Article Number: 9137
Soft Cover, German, Thread Stitching, 84 Pages, 2015
Carl Aigner

Eikon # 90

What You Show Is What You GIF

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As an internet user you’ve often seen it as a nervously blinking something that accompanies you through every virtual day: unasked, it moves on the edge of windows called up on your browser and its rapidly alternating images remind you to change your electricity provider, prevent hair loss or book your next summer holiday in Turkey.

More aggressive examples seem to jump in front of your cursor and advertise in staccato style the same trendy sneakers again and again (the ones you clicked on by accident when they suddenly turned up in the middle of your monitor); and sometimes they shout with a brightly colored signal: “Congratulations! You’re a winner!” While we associate the animated GIF these days mainly with pesky advertising inserts, we tend to forget that due to its low data rate it has been used as an elementary building block of the internet since it was first invented.

Now, after a history of almost thirty years, the Graphics Interchange Format is enjoying a kind of comeback, partly favored by Web 2.0 and its associated ability to share graphic contents quicker and with fewer complications. And so, now there are special online festivals and exhibition formats that are devoted to the presentation of GIF art. That’s why for the special focus of this edition, “What You Show Is What You GIF”, Susanne Schuda and Lina Launhardt have been tracing the return of the sometimes trashy 256-color loop. There are three articles: a history of the GIF is sketched, selected art works presented and the psychology of this unconventional format explored. In addition, together with documented illustrations, there are some links to websites, where the sequences can be called up. Language: English/German