Jason Lazarus and Eric Fleischauer a few months ago, they were keeping every frame of their film twohundredfiftysixcolors under wraps, but now they’ve decided to give us an exclusive excerpt. Take a six-minute...
October 24, 2012, 10:33pm

A while back, our buddies at Motherboard interviewed Chicago artists Jason Lazarus and Eric Fleischauer about the feature-length gif film they were making. Gifs, in case this is the first web page you have ever visited in your life, are like looping silent movies that anyone can make. Internet-dwellers have been using gifs to make each other laugh and express themselves for years (there’s a Beyonce gif for every emotion that exists), and they are also useful when you want to show off some sports highlights, summarize presidential debates, or do fun stuff with fashion photography. Granted, most of the time gifs are the web equivalent of America’s Funniest Home Videos—fun to watch but really, really dumb—but some people, like Jason and Eric, are trying to push the form into more interesting, artistic directions. Their film, twohundredfiftysixcolors, “traces the arc of increased complexity and pointed use of the animated gif,” and their tumblr demonstrates that complexity and use. When Motherboard chatted with them they were keeping every frame of their film under wraps, but now they’ve decided to give us an exclusive excerpt that serves as an introduction to their film. They’re calling in it twohundredfiftysixcolors: Preface, and you can watch it below:


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This excerpt is being released in conjunction with Moving the Still, the first-ever large-scale gif exhibition that’s being put on by Tumblr and online art market Paddle8. There’s an open call for submissions, and the stuff being submitted (some of which can be see here) ranges from the surreal to the funny to the stupid—in other words, they’re gifs. The selection committee includes Michael Stipe, Ryan Trecartin, and the Rodarte Sisters, and the gifs they select will be included in an installation in Miami in December during Art Basel Miami Beach. If that doesn’t lend some credibility to the world of gifs, well, maybe this will change your mind: