Postmodern GIFs (A History)


This is amazing, it’s a brief history of the GIF. The GIF is a type of image, literally, image.gif or image.jpeg. We use JPEGs more for photos because GIFs get kinda blocky for still images, but they have one advantage. GIFs can move. You can animate GIFs across multiple frames. For years this was used for seizure-inducing bad, but now it is being used for ironic postmodern cheese and beautiful postmodern art.

Postmodern Cheese

If you remember the primeval Internet (or many Sri Lankan websites today) they’re full of flashing, moving, seizure-inducing images. Those are GIFs. For a surfeit of examples, check out the World’s Worst Website.

If you want to see animated GIFs in action, just check out the ads on the Daily Mirror, or any site really, with rotating imagery. That’ll either be GIF or Flash, both slightly atavistic technologies.

Postmodern Art

Like trucker hats and fixie bikes, however, hipsters have taken GIFs out of the realm of gauchery through irony into something resembling high art. Par example, check out the Jack Nicholson GIF above, from The Shining. It’s awesome.

Or check out this subtle animated image of a casual street scene. It’s class.

These are like little moving photographs, the motion curated with consciousness and care. These are called cinemagraphs. Check out some more. And more.

Anyways, it’s an interesting video, and an interesting art form. Both GIF and JPEG were random geeky encoding, uh, codes, not even intended for many of their current uses. Such is the ingenuity of people, and the wonderful evolution of tech

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3 Comments »

2012-03-14 17:15:21

That Jack Nicholson gif….is genius. Life is complete.

 
Hibuddy
 
Carasek
2012-03-15 13:18:09

Unbridled awesomeness. Thanks, Indi, for bringing a smile to my face!

 
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